W hether you travel in Romania along the coast of the Black Sea or in the Dobrogea Plateau near the Danube Delta region or in the Province of Moldova or along valley slopes of the scenic Carpathian Mountains or in Transylvania Province or in Wallachia or in nearly any agricultural area throughout Romania, you’re in wine country. Romania is one of the world’s top-ranking producers of numerous delicious wines,some of which never leave its borders. Archeological evidence of country-wide wine production in Romania’s grape-friendly soil and climate dates back to theclassical Greek and Roman eras of settlement inRomania. Today, on a list of the world’s „Top 12 Wine Producers”, in which France ranks number one and Italy is listed as number two, Romania ranks tenth (10th) among the world’s top wine producers by volume. (Attribution: U.S. News & World Report, May 20, 2002, page 30, citing source: Wine Institute based on data from Office Internationale de la Vigneet du Vin.)
Romania ‘s climate and soil are hospitable to the production of many different types of wines, from dry, sparkling whites to rich, aromatic, purplish reds.
Popular domestic grape varieties used for wine production include Francusa, Feteasca Alba, Tamaioasa, Feteasca Neagra, Babeasca.
Francusa – A very versatile soft, dry wine, crisp and lively, with just the slightest touch of sweetness. Feteasca Alba – Semi-dry white wine, well balanced, with a distinct aroma reminiscient of the first flowering of the vineyard.
Tamaioasa Romaneasca – A naturally sweet or semi-sweet white wine with subtle honey and basil aromas, an exquisite amber color and a persistent rich taste. Its sweet taste may also suggest a blend of rose petals and wild berries. Grasa de Cotnari – A naturally sweet white wine with a delicate fragrance and a smooth interplay of fruitiness and acidity.
Galbena de Odobesti – A light white wine with a delicate bouquet that preserves the fragrance of the mellow grape. Feteasca Neagra – Semi-sweet, medium bodied, light red wine, with original aromas.
Babeasca Neagra – Traditional full bodied red wine with a delicate bouquet and a slight taste of clove.
Cadarca – this red, native variety , displaying a ruby-red color with a stinging taste of fresh clove, was the wine of the imperial court of Vienna during the reign of Emperor Franz Josef, in the 18th century.
Romania also produces its share of worldwide vintages, including Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Muscat Ottonel.
For the traveler interested in adding viniculture to his or her cultural itinerary, a trip to Romania offers many opportunities to visit wine-producing regions and to discover and sample the many different wines of Romania, from little known local and regional wines to Romania’s great wine labels, such as Murfatlar, Cotnari, Jidvei, Dealu Mare and Odobesti.
Located in the Tarnava valley ( Transylvania ), is known for its superb dry white wines. Wine tasting is offered at the 16th century Bethlen Castle in Cetatea de Balt?, located between Tarnaveni and Blaj.
More information: www.jidvei.ro Segarcea – Crown’s Estate (Royal Domain)
Located 150 miles southwest of Bucharest, Segarcea winery is known for its quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Feteasca Alba and Italian Riesling. The Crown’s Estate may be the only wineyard in the world which produces the „Tamaioasa Roz” (Pink Tamaioasa) – a fine rosé wine with a delicate aroma of candied peels of orange and grapefruit. Other domestic grape varieties grown at Segarcea vinayards include: Novac, Negru de Dragasani, Feteasca Neagra, Tamaioasa Alba Romaneasca, Feteasca Alba, Cramposie. More information: www.domeniulcoroanei.com
Murfatlar, one of the most famous Romanian vineyards, is located just miles west from the Black Sea coast. Over 300 days of sunshine, along with cool breezes from the sea, make this area ideal for the production of sweet dessert wines, such as late harvest Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Muscat Ottonel. Soft, rich red wines are also produced here – Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir being the most popular.
More information: www.murfatlar.com/site/eng/index.html
Cotnari Vineyard is world famous for the delicious sweet white wines made of grapes rich in sugar and harvested in late autumn following the first frost, such as Grasa de Cotnari, a noble aromatic wine with a nutlike savor.
The quality of these wines relies on a combination of rich soil, the late harvest and the presence of a special mold (Botritis cinerea). The vineyards have a long history, spanning over seven centuries, dating from the time of Stephan the Great (1457 – 1504).
The winery’s most popular wines include Francusa (dry), Feteasca Alba (semi-sweet) – highly appreciated for preserving the flavor and freshness of the grape; and the sweet, golden Grasa de Cotnari, a noble aromatic wine with a nutlike savor and Tamaioasa.
More information: www.cotnari.ro
Odobesti is one of largest and oldest vineyards in Romania. Its most famous product is Galbena de Odobesti, a light white wine with a delicate bouquet that preserves the fragrance of the mellow grape. The wide variety of wines produced by the Odobesti includes five traditional sorts of Romanian wine, namely: Galbena de Odobesti, Plavaie, Feteasca Alba and Feteasca Regala (white wines) and Babeasca Neagra (red wine).
The Minis Maderat Vineyard
Stretching on the hills of western Romania (Crisana), between Lipova and Pancota, produces the red, native variety Cadarca, displaying a ruby-red color with a stinging taste of fresh clove. During the reign of Emperor Franz Josef, in the 18th century, Cadarca served as the wine of the imperial court of Vienna. In 1862, at a wine contest in London, Rosu de Minis (Red Minis) was awarded the first prize. Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Cadarcaare produced employing classical winemaking technologies, while the white wines like Italian Riesling, Traminer, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, are obtained by using cooling zymurgy, resulting in fruity white wines of great finesse.
More information: www.wineprincess.ro
Nearby Timisoara lies the vineyard of Recas, with a history dating back to the 15th century. Some of the award-winning wines produced here include Italian Riesling, Feteasca Regala, Muscat Ottonel/Feteasca Regala, Sauvignon Blanc (white wines); Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir/Merlot (red wines).
More information: www.recaswine.ro