While wine has been produced in Romania since 5700 B.C. it wasn’t until after the fall of communism in 1989 that privatization of the nationalized wine industry began attracting Italian, German, British, French and Austrian foreign investment. Under communist rule making quality wine and innovating was not in the mind of the state apparatus.
Today Romania ranks as the 6th largest EU producer of wine but exports only a fraction of its production with UK supermarkets taking some 30% of exports while Canada a mere 2%. Many producers are small and don’t have the volume to export large amounts of wine and although land is cheap wine production costs are high. And as far as I know while Romania is part of the EU I haven’t heard of the EU coughing up vast sums of money for media tours for Romania. Rather like Canada not coughing up cash to get the ear of wine writers and bloggers. I recall on my first media trip to Portugal in 2013 I wrote an article on all of the 14 wineries we visited plus restaurant and hotel reviews. That’s a lot of publicity for a minimal price.
It must be exciting times in Romania watching a newly revitalized industry trying to compete domestically and internationally. I have not been invited to Romania like I have been by Italy and Portugal using EU money for media trips. So it is an unfortunate case of no hear….no drink. What gems we might be missing are cause for a wine writer’s grief.
There is Feteasca Neagara somewhat like a Zinfandel which we get 4-5 times a year in Ontario. There is also Feteasca Regala which is the most widely planted white grape in Romania and we are trying here. Jidevi is the largest winery in Transylvania and was established in 1949. It has the largest white wine vine cultivated surface in Transylvania.
The wine is a 50% blend of Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Feteasca Regala and won a gold medal at Concours Mondial du Sauvignon 2020.It has a pale-yellow colour almost platinum. As for aromas you’ll get a laser beam of apricot and peach greeting your nose with yellow plum, honey, Orri tangerine, melon and toasted almonds. Very alluring! On the palate a light blanketing of soft acidity but far from zippy. The richness and diversity of the nose is toned down and you’ll pick up lighter notes of melon, pineapple, guava and some tart green apple. The wine is dry but not unpleasantly bone dry.
The finish is short. The wine is suited to both simply prepared lake and ocean white fleshed fish. Drink now.
( Jidevi, Alba County, Romania, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 617340, 750 mL, 12%, A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).