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Tastevin – Ghidul Vinurilor Romanesti, editia VI-ea, capitolul 6 “Evaluarea Nationala de Feteasca neagra” by Iulia Scavo DipWSET

By 23 iunie 2020decembrie 13th, 2022No Comments

M-am intalnit cu TASTEVIN  anul acesta, inainte de pandemia COVID-19. Am aflat atunci cu placere de aceasta  initiativa de informare si de educare a consumatorului de vin, sustinuta de: Florin Chitu – Specialist, OLD TEAM DISTRIBUTION, unul din cei mai mari distribuitori si importatori de vinuri din Romania, ARGR ZEXE – Asociatia pentru Restaurarea Gastronomiei Romanesti, organizatie non-profit al carei presedinte executiv este domnul Alexandru Consulea, proprietarul restaurantelor ZEXE, iar presedinte onorific, domnul Andrei Plesu, si agentia de publicitate VIOLET.

TASTEVIN a devenit de-a lungul celor 6 editii, o referinta  a industriei de vinuri din Romania. « Nu este un concurs de calitate, nici de frumusete, ci locul unde vinurile premium din Romania sunt testate, notate si inregistrate. Noi nu credem ca exista vinuri bune si vinuri mai putin bune, credem ca fiecare vin este expresia muncii si imaginatiei celor care il fac si il prezinta pietei» ne spune Florin Chitu.

TASTEVIN doreste sa ofere publicului si specialistilor din Romania si din afara ei o oglinda a evolutiei vinurilor romanesti in fiecare an.

Incepand cu luna februarie 2020 se desfășoară cele 12 sesiuni de evaluare din cadrul ediției a 6-a TASTEVIN – Ghidul Vinurilor Romanesti. Fiecare seara dedicata evaluarii soiului sau asamblajului respecti va avea din acest an un Maestru de ceremonie (MC). El este invitatul special al serii si cel care va conduce degustarea din seara respectiva, cel care va trebui sa povesteasca invitatilor despre soiul/ soiurile respectiv/ e, sa prezinte fisa de evaluare TASTEVIN si sa le ofere juratilor tot sprijinul pentru o cat mai buna desfasurare.

In ziua de 17 februarie, anul de gratie 2020, am fost mandatata cu o misiune nu tocmai usoara : sarcina de Maestru de ceremonii in cadrul Evaluarii nationale Tastevin – Feteasca neagra. Sub ochii domnisoarei Pogany, aleasa ca simbol al acestei seri, 49 de vinuri reprezentand soiul, distribuite in 4 cateogrii distincte: Entry Level < 29 RON, Middle Level 30 RON- 49 RON, HighLevel 50 RON – 89 RON, High end > 90 RON.

Preambulul serii a fost povestea Feteștii negre pe care o gasiti in articol complet. Apoi s-a scris istoria. Aici puteți vedea fotografiile de la eveniment.

Entry Level

Wines were loyal to the price and category, without having a totally consistent range. One can remark that most of them are either off-dry to medium-dry or have an off-dry perception due to a hint of residual sugar, while still dry, cumulated with rich alcohol level. In my opinion, the Romanian consumer awaits for this character in this price/quality zone.

One would have expected some punchier, fresher wines too, which was not the case. Even Northernmost terroirs couldn’t provide that, either. I would be very favorable to a new vision of Feteasca negara, at least on the entry level range: a more digest, leaner, fresher, crunchy and punchy style. It could easily become a response to one of the benchmark of this category which in my opinion is the Beaujolais.

Our eastern neighbours, the Republic of Moldova, perfectly understood that with the Rara Neagra, aka or national Babeasca neagra. Such difficult grapes to tame, which is both the case of the Feteasca neagra and the Babeasca neagra are worth experimenting with when it comes to cooler regions and easier-going styles. I am saying that, because, both are very difficult to grow and very capricious during vinification. Difficult to grow in terms of a rapid sugar accumulation that could pre-date the pheological maturity and a considerable loose of freshness with pH getting up despite a good measurable acidity. When it comes to Feteasca neagra, it is especially a matter of ripeness of the seeds that comes much later than the sugar accumulation pushing most of the national Feteasca neagra to the 14-14,5% abv. and more.

I would really be curious to see new experiments, if the grape and the law allow it, with semi-carbonic maceration and/ or shorter macerations, the whole cumulated, with a different approach of the harvesting window, when the vintage and climate permits that.

On this segment, it is also more likely to find non-100% Feteasca neagra, Merlot sometimes being a traditional partner for the legal 15% reminding. What if this blending partner was a fresher, lively variety? Which one? It is up to the law to decide according to each area and the stylistic it would have. I would really be interested in a more mouth-watering style of easy Feteasca complimented by a second element, which is not yet found… Or is it?

