Evenimente‎ > ‎

Second edition of the Romanian Sparkling Competition - by Iulia Scavo

postat 6 dec. 2019, 02:12 de Tiberiu ONUȚU   [ actualizat la 6 dec. 2019, 03:31 ]

November 18, 2019 – Second edition of the Romanian Sparkling Competition took place, in Bucharest, at the famous GastroLab restaurant and winebar... this gave me the idea of writing some lines about bubbles. Bubbles fascinate us all as they send us to our very beginning, to our human condition,  born from a bubble, living like a bubble, ascending throughout our existence up to the very last moment of our ephemeral living when we become souvenir just like bubbles burst and release the memory of a flavour, a feeling, a moment. 

 

Romania’s bubbly tradition is supposed to date back to 1892, when Wilhem Rhein first produced the “Rhein Extra” by traditional method. Grapes originated apparently from Bucov, Chiorteni and Valea Calugareasca in the Dealu Mare area and the wine was made in Azuga, in the same cellar where Rhein sparklings are still produced nowadays under the authority of “The Iconic Estate” (ex- Halewood). Rhein&Cie became official purveyor of the Romanian Royal House in 1920 and the famous Rhein Extra Brut Imperial was served at the royal wedding of King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria, October 15, 1922 in Alba Iulia. A place filled with symbols and full of memories for me, as I used to work there a good decade ago. 

At that time Romania was not on many wine maps, not to mention that sparkling production was such a confidential element even on the local market. Bubbles were associated with special events in life only, with a certain standard of living or with… sabrage! Do not ask me how many bottles of Rhein I had sabered during my year of work- experience for Halewood! Each group coming to visit Rhein used to have a sabrage demonstration and even people coming to eat at the cellar’s “table d’hotes” used to ask for this show.

One day I received the visit of a couple of gentlemen who seemed quite “connoisseur”. At the end of the visit, sabering and meal, one of them went to the car and brought a bottle of sparkling from Jidvei, the famous “Romantine” sparkling Extra Brut and offered it to me. I was my second experience ever with Romanian sparkling! I then learnt that those gentlemen were part of the team from Jidvei and that they appreciated my professionalism with bubblings… 

During my 10 years exile in France that followed, I got even closer to Romanian sparklings. Many visits and tastings of Prince Stirbey led me to many occasions of tasting their sparklings, than the new Jidvei range that appeared here and there in some of my conferences, and again Halwood’s Rhein whenever I took a trip to the mountains in the Prahova area. Other surprises came next with Balla Geza’s “Clarus” featuring the native Mustoasa de Maderat, Carastelec focused on top traditional method sparklings and even more recently – Villa Vinea, Livia Gîrboiu and of course one of the newest born –Oliver Bauer’s  J.O.H.A.N.N.A – a royal grape, Feteasca regala for a “grande dame”, his grandmother. 

Who would have believed that Romania develops such a potential for bubbles? However, that is not surprising anymore. 

Despite the fact that Rhein&Cie is considered the most famous bubbling success story known in Romania and maybe somehow abroad, other stories exist! By 1820, jewish communities seem to have established such a tradition in Simleul Silvaniei, in the Zalau Valley (“Valley of the vines” from old Dacian), carving 3,5 km of galleries at more than 60 m deep underneath the rock. This tradition then entered Communist possession and the famous Silvania Sparkling became an export star at that moment with sales of about 4 million bottles by 1974… Nowadays “Silvania” is a good independent brand that we had the pleasure to taste during the competition:

Silvania Premium 80% Feteasca regala + 20% Feteasca alba Extra Brut 12%

Bright and clear, lemon green colour, with clean nose, intense, fruit- oriented, with peach, apple, mirabelle plums, all ripe and giving a sweet impression. Few autolysis felt, with biscuit tones and moderate oxidative profile getting some cooked apple and quince notes. Medium complex. Dry, with mellow, creamy texture, medium plus acidity, medium phenolics maybe coming from the yeasts (or from the Feteasca Regala?), moderate alcohol and body. Fine and dynamic bubbles boost the orchard fruits’ flavours on the palate, yeastiness and oxidative hints come along, getting some apple compote and almonds on the medium plus finish, that also feels a bit firm with slightly bitter phenolics and salivation feeling. Good to very good.

