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0f all the countries of Eastern Europe, it is Bulgaria that has made the greatest impact on the wine drinkers of the West. Since the mid-1970s ripe, well-made Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon has been a regular feature of many a table in Britain, Scandinavia and Germany, a rival to the minor clarets; but since the end of Communism in Bulgaria it has no longer been enough to think of the wine generically, as simple Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon. The picture has become more diverse, with more wineries, more grapes and more varied styles of wine appearing on export markets; and the white wines, traditionally less exciting and less well-made than the reds, are improving rapidly.

Bulgaria, situated between the Black Sea in the east and the republics of the former Yugoslavia in the west, is in the part of the world that might have been intended by Nature for winegrowing. It has a broadly continental climate of hot summers and cold winters, with the temperature ranging from 40C (104F) to -25C (-13F). The Black Sea tempers these extremes in the east of the country, but the west is more firmly continental.

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