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Austria & Eastern Europe - Wine Map of Romania

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
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Picking grapes near Murfatlar, Dobrogea

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Pinot Noir grapes

Photo: Picking grapes near Murfatlar, Dobrogea © Provided by DKBooks Picking grapes near Murfatlar, Dobrogea

Photo: Harvest time in Oltenia-Muntenia © Provided by DKBooks Harvest time in Oltenia-Muntenia

Photo: Prahova Valley wines © Provided by DKBooks Prahova Valley wines

Harvest time in Oltenia-Muntenia

Photo: Pinot Noir grapes © Provided by DKBooks Pinot Noir grapes

Prahova Valley wines

Wine Map of Romania

Romania is dominated by the Carpathian Mountains, which sweep across the country from the Ukrainian border toward Serbia, enclosing the Transylvanian Plateau in the center of the range. The country has seven main wine regions: the northeastern province of Moldova includes the famous region of Cotnari, whose sweet wines once rivaled Hungary’s Tokaji in reputation, while in the southeast, the district of Murfatlar in Dobrogea, on the Black Sea coastal plain, is best known for white wines. On the south-facing slopes of the Carpathians, Oltenia-Muntenia includes Dealul Mare—Romania’s most famous red-wine-producing district.


Romania: Areas & top producers

Banat & Transylvania

Recaş Winery


Oltenia-Muntenia

Carl Reh Winery

Prahova Valley

The Carpathian Winery

Vinarte

Vinterra International SA


Perfect case: Romania

Terroir at a glance

Latitude:

44–48°N.


Altitude:

0–600 m.


Topography:

Dominated by the Carpathian Mountains, which curve across the country.


Soil:

Alluvial, sandy, some chalk in the southeast; outcrops of terra rossa in the southwest; volcanic, stony shale in the centre.


Climate:

Continental, except by the Black Sea, where it is maritime. Climate is moderated by sea breezes on the coastal plain near the Black Sea, and by the Danube in the far south and southwest.


Temperature:

July average is 74°F (23.5°C).


Rainfall:

Annual average is 540 mm.


Viticultural hazards:

Severe winter cold; spring frosts; summer drought; September rain.


Romania’s sweet heart

Produced for 500 years, the once-famous Cotnari wine may be made from any of the four white grape varieties grown in the region, or produced as a blend. Grasă gives body and sweetness with notes of honey and raisin; Tămaioasă Românescă (frankincense grape) gives perfume and spice; Fetească Alba gives fresh floral notes; and Frăncusă has crisp appley acidity. Grasă can ripen to incredible levels of sweetness, and every three to four years botrytis develops, making the intensely sweet Cotnari. In other years, late-harvest, sweet wines (also called Cotnari) are still made. Both styles are aged in barrel for one year and, unlike the more traditional styles of Tokaji, are protected from oxygen and retain a greenish tinge.


Pinot Noir: The great red hope

Romania has a good reputation for great-value Pinot Noir, though some believe that not all of the 1,750 ha under vine are planted with the genuine article. During the communist era, the emphasis was on mass production, and there was little quality control: today, most producers still buy grapes from growers though their pedigree is not always known, and unfortunately, it is difficult to prove scientifically what variety any grape is. The future for Pinot Noir in Romania is in planting new vineyards with decent French red wine clones, which a number of leading producers are doing. Both Carl Reh and Steve Donnelly at the Carpathian Winery estimate that 90 percent of their Pinot Noir is genuine. As the Romanian government still subsidizes home grown vines (the old clones), importing new clones means a big bill. However, where this is happening, early results from the (still baby) vines look very exciting.

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