In 1841 Ion Ionescu de la Brad also produced traditional method sparklings for the souverain Mihail Sturdza. What would become later Romania (as the united country was just a dream by that time) was one of the first places in the world to ever produce sparklings together with France, Germany, Russia and Great Britain if we consider Christopher Merret as the very first father of traditional method sparkles.  

 

Another key area for sparklings is Panciu, with Domeniile Panciu nowadays reviving the tradition dating back to 1969, when Dr. Ion Pusca recommended to Veritas Panciu - à now extincted producer- the use of the Traditional Method.

The fact that we seem to have some tradition with bubbles intrigued me and I started searching a bit deeper.  Out of our 33 DOCs, 10 can produce sparkling wines under denomination, 6 of which can also elaborate “pétillant” and among them, 4 have the right for Asti method using aromatic varieties. 

Here are the 10 DOC producing sparklings:

Moldova: DOC Cotnari, DOC Iasi, DOC Cotesti, DOC Odobesti, DOC Panciu with DOC Cotnari, DOC Iasi and DOC Panciu also producing aromatic Asti method sparklings and DOC Cotnari, DOC Iasi, DOC Odobesti and DOC Cotesi go for “pétillant” too;

Muntenia : DOC Dealu Mare for the 3 categories

Transylvania : DOC Tarnave only for traditional method sparklings

Crisana et Maramures : DOC Crisana, DOC Minis, the latter also producing « pétillant »

Banat : DOC Recas only for Traditional method and Charmat 

This might tell a lot or very few. 

First of all, as a native Romanian I have a big advantage, which is that I read my mother tong, otherwise I couldn’t have given you that information. All the decrees on the ONVPV website are only in Romanian and even so, some texts are so complex as for others, they just give a mare idea about the products. Some give you precise information about the pH, total acidity in H2SO4 on the must, minimum and maximum gluco-acidic index of the juice plus the acidity in tartaric on the base wine and its minimum and maximum alcohol, not to mention all the parameters since the beginning of the second fermentation on… Some just write a generic paragraph such as: “Winemaking for Sparkling, pétillants, pearlings etc…” (TEHNOLOGIA DE VINIFICAŢIE PENTRU VINURI SPUMANTE, PETIANTE, PERLANTE, ETC.)

Some decided to separate the decree for spraklings, aromatic sparklings and “pétillants” from the generic text (such as DOC Dealu Mare, DOC Panciu and DOC Tanave which are also among the oldest and most traditional to produce bubbles), some include it. In some cases it is talked about “quality sparkling” in others about “sparkling”… In my opinion, what would be interesting, is that all the above named DOCs make a separate decree and make it clear for all the categories either quality sparkling, “pétillant” or aromatic varieties’ quality sparkling. Moreover, since they are made on a specific area and from specific grapes respecting cultural, production and commercial rules, they all should be quality wines produced on the denomination area. Introducing a ”Crémant” legislation could also be interesting, as most use the traditional  method under DOC already stipulating manual harvest, press ratio restrictions and a minimum of 9 months on the lies, 3,5 atm. of pressure as well as limitations in terms of sulfites. It would be more a matter of selecting the most typical varieties of the DOC for a Crémant expression and keeping the wine for a minimum of 12 months all in all at the estate. 

After harmonizing the legislation and still adapting it to each DOC and specific area, the idea of a board for all Sparklings plus assimilated comes next. This board should be translated into the main current languages and beside law texts it should include photos, lists of producers, news and testimonies with a bunch of tasting notes coming from the most influential people in the business. In few words, something to make it attractive! I do not know many people from the business wanting to buy French wine go on the INAO website and read the “cahiers de charges” of the AOPs… 

Another idea would be to harmonize the ONVPV laws with the customs, so that when these sparklings get to the export they do not enter the same category with generic bubblings made with exogenous CO2. 

