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Exquisite Romanian wines in the Rapunzel Vinothek


A visit to winemakers in the Moldavia region in Northeastern Romania

Sigrid Barry in the vineyards of Lucian and Elena Neascu
Sigrid Barry in the vineyards of Lucian and Elena Neascu
Sigrid Barry in the vineyards of Lucian and Elena Neascu
[by Sigrid Barry, director product management]

When people discuss about renowed wine countries, Romania is hardly mentioned. That's a pity because Romania is a great place for winemaking and has a long, more than 2,000 years old wine tradition. Wine trade has always been important in Romania, especially at the Black Sea coast.  

Since the fall 2017, Rapunzel presents three wines from the Moldavia region in the Northeast of Romania: Cuvée Romania is an aromatic, fruity red wine with hints of cherry and plum. Babeasca Neagra rosé convinces with its temperament and an elegant floral note. The Riesling has a dry, mineral and slightly fruity note reminiscent of peach and almond. 

vita de vie* 


*Romanian for grapevine

Among wine connaisseurs, Romanian wine is no longer an insider's tip, but highly esteemed. Romania has perfect conditions for winegrowing. The continental climate with warm summers, long, dry autumn months and a well-balanced precipitation is ideal for the cultivationn of exquisite, full-bodied wines.     

We inspected very thoroughly from where the wines for the Rapunzel Vinothek come from. Join us for a short journey through the wonderful wine growing regions of Romania.
Mr. Lucian Neascu started to import wines in 1990 after the Ceaușescu regime had been toppled. When he had earned enough money, he bought his first own vineyard. The recultivation of the vineyard required a lot of development work. In 2010, the vineyard was certified as organic vineyard. One can actually sense the excitement and passion that Lucian has for his work when he tells us his story:  
Lucian shows Dagmar a several hundred years old grapevine that still bears good grapes.
Lucian shows Dagmar a several hundred years old grapevine that still bears good grapes.
Lucian shows Dagmar a several hundred years old grapevine that still bears good grapes.
Green manure fertilizes the soil and enhances biodiversity
Green manure fertilizes the soil and enhances biodiversity
Green manure fertilizes the soil and enhances biodiversity
Lucian is doing everything himself: the recultivation of the vineyards, the manual grape harvest, the pressing, the wine refinement, the ageing of the red wines in old oak barrels as well as the bottling of the wines. 

The wines that Mr. Lucian Neascu and his wife Elena are producing will surprise and excite you with their full-bodied aroma and their authenticity. 

My colleague, Mrs. Dagmar Koch, who is responsible for wine purchasing at Rapunzel and I went to Romania in order to inform ourselves about the vineyards and the wineries. 
We are arriving in Romania in the city of Sibiu. By car we head East towards the Moldavia region. During the trip, we enjoy the beautiful Romanian landscape: we pass sprawling fields with grazing sheep, blooming canola fields, apple plantations, dense beech and oak forests. And in the background we can see the snow-capped peaks of the Carpathian Mountains.    

On our way we pass through numerous small villages with characteristic colorful houses; we meet horse carriages that transport hay and wood - and we feel hurled back into a long distant time. 
The Transylvanian Mountains thrill us with sunlit high plateaus, alpine mountain ranges, wild, steep rocks with deep and rugged gorges, roaring waterfalls, romantic, impassable valleys, remote castles and hidden villages. The Walachia and Moldavia regions in Northeastern Romania with their centuries-old viticulture tradition fascinate us with their mostly untouched, Mediterranean landscapes. Here, more than 100,000 hectares of vineyards can be found. 

We visit the „Senator Wines“ vineyard where large amounts of excellent wines are stored. We can taste different varieties directly from the tank - a very special experience. Afterwards we tour the filling plant and the wine cellar where the red wines are ageing in huge oak barrels. 
In the afternoon, we continue to the town of Husi. Lucian's vineyard is located in this remote area. His grapes are grown on a 77 hectare area. Next to Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and other common varieties we can also find traditional Romanian varieties here, such as Feteasca Neagra, Babeasca Neagra and Zghihara. An agricultural engineer proudly shows us every detail. Only green manure is used in the vineyards: different local grasses and herbs are worked into the soil. If necessary, the farmers prepare special concoctions with nettles, Artemisia or chilli that are used for pest management. The limestone soil is very fertile and ideal for the vines.  

