Successes of Romanian wines at the Winelovers Wine Awards

Címkék: romanian wines
The 2023 Winelovers Wine Awards ended with excellent results for Romanian wines: Romanian producers were awarded nine gold medals, 27 silver and seven bronze medals, as well as three "Best of" awards.




Here we go behind the scenes of Romania's success at the awards as well as give an insight into Romania's wine history, grape varieties and wine regions.
 
Wine production in what is now Romania dates back to antiquity, with the Greeks bringing grapes to the area via the Black Sea between 600 and 500 BC. During the Middle Ages, monasteries played a major role in the development of vine and wine culture, especially in the Valea Călugărească and Drăgăşani regions as well as in Transylvania. As in much of Europe, the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century wiped out most vineyards here too. Replanting was carried out with French assistance, and the first appellations of origin were established in the early twentieth century through viticultural regulations. During the communist period 1944-1989, the acreage of many indigenous varieties dwindled, with preference being given to higher-yielding varieties. After the regime change, foreign investment and EU funds started to restore the country’s winemaking heritage.
 
The map was created by Iulian Bârbuceanu,
author of the Atlas of Romanian Wines
 
Romania is currently ranked fifth in Europe and tenth in the world in terms of total hectares under vine. However, only a small proportion of wine is exported – around 5-6%. The largest production in the country comes from a few wineries, such as the Recaş Winery.
 
Grape varieties in Romania
Romania’s grape varieties include both international and indigenous varieties. The most popular international white varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, while for the black varieties, it’s Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon produce the most prominent premium wines. Most winegrowers cultivate either only international varieties or hybrids of international and local varieties.
 
The most prominent indigenous varieties are Fetească Alba, Fetească Regală, Tămȃioasă Romȃnească, Fetească Neagră and Băbească Neagră. Romania has yet to find its flagship variety, but some wineries believe there is a lot of potential in indigenous varieties. Both Fetească Regală (the country’s most widely planted variety) and Fetească Neagră stand a good chance of competing for this title.
 
Fetească Neagră is the oldest indigenous grape variety in Romania. It can withstand both cold and drought. It is late ripening and thick skinned, with a strong pigment. It produces full-bodied wines with medium tannins. The distinctive Fetească Neagră wine is known for its deep ruby red colour, its characteristic blackberry flavour and its black cherry, plum and chocolate aromas. Cellared appropriately, it will age well. It is a versatile grape, which can be produced in dry, sweet and semi-dry versions.
 
Romanian wines at the Winelovers Wine Awards
 
Cramele Recaș, SERVE Ceptura Winery, Bogdan Estate and Via Viticola Winery entered the most wines in the 2023 Winelovers Wine Awards, so we will present their winning wines. The four wineries are a good demonstration of the diversity of Romanian wineries: Recaș is a really large winery with a huge export market, SERVE is the result of a collaboration between a French nobleman and a Romanian winemaker since the nineties, Bogdan produces his wines following biodynamic principles, while Via Viticola represents an exclusive line both in its wines and its presentation, with a special focus on the Aligoté variety.
 
Cramele Recaș Winery was awarded for their Cabernet Sauvignon, but also for an indigenous variety, while one of their wines also won the Best of Romania award.
 
Cramele Recaș La Stejari Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – 93 points, Gold, Best of Romania
Cramele Recaș Selene Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – 91 points, Gold
Cramele Recaș Sole Sauvignon Blanc 2022 – 91 points, Gold, Best of Sauvignon Blanc
Cramele Recaș Selene Fetească Neagră 2021 – 90 points, Gold
 
Narcis Georgiu at Cramele Recaș says of its success at the awards:  “We won a lot of medals, but we are especially proud of the La Stejari Cabernet 2018 – Gold medal and Best of Romania." “Wineries in this part of Europe are quite new – even though our countries have been making "wines for thousands of years. To show what we have got, we have to participate in competitions to measure our wines’ quality  in comparison with other wines."
 