Among the major strengths of Romanian sparklings I would mention the use of indigenous grapes such as Crâmposie selectionata, Mustoasa de Maderat, Feteasca regala, Feteasca alba, Frâncusa, Novac as well as aromatic garpes such as the local Muscat varieties: Tamaioasa romaneasca and Busuioaca de Bohotin, to quote a small bunch of them. Some become real unique selling proposition. There is also a large variety of styles, including of course classic whites and rosés but also reds, aromatic and semi-aromatic styles, of all sweetness levels, which tend to disappear abroad. The price is very competitive as compared to quality sparklings abroad, among the most expensive one can find wines around 30€, even for the most iconic! It is a pity that Iordana is now almost extincted and as far as I know nobody uses it anymore for bubbles. I still remember Halewood’s Rhein Extra Brut Imperial made from this grape a good decade ago…things changed in 2009 when Rhein Extra became a Chardonnay and the Iordana was up-rooted from the old plot in Sebes Apold. The plot was then sold by 2014... History. 

One of the weak points of Romanian sparklings is that as the DOCs are very permissive the variety of styles can lead to accidents. Searching for innovation with grapes that are not suited for sparklings or techniques that are not adapted to the grapes, one can find very poor exemples. Although technique is not really an issue any more and quality can be reached everywhere, errors can occur. Some examples: the use of aromatic and semi-aromatic grapes for traditional method, the use of oak on a base wine that would not tolerate it, too much diacetyl coming either from fermentation or from the MLF as considered to be a sign of opulent, buttery wines, use of varietals despite a poor gluco-acidic index – for instance Viognier can be used for sparklings in Dealu Mare! 

I was also very surprised to find out some grapes that enter the Sparkling DOC decrees and seem very curious for such a production: Pink Traminer allowed into traditional methods in Dealu Mare and Recas, Sauvignon blanc for Traditional methods in many areas and Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that even if used abroad too, are mostly focused on specific area such as Australian Shiraz or Crémant de Bordeaux for instant. Here they enter a lot of DOCs for rosé, mainly bringing herbal if not herbaceous notes, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon. 

There is more to be done in terms of packaging too. Too many bottles emphasis on original packaging forgetting about the essence inside, others are too kitschy and old –fashioned and some are unable to penetrate the export market because the brand is too local. This is also an issue for still wines, but producers should really consider that when it comes to the bubbles, as it is such a confidential product that worth become more notorious. 

Although vinification and the quality that results is not supposed to be a concern anymore, there are still to many mistakes affecting the aromas characteristics. First off all, neutral grapes should be preferred for traditional method sparklings, meaning the classical Chardonnay or Pinot noir, as well as the indigenous Mustoasa de Maderat, Cramposia selectionata or Francusa and even others to be discovered ( Zghihara for instance). Other grapes such as Feteasca Regala and Feteasca alba should be harvested before getting into a terpenic phase and so should Chardonnay, so that one can preserve the crystal clear character and purity. Harvesting certains grapes within the thiols window can be interesting for Chardonnay, but not suitable for the semi-aromatic, thiolic Sauvignon Blanc. Terpenic Rhine Riesling should go more to Charmat sparklings, as well as the Italico, even though it gets 40 times less monoterpenes. This weakness can also come from a fashion effect that pushes some producers to create sparklings from trendy grapes to put them on the label, although knowing they won’t get the good harvest window in their region. Anyway more care should be taken about that no matter which cause, and performant analysis with gas chromatographs can help a lot nowadays to determine the best aroma precursors. 

Some traditional methods stay too few on lees and have almost no autolytic character. It happened to taste some very poor versions that lacked any form of influence from the lees maturing. This becomes a weakness because at the same price or lower one can buy a Charmat without autolysis either (which is normal) but with fresher aromas and a more dynamic quality of the palate structure. This diminishes the credibility of the Traditional Method and creates confusion among consumers. 