I would also advise to stop trying to use oak and oak alternatives on this segment. There is, in my opinion no point in putting an entry level wine in a barrel for 4-6 months, as the period is too short to take the best out of that. It only suck the oakiness and sweetness of the wood, without positive  micro-oxygenation and the result is a bland and fluffy wine superposing its own off-dry character and sweetish alcohol to the sweetness of the oak, while getting a harsh influence of the woody tannins and generic aromas. In some cases, the price effort makes it so that some use older contents which can lead to a lack of hygiene, frequently noticed. Oak alternatives are even more aggressive in terms of the oaky impact on such fragile structures. So, stay true to the positioning of these wines, which are meant to be simple, easy-going and enjoyable!

F1 CRAMELE RECAS        CASTEL HUNIADE            BANAT 2018      13%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium ruby, clean, medium plus intensity, primary notes of cherry, herbal tones. Dry, with almost off-dry profile, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, with warming feeling,  medium plus flavours of cherry, sour cherry, herbal character, medium bodied, medium plus finish with aromatic herbs and species.

F2. CRAMA OPRISOR     CALOIAN             OLTENIA              2018      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec 

Medium purple, nose is clean, medium, showing black cherries, blackberries, liquorice; dry, mellow, of a medium acidity, alcohol is elevated and integrated, moderate to low wrapped tannins, cocoa-like grained, finish is medium and juicy with lots of fruit.

F3: DOMENIILE SAMBURESTI                    MUNTENIA        2018      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium purple, nose is clean, of a moderate intensity, with some volatile acidity plus maybe exogenous oak tones, black currant, resin, it is dry with medium to plus acidity, tannins are medium plus, perhaps coming from the supposed oak, spices, enhanced by the rich alcohol content, medium finish.

F4. VIILE METAMORFOSIS                          MUNTENIA        2018      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium to almost deep ruby, purple hints. Nose is of medium plus intensity, with herbal, spicy, concentrated black fruit, the wine is dry, medium plus acidity, medium plus tannins, and alcohol is elevated. Potential presence of oak chips? With impact both on the flavours and the structure, spicy finish that is medium plus for this full wine.

F5.          CRAMELE RECAS              REGNO BANAT 2018      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium ruby, with intense nose of cherry, sweet fruit, spices, the wine id dry/ with off-dry feeling due to ripe attack and moderate, quite supple acidity, medium tannins wrapped by the rich, generous feel of the high alcohol, flavours show plums, juicy, sweet and mellow fruit, finish is medium and spicy.

F6:  CRAMA CEPTURA   CERVUS MAGNUS MONTE         MUNTENIA        2018      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA  rosu sec

Deep ruby, nose is clean and intense with cherry, plums, Morello cherry, herbal, maybe some oak tones. Dry, medium to medium plus acidity, alcohol is elevated but integrated, tannins are polished and spicy, the flavor profile brings intense cherry, liquorice, plums to the medium finish.

F7. DOMENIUL BOGDAN           ORGANIC            DOBROGEA        ?             ?             FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

The wine is restrained with some reduction, the fruit then shows some cherry, plums. Dry, medium acidity, tannins are medium, however a bit dry, alcohol feels medium plus. A simple, pleasant wine.

F8 CASA COTNARI        DOMENII            MOLDOVA         2017      13%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium ruby, nose is clean, with some oaky tones, lots of cherry aromas. Dry, with elevated acidity, tannins are medium plus, oak tannins superposing, it has spicy, generous finish coming with the alcohol, juicy fruit, especially cherry coming on its medium aftertaste.

F9 CRAMA GIRBOIU    LIVIA     MOLDOVA         2016      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep ruby, purple, herbal, almost herbaceous, cherry, sour cherry, under ripe, fresh like a cool climate Cabernet Franc both on the nose and on the palate.

F10 – BUDUREASCA       CLASIC  MUNTENIA        2018      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu demisec

Medium clean nose with smoky character covering the fruit that shows cherry, sour cherry, with off-dry feeling,  medium plus acidity, alcohol is medium and tannins supple, the wine has some cocoa, chocolate notes on the finish.

F11. THE ICONIC ESTATE              FLOARE DE LUNA            MUNTENIA        2017      13,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu demisec

Meaty, with notes of plums, red plums, desiccated cranberries. Medium dry, medium acidity, high alcohol and moderate tannins, wild and fruity, medium finish.

