Thursday, February 28, 2013

a delight from Romania

Top: 2009 Cotnari Fetească Albă | DOCC Cotnari | Romania
Bottom: 2010 Cotnari Vin Alb Dulce Tãmâioasã Româneascã | DOCC Cotnari | Romania

My back hurts from the gym. Overdoing it a bit, and just generally some wear and tear. I love winter, and am actually enjoying this latest bit of snowy weather we've been getting here in Toronto, but I do miss being able to go for a run outside. No, not committed enough to get a set of winter running gear. Those headbands look fucking ridiculous.

A lot of these Eastern European countries have a rich history of viticulture and winemaking, but like with many other industries, the Soviets came with their socialist sledgehammers and destroyed it all. It's coming back though - Hungary is a good example of this resurgence. But not everyone can boast of a Tokay. Sometimes these fringe wines can bring a lot of pleasure, in that you know nothing about them, and therefore harbour no unfair preconceptions against them. And Cotnari has always given me a lot of pleasure.

Cotnari is a village in the Moldova region, located north-west of Iaşi and south of Hârlău. This larger commune (also called Cotnari) is made up of eleven villages: Bahluiu, Cârjoaia, Cireșeni, Cotnari, Făgăt, Hodora, Horodiștea, Iosupeni, Lupăria, Valea Racului, and Zbereni. This is an old wine region - take a look here. The Greeks were the first to bring wine to Romania, with the area eventually becoming quite well known for its sweet wines. A lot of European vinifera vines were planted, but the most widely grown grapes are still indigenous varietals, such as the two here.

Both wines are produced by the largest winery in the country, which also owns the most vineyard land. Lovely, fresh, interesting wines that are well balanced in sweetness and acidity. Reminiscent of a lighter style of muscat, with the lychee and tropical fruit. The Fetească Albă even showing some mineral elements. But the (lack of) pedigree shows. There's a sort of dilution on the palate, a flimsiness that makes the wine pleasant to drink, but little more. And there's nothing wrong with just being pleasant.


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