At the other end of the spectrum, some try to push the lees maturing to a limit whatever the base wine is and the result leads to oxidation. There is still more to learn about mastering the oxygen with sparklings, and I do not know Romanian producers that do the “tirage” under cork and the jetting technique is not of common use either. These two techniques combined with mastering oxygen at all the stages can lead to a maximum potential for aging on lees and getting a balanced red-ox potential. However one should not push reduction to climax and so obtaining sparklings with loads of mercaptans. 

All these are technical weaknesses that I could notice when tasting the sparklings during the competition. Another issue is the use of white or green glass that are dangerous in terms of light strike risk, especially for the white transparent one. Some of the sparklings in competition had this problem which I confirmed when learning the results. This becomes a real weakness knowing that the Romanian consumer supplies him/herself mostly from retail (42,67% of preferences in 2019 according to Crame Romania) and that sparklings still represent a tiny segment (2,21% in 2019 according to Crame Romania). So sparklings risk to stay longer on the shelves and a brown bottle can be an advantage.

The lack of education about sparklings generates a weakness for the category, especially that labelling is not very legible for bubbles generally speaking. The use of the DOC is not very common, the triage or disgorgement date often appear without anY explanation, so people might think it is a limit date for consumption… and many more such as dosage, official terms of Brut, Extra dry and so on. Not to mention the use of Frizzante instead of “Petiant” – official term for “pétillant”, confusions of “spumant” and “spumos” (indigenous CO2 Vs exogenous CO2) or terms such as Premium, Premium Lux and Reserve some appearing in the DOC decree without any explanation! 

So generally speaking there is still a lack of expertise at all levels that generates a good deal of weaknesses. 

Moreover, 2019 was historically black as affected by hail, especially in Dealu Mare. Early ripening varieties that were more advanced in June suffered mainly with loses up to 70% and more and we all know that early harvesting grapes mainly go for sparklings. 

In terms of opportunities, one should consider that there is an international trend for sparklings nowadays. Consumers seriously seek after good value for money and price/ quality/ pleasure ratio with bubbles as Champagne and other prestigious sparklings become victim of their own success (higher prices, lower quantities due to weather conditions these last vintages, climate changings, limited quantities depending of limited denomination areas, some vintages are long to get into the market as they spend more and more time on lees etc…).  The Nordic area is a real opportunity for export as Scandinavian public is already very mature. Germany has always been a good client for Romanian wines, and the opportunity can come by thinking that Germans are bubble lovers – 420 millions of bottles among 2 billions drunk in the world are uncorked in Germany. China is not a big fan of sparkles which do not offer the good colour traditionally as reds do. Romania produces some red sparklings that can easily penetrate the Chinese market. One should also consider Chinese start thinking that despite the colour, bubblings are a symbol of success! 

The existence of the Romanian Sparkling competition, now at its second edition already, the participation to other sparkling competitions such as « Effervescents du monde » and more, are many opportunities to make people talk about Romanian bubbles. Especially that the Romanian consumer becomes more educated. 

There is a new category – unfiltered sparklings and other kind of Pet’Nat that starts appearing in Romania too. We had 4 of them in competition with very successful scores:

103 MT Avincis Cramposie selectionata 70% + PN 30% Extra Brut 12% -winner of the category

Lightly hazy, of a lemon-green colour. The nose is clean, intense, with apple and citrus aromas, followed by a slightly smoky, toasty character reminding toasted almonds as well as some yeasty notes coming along. Slightly reductive, of a medium complexity level. Palate is dry, with off-dry feeling, due to the medium, supple acidity and has medium alcohol. The texture is creamy, with fine, tiny bubbles. The autolytic character is more pronounced on the palate with biscuit and bread completing the other flavours from the nose, such as fresh apple and citrus. This brings supplementary layers of complexity, of a medium plus level, the wine is intense and has an elevated length. A good to very good wine. 

