It should also be mentioned that the vine on the Romanian territory has grape varieties of local origin which have not been brought into the area from other countries. By natural selection, out of wild forest vine, local varieties of productive vine were obtained. It is difficult to say how many though, because some of the varieties disappeared over time. Nevertheless, we have been and still are enriching the World Heritage vine and wine.
The practical experience of generations led to specific varieties of vine for each Romanian vineyard. Their fame grew over the centuries, due to both the quality of the grapes, as well as the excellency of the wine, being known and appreciated in many European Courts over time.
The different geographical regions of Romania are home to many vineyards. The most important would be:
- Moldova, the region with the richest production of wine: Colinele Tutovei, Cotnari, Cotesti, Dealul Bujorului, Husi, Iasi, Nicoresti, Odobesti, Panciu, Zeletin
- Dobrogea region: Istria-Babadag, Murfatlar, Ostrov, Sarica-Niculitel
- Crisana & Maramures regions: Diosig, Minis, Silvaniei, Valea lui Mihai
- Muntenia region: Dealul Mare, Dealurile Buzaului, Stefanesti
- Oltenia region: Calafat, Dragasani, Podgoria Dacilor, Podgoria Severinului, Dabuleni, Vanjul Mare
- Transilvania region: Aiud, Sebes-Apold, Tarnave
Cotnari is a Moldavian vineyard, situated NW from Iasi and attested in the 15th century. Archaeologists found in this area wine cups dating from the Geto-Dacian era and from Middle Ages, proving the continuity of vine culture in the area. Even Peter the Great, the tzar of Russia, the Polish king Jan Sobieski and other historical figures appreciated the wines made here.
The main varieties of wine produced at Cotnari are: Feteasca Alba - white wine, either semi-dry or semi-sweet, fine delicate taste, smooth, corpulent and round; Tamaioasa Romaneasca - white wine, smooth, full sweet taste reminding of ripe grapes; Francusa - white wine, pale yellow to green-yellow in colour, dry, fresh fruity taste sustained by its acidity, taste of ripe grape, well balanced. Grasa de Cotnari - white wine, golden in colour, usually sweet, high in sugar content, to be served at 10-12°C. They come exclusively from local varieties of grapes, harvested late, after September 15, also containing minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B2, PP.
Cotnari exports wines in many countries in the European Union, but also in the United States, Japan, the Russian Federation, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Baltic states.
More on http://www.cotnari.ro
Recommendations: Cotnari 1984 Grasa de Cotnari, Cotnari 2003 Grasa de Cotnari
Situated in the district of Vrancea in the Southern Moldova, Panciu is one of the largest and oldest vineyards in Romania, with over 10,000 hectars of vine. The grapes and wines produced here are high quality red (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Babeasca Neagra) and white sorts (like Sauvignon, Riesling, Feteasca Regala).
The most important wines made by Panciu are: Muscat Ottonel, considered "the genius of white wines", white-yellowish, noble and full of personality, with a lemon flower scent, to be served with appetisers at 9-11°C;
Tamaioasa Romaneasca, straw-coloured with golden reflexes, with a balanced taste and a perfume that intensifies with age.
Panciu also makes classic, delicate, well balanced sparkling wines, both red and white, produced by the famous 'Champenoise' method.
More on http://www.vinuridepanciu.ro
Recommendations: Sampania Panciu, Proles Pontica 1998 Feteasca Regala
One of the biggest wine producers in Romania is Vincon Vrancea, including vineyards from Cotesti, Odobesti, Panciu, Husi or Pietroasa regions. The largest professional wine cellar in Romania is Beciul Domnesc, founded during the reign of Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) and which is now protected by UNESCO. It holds over 100,000 bottles of fine, noble wine.
Some of the most recognized wines are made of both local varieties of grapes, such as the sweet Busuioaca de Bohotin, Grasa, Tamaioasa Romaneasca (from Pietroasa region, smooth, balanced, great personality wines with flowery or fruity flavour), Galbena de Odobesti, Muscat Ottonel, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Sarba, as well as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or the Beciul Domnesc red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Feteasca Neagra, vigorous or delicate wines, with flavours reminding of berries or spices, full and rich taste).
Details about each wine on http://www.vinconromania.ro
Recommendations: Vita Romaneasca 2002 Tamaioasa Romaneasca, Beciul Domnesc 1995 Merlot (Cotesti), Beciul Domnesc 1996 Pinot Noir (Cotesti), Vinoteca 1967 Riesling (Cotesti), Vinoteca 1976 Pinot Gris (Popesti), Oenoteca 1994 Pinot Noir (Odobesti)
Murfatlar vineyard is located in the South-East of Romania, between the Danube and the Black Sea. It is renowned in Romania for its sweet wines and abroad for its dry wines and it has one of the largest wine cellars in the country, the oldest wines being the 1959 sweet Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
The wines produced here are of both local and prestigious international varieties of grapes, white: Muscat Ottonel, Tamaioasa Romaneasca, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Riesling, Traminer, and red: Feteasca Neagra, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir.
Murfatlar is also well known for its special fortified wine 'Lacrima lui Ovidiu' and for its rather new brand of dry wines 'Sec de Murfatlar'.
Their website is http://www.murfatlar.com
Recommendations: Taina Murfatlar 1982 Pinot Gris and same year Chardonnay, Sec de Murfatlar 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
Tarnave vineyards have Jidvei as the most important and modern wine producer in Transilvania. Being a region situated at a higher altitude than other vineyards in the country, the best wines made here are dry, but there are also a few great semi-sweet wines and the classic sparkling wine known as 'Sampania de Jidvei'. The white varieties cultivated here are Feteasca Regala, Feteasca Alba, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris.
The wine producer's website is http://www.jidvei.ro
Recommendations: Jidvei Tezaur 2009 Muscat Ottonel (dry), Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Jidvei Tarnave Castle 2009 Riesling
Wines from other vineyards have also been awarded gold medals at different national or international competitions, so if you get your hands on any of them, be sure to try them:
Vinia 1964 Grasa de Cotnari
Vinia 2001 Tamaioasa Romaneasca
Domeniile Viticole Husi 2008 Feteasca Romaneasca
Varful cu Dor 2008 Feteasca Alba (Oenoterra)
Vinia 2008 Busuioaca de Bohotin,
but these are just very few of them... Anyone who appreciates a good wine will fall in love with what Romania has to offer.
Many wine producers in Romania have started to organize vineyards tours, with Romanian wine and traditional food tasting, all in natural, breath taking settings, experiences are bound to delight tourist's eyes and palate.
This article was written for Paul's Place by: Me