Medium level

I was literally incapacitated by this flight. This was supposed to be the textbook Feteasca neagra realm, where everybody should have understood its varietal profile. Not to mention that on a middle range, there is an expectance for a certain degree of quality. This was the level addressed to the majority of consumers, the broader, the one supposed to be the most consistent. Even the export market is more susceptible to strike on this segment. What happened?

Deceiving is the word.

There are two axis to consider. Either the wines were up-graded from the entry-level and sold under a middle-level brand, or producers tried to make a more ambitious cuvee on unadapted raw material.

I would have expected pristine black fruit, and concentrated plums or even prunes, with tones of varietal spices such as liquorice and aromatic herbs with balsamic character. Whether oaked, the key word would have been moderation, sense of poise. Cocoa and sweet spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, tonka fava, are enough to compliment the varietal profile.  On the palate Feteasca neagra has a ripe attack, certainly. However if on the entry level, a hint of residual sugar is acceptable, this should be forgotten of this segment, to get more purity of the expression and search for balance. This is also a segment supposed to be pushed on many export markets, residual sugar is not the cup of tea of all foreign consumer. Acidities are of a medium/plus to elevated level and the tannins are rather on the moderate side. It is still time to consider these wines not only in terms of total acidity but also taking into account the pH feeling that gives us freshness, salivating character. There is the art of the winemaker, which should start even from this middle range. Alcohol is indeed high in most of the cases, but should not be warming and thermic as it enhances the spicy character too much. I do not expect over- textured wines especially obtained with overwhelming oak. I want the black fruit to explode on the palate in perfect harmony with the juicy mouthfeel and let all the varietal spices express themselves down to a long finish. Few of these were present in this quite long series tasted in two flights.

I personally dream of an average Feteasca neagra that has lots of personality and I know it is possible.

F1 DOMENIILE VINARTE               PRINCE MIRCEA               MUNTENIA        ?             ?             FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple. Oak tones covering plums, Morello Cherry, over oaked with vanilla. Dry, ripe, acidity is medium, alcohol is high and tannins are elevated, superposed with tannins from the oak, velvety texture, rich, pulpy, with tones of oak, vanilla, spices. Medium plus finish.

F2 LILIAC                             TRANSILVANIA 2018      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Light ruby, showing a low intensity, discreet nose. Few aromas range from strawberry to raspberry. The wine is dry, with medium minus acidity, medium minus tannins, short, fruity and light by its structure, however with generous alcohol.

F3 DOMENIILE AVERESTI             NATIVUS             MOLDOVA         2018      14,4%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep ruby, nose shows cherry, strawberry, and allsorts, complimented by herbal tones. The palate feels off-dry, with moderate acidity, alcohol is medium, so are the tannins, alcohol is integrated.  Fruit is sweet and almost amylic, finish is rather short.

F4 CORCOVA                     OLTENIA              2017      13,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple, nose shows cooked fruit, such as plums, prune, Morello cherry. Dry, with ripe attack, pulpy, lush with velvety touch, acidity is smooth of a medium minus level, tannins are medium plus, alcohol is elevated, the wine is full with slightly bitter, moderate finish.

F5 DOMENIILE URLATI  SAAC     MUNTENIA        2017      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium ruby, nose shows fine red fruit such as cherry, sour cherry. Lacks some maturity. Herbal. Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, rich alcohol refreshed by the herbal, although quite diminished finish.

F6 DOMENIILE SAHATENI            ARTISAN             MUNTENIA        2017      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Ruby coloured, the nose shows resin, cherry, herbaceous notes. Dry, but ripe attack to almost off-dry feel, medium acidity, alcohol is medium plus, tannins are medium, relatively short finish.

F7 CRAMA OPRISOR      LA CETATE          OLTENIA              2017      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Nose is clean, showing violets, faded roses, cherry, red and blackcurrants. Dry, medium plus acidity, peppery, alcohol is elevated but digest wrapping elevated tannins, with fine grain.  A hint of spices, long, with cherry, liquorice finish.

F8 VIAVITICOLA SARICA NICULITEL       CAII DE LA LETEA EDITIE LIMITATA          DOBROGEA        2017      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA              rosu sec

Reduced, some horse stable and meaty flavours, plus strawberry, vegetables, off-dry, acidity is medium, alcohol medium plus and tannins are medium plus with coarse grain, and herbaceous feeling.

F9 DOMENIILE PANCIU             PODGORIE DOMNEASCA            MOLDOVA         ?             ?             FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple, nose is clean, reminding a Syrah, with notes of olive, leather, liquorice. Dry, with medium acidity, medium supple tannins, silky, spicy, with liquorice and chocolate finish.