104 Charmat Rasova Craft Rosé Pinot Noir 100% Brut Natur 2018 12,5% - best unfiltered rosé

Pale pink, slightly hazy. Nose is clean, intense, even pronounced due to the floral character expressing rose, peony, complimented by red fruit –strawberry, raspberry, cherry, without autolysis. One can also feel some pungent, herbal glints, as the wine breathes. Simple to medium complex, but pleasant. Palate is dry/ off-dry, with medium, supple acidity, small and tonic bubbles, medium alcohol and large mouthfeel. The flavours are intense, reminding the nose, without autolysis and showing some pear drops and confectioned fruit. There is somehow a slightly off-dry perception persisting due to the diminished acidity, phenolics are light, the herbal notes bring some light bitterness to the finish, which is medium. Enjoyable, good.

This new category is an opportunity to attract Millennials that are used with unfiltered beer or cider and also look for more natural, low-intervention products. Craft packaging is an advantage and sometimes having a crown cap instead of a cork, which can happen with this category, is also a good plus for youngsters. These products look more accessible for people in terms of image, however more sophisticated than unfiltered beer, as wine is considered a noble beverage. 

The trend is also for lighter wines. Sparklings are mainly medium to light bodied. Not to mention the aromatic styles made by Asti method and assimilated that title between 6 and 10% abv. People take care for personal and health reasons more and more but also, in countries that tolerate it, they can drink a glass  or two (meaning “units”) of a lighter wine and drive. 

Romanians travel more and more abroad, so they come into contact with famous sparklings from producing countries. When they come back they want either something new or something as an alternative that can still remind them what they drank abroad. Romania has the chance of producing both unique selling propositions as mentioned above and sparklings made with international grapes they can meet abroad. In both cases this is an opportunity to touch either the public that travels a lot or the diaspora that is more and more important ( about 4 million Romanians) and why not foreigners that in the same way look either for new  original things or for alternatives to famous and fashionable products they use to know. Especially if they can find those cheaper! 

The local currency is losing points in favour of the Euro, due to political contexts. This kind of situation might help increasing exports, also focusing on categories that are less known, such as the sparklings. 

One month ago I went to Moldova and we all know they also have a tradition for bubbles which nowadays represent 14% of their production. With Romania passing on top of their exports by value, this could be a threat. They are so much competitive on the sparkling market than we are, especially as they have big production units for this type of product, able to get a certain consistency through time. This also allows to a have a very large range of prices to attack all the export markets including ours, and it is well knows that they are unbeatable on outer markets among eastern European countries. However they focus more on Champagne grapes as local, or better said, Romanian grapes still represent small plantings nowadays in Moldova. Even all in all, they do not have as much local/Romanian grapes as we have Feteasca regala plantings, not to mention the others! Russia also focuses on bubbles, but they are not enough present on the western European market, and even less in Romania. 

With loads of cheap Prosecco coming into the Romanian market, consumer is in big dilemma, either buy the name, whether of quality or not, or focus on something more exciting where he/she could definitely get good quality for money and enjoy something unique such as a local grape sparkling. This is also why many Charmat methods try to follow the trend and propose Prosecco-like styles. Whe has so many into the sparkling competition. Take best score for white tank fermented:

215 Charmat Gîrboiu Quartz Feteasca alba 2017 Brut 12% best Charmat white

Pale lemon-green colour, clear. Big and creamy bubbles. The nose is clean, medium intense, offering orchard fruit aromas such as pear, peach, reminding a Prosecco. Off-dry, with diminished acidity, medium alcohol, simple and fruity aromas, also showing slightly bitter zesty notes, although not phenolic. Good, like a Prosecco. 

Even the winner of the category, all coulours mixed remind aspects that consumers might search with Prosecco:

306 Charmat Recas Domeniile Recas Cadarca 90% CS 5% CF 5% Brut 11,5% -winner of the Charmat category

Pale pink, clear. The nose is clean and intense, showing strawberry, raspberry aromas, something slightly leesy too. Off-dry perception, silky, with supple acidity and light phenolics. The flavours remind all sorts and pear drops, confectioned raspberry and strawberry, a hint of lees character, slightly herbal/ herbaceous on the aftertaste as an impact of the maturity. Acceptable to good profile, slightly diminished by some pyrazine hues and globally, quite amylic. 

