Romanian Wine: Alira 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

So what new wine wave is going to hit North America? Could it be wines from Romania? Why not. Romanians have been making wines far longer than Canada although its dreary Communist years certainly did not help their wine industry. But with the execution of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 it was good-bye communism and perhaps the beginning of a new era for Romanian wine production.

The tradition may be there but what about quality? That is a hard question to answer as we have so little of it visiting our shelves in Canada so how can one make any broad statements about Romanian wine? Neither have I been on a wine media trip to Romania where one would have an opportunity to taste many wines and get to know Romanian cuisine and what wine matches with what food. I was in Romania for a couple of months in 1972 but only had a glass or two of white wine. Romanian beer at the time was absolutely the worst beer I have ever had.

One Romanian red just limped into the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Can you get a decent Cabernet Sauvignon these days for $16.95?  Can the Romanians pull it off with a 2016 Alira Cabernet Sauvignon?

On the nose redolent with blueberry and blueberry pie a characteristic of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. There is also cassis, blackberry and violets. Plush and lush on the palate with low tannic impact. Loads of blueberry and some sweet red cherry with a little hit of white pepper and hazelnut wafer cookies.

A well-made wine with nothing out of balance.

Is it going to knock your socks off? I do not think so but it is highly drinkable at a very attractive price. I would say it is comparable to a well-made California Cabernet Sauvignon in the $25 range.

For food matches seared tuna steak or a lamb stew (tocana de miel).

Drink by the end of 2023.

Matured in French oak for 12 months.

(Alira Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Winero Crama, Bucharest, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 18460, 14.5%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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