F10 CRAMA GIRBOIU    BACANTA           MOLDOVA         2016      15%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple, nose is clean, combining red and black fruit. Dry, ripe, with silky texture, juicy, acidity is medium, tannins of a medium plus level while alcohol is high.

F11 BUDUREASCA           PREMIUM          MUNTENIA        2016      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium purple. Nose is clean, with moderate intensity, some meaty, savoury notes show it needs to breathe, then come resin, liquorice, opening on cherry, Morello cherry. Dry, medium plus acidity, alcohol is elevated and digest, tannins medium plus, tighten by some oak tannins, juicy, cherry- driven, with liquorice finish.

F12 ALIRA                           DOBROGEA        2016      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium purple. Nose is clean, with oaky feeling of vanilla, cream, spices, liquorice intermingling with cherry jam. Dry, ripe, acidity is medium, alcohol is high, generous, enhancing the spicy character, tannins are elevated. The spicy, slightly oaky finish is relatively long.

F13 SERVE           TERRA ROMANA             MUNTENIA        2016      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium garnet, nose is clean, savoury, oak is integrated, aromas range from cherry, wild cherry to fine herbal scents complimented by spices. Dry, medium plus acidity, with salivating character, tannins are elevated, with both oaky and spicy grain, alcohol is integrated despite an elevated level, finish is medium plus.

F14 CRAMA GIRBOIU    TECTONIC           MOLDOVA         2015      15%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple, nose is clean, medium plus intensity but concentrated with lots of dark fruit, cherry, Morello cherry, liquorice, and other spices from the oak, on floral, herbal background. Dry, with ripe attack, still getting a moderate plus acidity, elegant tannins and silky texture led by its high alcohol, with juicy, fruity finish, enjoyable.

High Level

After the storm, there came the sun. A very satisfactory flight, both consistent and with accurate profiles of wines. As one can notice my comments get longer and most of the wines have considerable aging potential. Alcohol is better mastered and balanced by fresher acidities, at least in terms of perception. Oak is integrated in most of the cases, with few exceptions. Most of the wines are very good showing intensity and even a certain level of complexity, with well-defined aromas that are harmonious with these more textured wines. Structural parameters arrive to a good balance as explained above and one gets more salivating, longer finishes with more flavours lingering on the aftertaste. The level of fineness of aromas is there and the oak integration helps complexing the whole. Perfect waiting room for the last flight.

F1 DOMENIUL BOGDAN              PRIMORDIAL     DOBROGEA        2018      ?             FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium garnet, clean, nose is clean, of medium plus intensity, with pristine black fruit, blackcurrant, black cherry, prune, complimented by oak maturing notes, such as spices, a hint of varietal liquorice. Dry, ripe, velvety, acidity is medium, alcohol is high, tannins are elevated, oak tannins still feel firm, and the wine is long, spicy, and juicy. Very good. 5-6 years of potential easily.

F2 CASA DE VINURI COTNARI CASTEL VALDOIANU 2017              ?             rosu sec

 Medium purple colour. The nose is clean, floral, with rose, violets, tones of exotic wood that gives a spicy touch such as Santali, cedar. Tobacco and cigar box. Dry, elevated acidity, tannins are elevated too, with firm, though fine- grained tannins intertwined with with tannins from the oak maturing. Spicy profile, with chocolate notes, a hint of pepper, liquorice, and finish is medium plus, with some oak influence still lingering. Good to very good.  8-10 years.

F3 CRAMELE RECAS        SELENE BANAT 2017      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep ruby- purple. The nose is clean, discreet, with a hint of toast, smoke. Dry, ripe, acidity is medium, oak is still overwhelming on the palate both in terms of flavours and structure, alcohol is high but integrated with the freshness, finish is medium – with oak tones. Good, 6-8 years to go.

F4 VIILE METAMORFOSIS            CANTUS PRIMUS            MUNTENIA        2017      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Closed, restrained profile with few red fruits interlaced with herbaceous tones. Dry, restrained again on the palate, acidity is elevated, tannins are medium plus to elevated, so is alcohol, bringing silky and pleasant texture, despite the slightly dry oak influence.

F5. DOMENIILE PANCIU GRAND RESERVA 2017                ?            rosu sec

Nose is clean, showing spicy oak influence, with balsamic notes, layers of black fruits, black cherry, Morello cherry, a touch of fine volatile acidity and some leather. A fine dry palate, acidity is medium plus, alcohol is high, oak is still present, finish is medium plus and balsamic. Good to very good wine.