A major threat comes from the beer market, and we know Romanians are beer drinkers. With lots of craft, nun-pasteurized, unfiltered, confidential brends, flavoured and fruity radlers and so one, there is a risk that the Romanian consumer stick to his/her comfort zone and continue drinking more and more beer. The risk he/she takes is smaller when discovering such a product as prices are always lower even for small scale productions and especially the bottles are smaller, there is no risk of spoilage as for a 75 cl bubbling. Very few offer half-bottles of Sparkling in Romania (Carsassia from Carastelec, Bucium Iasi as far as I know), and this is also where Moldova becomes more and more diverse too with contents that vary on the whole scale almost.

The big winner of the edition also shows that more and more estates start producing sparklings. This was the big surprise with Budureasca from Dealu Mare winning this year the Traditional method section, and personally, it was the first time for me to taste it. Like many judges, I had never heard of it before. Things are moving on seriously on the bubbling segment in Romania. 

217 MT Budureasca Prima Stilla 2015 Brut 12,5% -winner of the Traditional method category

Of a clear lemon-yellow colour with fine bubbles and persistent foam. The nose has intense autolytic character of brad, brioche, and some pleasant buttery hints (diacetyl). Fruit comes along with apple and peach aromas, also combined with some dried herbal notes of straw. Dry with elevated to high acidity, dense mouthfeel, and phenolics coming from the autolysis. Creamy, complex, intense, the finish is medium plus to high, a very good wine. 

Less surprise in terms of Rosé, with Carassia winning the section:

311 MT Carastelec Carassia Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 12,5% - best Traditional Method Rosé

Medium pink colour, clear, the nose is clean, of medium plus intensity. The main character is red fruit combined with light autolysis. There is also some bready and buttery character. Dry, with an off-dry feeling, the acidity is medium, with moderate, pleasant phenolics. There is a very good varietal definition of Pinot Noir on the palate, mainly considering flowery notes, red fruit and something savoury and wild. Complex, long. Very good. 

Its better known sibling – the Blanc de Blancs is not very far and also gets a good score:

209 MT Carastelec Carassia Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay 100% 

Of a pale, glittering lemon yellow, starring some greenish hues, with fine bubbles, the nose is clean, fresh, of a medium intensity. Good reductive style, but without reduction. The fresh fruit reminds the green apple, the citrus, with light and fine autolysis, notes of fresh, bitter almond coming along. Dry, with high acidity, tiny phenolics from the lees remind again the almond. Medium intense, with some layers of complexity, but emphasis is on purity, on the crystal clear character. Medium plus to long finish, a very good wine on the whole. 

Some of my other top scoring wines are not surprises either – especially the guest candidates from Prince Stirbey. We all hope they will participate next year together with Oliver Bauer’s J.O.H.A.N.N.A, sparklings from Petro Vaselo or Domeniile Panciu! 

No surprise that Villa Vinea “Cuvée Célest” also got a good score, however difficult making sparklings with important Feteasca regala basis might be. This 2015 has a latent sense of poise that will reveal in a couple of months: 

 

216 MT Villa Vinea Cuvée Celest FR 40% + RR 40% PN 20% 2015 Brut 12,5%

 

Of a medium lemon yellow colour, with tiny pearling, the nose is clean, slightly reduced with some wild horsy hints and dried straw. As the wine breathes, it shows ripe orchard fruit such as peach, apple and pear. The autolysis is rich with fresh yeasty notes interlacing with toasted almonds. Dry, of a high acidity, medium alcohol, tonic bubbles, it also gets some firm phenolics, coming either from the lees or from the Feteasca regala or both. Of a moderate intensity on the palate, the wine is complex, with a multi-layered flavor profile. A bit tight, it gets some apple, citrus and almonds, however. The zesty aftertaste is long. A good wine. 