Cramele Recaș Winery
 
Located about 40 kilometres from Timișoara, the Cramele Recaș Winery is one of the most technologically advanced wineries in Europe, with nearly 1,200 hectares of vines in the Banat wine region. Its wines have won awards at the world’s most prestigious wine competitions. It exports more than half of Romania’s bottled wines to 26 countries. Its vineyards boast many different microclimates, which are excellent for both local and international varieties.
 
Via Viticola achieved success with its international varieties, with its Chardonnay winning a gold medal and the Aligoté a silver.
 
Via Viticola Sarica Niculitel Caii de la Letea Princeps Reserva Chardonnay 2020 – 90 pont, Gold
Via Viticola Caii de la Letea Princeps Rezerva Aligote 2021 – 88 pont, Silver
 
The Via Viticola Winery is located in the oldest vineyard area in the Dobrogea wine region, near the hills of Saricia and Niculițel. The winery has preserved traditional winemaking methods (such as grape selection), while its winemakers are also masters of new winemaking techniques. One of the winery’s emblematic varieties is Aligoté, Burgundy’s second white variety after Chardonnay.
 
SERVE also won four silver medals.
 
SERVE Ceptura NASUL MAESTRULUI 2021 – 88 pont, Silver
SERVE Ceptura NASUL CAVALERULUI 2018 – 87 pont, Silver
SERVE Ceptura SECRETUL SPRITULUI DE VARA 2022 – 87 pont, Silver
SERVE Ceptura SECRETUL SPRITULUI DE IARNA 2020 – 87 pont, Silver
 
SERVE is a family winery with 30 years of tradition and was the first privately owned winery after 1989. Its founder, Count Guy de Poix, came to Romania in the early 1990s and fell in love with Fetească Neagră, so much so that he set himself the goal of studying this indigenous variety and showing the world its best side. His partner in this was Romanian winemaker Aurel Rotarescu, with whom he worked to revive the variety. In 2014, three years after Guy’s death, it was a great achievement that their Cuvée Guy de Poix became the first wine made from an authentic Romanian variety to be rated with over 90 points by Robert Parker.
 
Mihaela Tyrel de Poix, owner-manager, SERVE Winery (photo: SERVE)
 
Mihaela Tyrel de Poix at SERVE says of the awards: “It is serious competition that allows us to get our wines in the glass is a win for us. We trust the wines we make and getting them out there in the world is part of our mission to promote Romanian wines in the region and get them the recognition they deserve."
 
The Bogdan Estate was awarded silver medals for its red and rosé wines produced according to biodynamic principles: 
 
 
The Bogdan Estate was established in 2011, when their first vines were planted in the Dobrogea wine region. The entire area is cultivated according to the principles of holistic biodynamic viticulture and has been certified since 2016, making it the first biodynamic producer in Romania. Its philosophy is based on respect for all forms of life, which is expressed towards nature, the Earth, plants, animals, people and therefore also towards its consumers. They believe that to produce truly high-quality grapes, the rhythms of nature must be fully respected, which is how terroir is best expressed in wine.
 
I believe that the terroir should be expressed in the wine: the sun, the wind, the rain, the land, the people, the history and the culture of a people. This is how Primordial Fetească Neagră was born. This bottle contains a fascinating world, with thousands of years of tradition, from the famous Dobrogea region,” says winemaker Philippe Cambie.
 
Best of Romanian wines at the Winelovers Wine Awards
 
Dr. Caroline Gilby Master of Wine at the Winelovers Wine Awards 2023
 
Best of Romania
Cramele Recaș La Stejari Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
 
Best of Sauvignon Blanc
Cramele Recaș Sole Sauvignon Blanc 2022
 
Best of Indigenous Black Grape Variety
Crama De Matei Patima după Matei Fetească Neagră 2020
 
 
The map was created by Iulian Bârbuceanu, author of the Atlas of Romanian Wines
 

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