During our return into the Allgäu region, we have numerous impressive pictures in our heads: infinite expanses, wonderful landscapes, warm-hearted people, so much hospitality and for you, the Rapunzel customers - three very special, select wines. 
Red wine is aged for one year in oak barrels
Red wine is aged for one year in oak barrels
Red wine is aged for one year in oak barrels
In the vineyard we could convince ourselves of the high winepressing know-how
In the vineyard we could convince ourselves of the high winepressing know-how
In the vineyard we could convince ourselves of the high winepressing know-how

vita de vie - white, rosé and red


Riesling
Riesling
Riesling, white

Grape variety: Riesling Italian

Taste: dry, mineral, slightly fruity, reminiscent of peach with a delicate almond hint, full-bodied and slight acidity 

Color: clear, yellowish with subtle green reflexes

Bouquet: mild aromatic with floral hints

Drinking temperature: 8–10 °C

Recommendation: with chicken, fish, Mediterranean vegetables, antipasti and cheese 
Babeasca Neagra rosé
Babeasca Neagra rosé
Babeasca Neagra, rose

Grape variety: Babeasca Neagra

Taste: dry, fruity, reminiscent of grapefruit and red currant, complex, with a lot of temperament

Color: bright rosé

Bouquet: elegantly floral

Drinking temperature: 12 °C

Recommendation: with fish, cheese, fruit
Cuvée Romania Cabernet Sauvignon & Babeasca Neagra
Cuvée Romania Cabernet Sauvignon & Babeasca Neagra
Cuvee Romania, red

Grape variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Babeasca Neagra

Taste: dry, full-bodied, berry fruit with a spicy note, paired with velvety tannins

Color: intense red

Bouquet: spicy fruity, reminiscent of cherries and plums

Drinking temperature: 14-16 °C

Recommendation: with meat, antipasti and cheese

Ageing: 1 year in oak barrel

Romanian wines


Viticulture in Romania

Romania has perfect conditions for winegrowing. The continental climate with warm summers, long, dry autumn months and well-balanced precipitation is ideal for exquisite, full-bodied wines. 

Important grape vaieties

All Romanian wine-growing regions together amount to an area of nearly 250,000 hectares. White grape varieties are grown on three quarters of this area.

Today, the most diverse grape varieties are grown in Romania: next to international varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot and Shiraz, there are about 60 indigenous grape varieties that are very popular among local winemakers. 

Especially traditional Romanian grape varieties such as Babeasca Neagra or Zghihara convince with a strong and full aroma.
Climate and soil

Generally speaking, Romania is located in the moderate climate zone on the same latitude as France. Due to some geographical pecularities, however, the climate varies in different parts of the country. The Carpathian Mountains form a meteorological divide. 

In the region west of the Carpathian Mountains, the climate is influenced by the sea while the climate East of the mountains is a continental climate. South of the Carpathian Mountains, in the Walachy and Moldavia regions, the conditions ressemble the Mediterranean climate. 

The different soil types where grapes are grown in Romania differ widely from each other. Sandy mud is often found near river banks. Deep brown and black soils as well as loess soils dominate the valleys. Hilly landscapes are mainly characterized by limestone soils. 

Basic wine knowledge


Storage

Wine should be kept in a cool (up to approx. 18°C) place. You should avoid larger temperature fluctuations. Next to the ambient temperature the humidity of the air also play an important role. The humidity should be relatively high so that the cork stays elastic and seals the bottle for a long time (this does naturally not apply to bottlles with screw caps).    

The best drinking temperature

Every wine has a temperature that brings out its character in the most harmonious way. The warmer the temperature of the wine, the better you will taste its volatile aromatic substances. At lower temperatures, one can taste the contained acids better. White wines unfold their flavor best when they are cooled between 8 and 14°C. Red wines are best served at a temperature between 14 - 18°C when you can taste their aromas the best. Higher temperature reduce the wine tannins. 
 
Light white wines and sparkling wines: 8 – 10°C
Full-flavored, strong white wines: 11 – 13°C
Light, young red wines: 14 – 15°C
Strong, young redwines: 16 – 17°C
Aged red wines: 18 – 19°C

Decanting wines

Decanting fulfills two purposes: pouring the wine into a decanter separates the wine from tartrate and sediments. Secondly, a decanted wine can breathe better. Through the contact with oxygen the wine aroma improves and especially young wines develop a better flavor. 

Serving wine

A wine bottle is always opened directly at the table. A small first zip is poured into a glass in order to examine the wine and to see if the wine has "corked". Only after it was pre-tasted, the wine is served to the guests. 

The following general rule applies to serving wine: only fill one third of the wine glass. Large wine glasses that are used to serve heavy red wines, are filled only one quarter so that the wine can unfold its bouquet. 
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