 

As the Romanian market gets more mature, the taste for sweet is little by little forgotten, but off-dry and medium dry character is more and more trendy. The consumer accepts dry still wine but the Extra Brut categories are not the Romanian’s favorites. Customers have a kind of Prosecco-shaped taste, as explained above and even Brut Traditional Methods try to stick to that, as seen during competition with the Colocviu range from Cotnari, the new style of Rhein Extra from the Iconic estate or the Jidvei range. Light autolytic profile or almost no autolysis obtained by a short maturing on lees combined with ripe almost tropical fruit and a kind of “off-dry-ish” character on the palate and supple acidity, creamy bubbles and easy going style. 

 

As I mentioned above we have many DOCs allowed to create aromatic quality sparklings using Asti method: DOC Cotnari (Tamaioasa romaneasca and Busuioaca de Bohotin), DOC Iasi (Pink Traminer, Muscat Ottonel and Busuioaca de Bohotin), DOC Dealu Mare (Muscat Ottonel, Moscato Bianco/Tamaioasa romaneasca and Busuioaca de Bohotin).  Few producers use this legal right and most of the existing versions are entry level wines that target a less mature consumer using this type of wines for special events only. There is also a threat from sweetened carbonated generic “spumos” made of aromatic varieties or blends that contain them and also a wide segment containing “Dry”, “Medium –Dry” and “Sweet” sparkles (so from 17 to 50 g/l and more that are actually edulcorated Charmat methods based on aromatic grapes in their blend). The DOC “medium-Dry” and “Sweet” Asti methods forbid any form of dosage. This creates confusion among consumers and even professionals as encounterd during our contest. So, finally only 2 sparkles where real aromatic quality sparklings made by Asti method:

 

406 Bucium Muscat Alb Dulce - 7,5% vol. - winner of the category

 

Of a pale silvery colour with greenish hues, crystal clear with medium pearling. The nose is pleasant and pronounced, aromatic and primary, Muscat-like with flowery notes of rose petal, fruity ripe apricot and tropical hints. Simple, juvenile and enjoyable. The palate is sweet, with creamy bubbles and low, supple acidity. Alcohol is low and that makes the wine light and digest. Flavours are intense and "gourmand", perfectly reflecting the olfactory panel. Balance is centered on the sweetness and mellow character. The finish is long and has floral glints. A good wine. 

 

410 Zarea Muscat Rosé dulce 8% - best rosé in the category

 

Pale pink with silvery hues, clear. The olfactory panel is clean and aromatic, like a Moscato d’Asti. Peach, tropical fruit such as lychee, rose petal interlace on the nose. The palate is sweet, with supple acidity, light alcohol, tiny bubbles and creamy texture. Intense and flavoursome, the palate is coherent with the nose. Of a medium aftertaste, a good wine.

 

The Competition’s tasting finished with these two wines. This brings me to the end of my story being sure that it will continue thanks to producers, professionals, consumers and last but not least with The Romanian Sparklings Competition that will reach 3rd edition next year.

 

To sum up, this 2nd Romanian Sparkling Competition was a real success thanks to the organizer Tiberiu Onutu, the prestigious jury: Dana Pop, Iulia Scavo, Olimpia Pleșa-Brandhuber, Irina Mărășoiu, Ruxandra Păduraru, Horia Hasnaș, Valentin Ceafalău, Zoltan Szabo, Cătălin Păduraru și Cezar Ioan, sponsors:  www.doctoruldeutilaje.ro (Euro Zone Com SRL) și GastroLab – Wine & Food Experience Piața Victoriei și www.florideosebite.ro a top venue that offered us perfect condition to assess the wines. Not to mention that we had the chance to get serious media such as Andreea Stroe from “Agricool”, Carol Pop from “Piața” magazine, Mihaela Prevenda from “Revista Fermierului” ans Cristian Hostiuc from “Ziarul financiar”, in order to spread the good news.  This successful event also offered me the opportunity to better understand the portrait of the Romanian Sparkling reality and market that I hope to have spotted here as well as I could. 

 

Iulia Scavo DipWSET, 3rd Best Sommelier of Europe ASI 2013& 2017, Best Sommelier of Romania 2018