F6 DOMENIILE SAMBURESTI     CHATEAU VALVIS            MUNTENIA        2016      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep garnet, with purple hues.  The nose is clean, a bit meaty, savoury. As the wine breathes its shows ripe and concentrated Morello cherry, blue berry jam intermingling with some spices. Dry, with elevated acidity, tannins are high, polished, the character is savoury and salivating, its high alcohol is warming, generous enhancing the spicy profile, long and juicy finish. Very good. 7-8 years plus.  

F7          LACERTA                             MUNTENIA        2016      14,2%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium garnet, with ruby glints. Nose is clean, savoury, with lots of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg on a developing background of dried cranberry, flowers, desiccated cherry. Dry, medium plus acidity, with silky mouthfeel, tannins are medium plus and fine grained, with a touch of cocoa, long finish, spicy. Very good. 10 years plus.

F8  ALIRA           GRAND VIN       DOBROGEA        2016      14,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Colour is deep ruby with a medium nose, showing cherry, red plums, oak being bit of lush, somehow of a generic quality. Dry, medium acidity to elevated, tannins are elevated, alcohol is high, generous, and finish is medium plus, with spices. 5 years plus.

F9  DOMENIILE SAHATENI          3 FETE NEGRE    MUNTENIA        ?             ?             FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep garnet, nose is clean, although discreet, nutty, and toasty, with almost oxidative, mature profile, still quite restraint. Dry, acidity is medium plus, and tannins are elevated to high, with coarse grain, but the silky texture wraps them and so does the juicy fruit, as well as its generous alcohol. Wait another 7-8 years.

F10  BUDUREASCA        ORIGINI               MUNTENIA        2015      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium garnet, nose is clean, balsamic, with a touch of positive volatile, fruit shows plums, oak is clean well integrated, bringing cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, a note of cocoa. Dry, medium plus acidity, alcohol is elevated, medium plus tannins, silky mouthfeel, and long finish. Good to very good, aging potential of 7-8 years.

High End

The conclusion… or no comment. The flight was short indeed, but the story is too long to write. Long as the path Romanian wine has walked upon since its shy glints after the Communism up to now. Very good to outstanding level, long cellaring potential. I do believe in this grape, and this not only as a blend compound. Feteasca neagra has all it needs as a standalone variety. With all these prerequisites, it still has to benefit from the best clone choice, site adaptation, and viticulture to best train it into winemaking and maturing. With these 4 wines most of the conditions were satisfied. I believe comments talk by themselves. Congratulations.

F1 VIAVITICOLA SARICA NICULITEL       EPIPHANIE         MUNTENIA        2017      14,3%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple, nose is clean, with a touch of jam, blackberries, black cherries, violet flowers and balsamic hints complimented by bergamot peel. Dry, of a ripe attack, with pulpy mouthfeel, tannins are medium plus and velvety, acidity is medium, alcohol is high, the flavours are pronounced with lots of blackcurrants, blackberries, minty notes, lingering on the long finish. The wine is full but very elegant, with length, of a very good to excellent level, 10-12 years of cellaring potential. It evolves into more chocolate-like notes.

F2 DOMENIILE TOHANI               APOGEUM        MUNTENIA        2015      14,8%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep inky colour. Nose is clean with blackberry, black cherry, blackcurrant nose, flavours develop into flowery highlights, it is dry, with elegancy, and acidity is elevated, salivating. Tannins are polished, fine-grained, the wine is long and juicy, with airy, ethereal perfumes 10 years plus for the cellaring.

F3 SERVE            CUVEE GUY DE POIX      MUNTENIA        2015      15,5%    FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Deep purple; the nose is clean, airy, with fine ethereal balsamic notes combined with cherries, Morello Cherries, prune complimented by some cigar box, sweet spices and pungent liquorice on the background. The wine is dry, the acidity is elevated and the tannins are high, fine and polished, the whole integrated with rich generous alcohol, the wine has complex flavours of leather, tobacco, spices, pepper, liquorice with floral hints such as potpourri to the long finish, it is full, textured, but elegant. 10-12 plus.

F4 THE ICONIC ESTATE HYPERION          MUNTENIA        2014      14%       FETEASCA NEAGRA        rosu sec

Medium ruby, nose is quite closed, clean, but restrained. Black fruit such as prune and blueberry are concentrated underneath the oak and herbal hints. Dry, light textured, silky, with medium plus acidity and tannins that still feel a bit tight despite the fine grain. Flavours join the nose with a herbal touch, slightly evolving towards forest floor, dried leaves. Good wine, enjoyable over the next 6-8 years. 

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