1st of May at Crama Stirbey – part II
You can read the first part of this post here.
Their red wines spend between 12 to 24 months in old and new oak. I tasted:
– Novac 2006, Negru de Dragasani 2007 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 were aged in 300 and 400 l French and Romanian oak barrels. Not my favorites.
– Merlot 2006 – spent 14 months in 2 years old oak.
– Merlot Rezerva 2007 – had a long maceration on the skin, spent 2-3 months in tanks and another 24 months unfiltered in new Romanian oak. My favorite of this flight.
– Feteasca Neagra 2008 – produced in limited quantity, spent 14 months in 300 and 400 L oak barrels(2 years old). The wine has 14.9-15.1% alc and already shows a nice balance.
What worries me is that most of the Feteasca Neagra wines I tasted in the last 4 months had over 14.5% alcohol which I find disturbing as all of these wines don’t have enough body and fruit to sustain that alcohol. Both Messrs. Marc Dworkin(Enira) and Oliver Bauer(Stirbey) talk about the big potential of this Romanian variety which, so far, has not produced any outstanding wines.
Usually the Romanian producers do not limit the yields, the result: thin, light body and very unbalanced wines. Perhaps in the near future the Romanian producers will have an epiphany and we, the consumers, will have some pleasant surprises.
In the afternoon we moved to the terrace and had a vertical tasting of Merlot 2004-2009 and Merlot Rezerva 2007:
2004 – was completely closed on the nose and taste. It seems the second day the wine opened and became more approachable. The winemaker advises to decant this wine for 12 h before serving.
2005 – had a bad weather. The 2005 vintage was considered the worst year out of the five tasted. The wine, however, is already drinking well. The wine is very Bordeaux style with a green nose: green vegetables, asparagus, green bell pepper and spices. The wine is very nicely done with no green tannins. In the mouth it has nice acidity, a medium body, with spices, asparagus, discreet dark fruits. The wine finishes delicate with a spicy medium aftertaste. My favorite wine of the vertical. This wine is already very approachable and doesn’t need any long decanting.
2006 – already shows integrated oak, good fruit and balance.
2007 – this was the most difficult wine to taste. The wine has a strong astringency in the aftertaste, really unpleasant. Perhaps after a few years in bottle the wine will be more approachable.
2008 – according to Mr Bauer this vintage evolves better in the bottle that’s why 2008 spent the least amount of time in oak.
2009 – this wine just finished fermenting 3 weeks ago and was in oak barrels for only 1 week. It was more of an academic exercise to taste such a young wine and see an initial phase in the wine evolution.
The vertical tasting finished with a very interesting sweet Tamaioasa Romaneasca 2007 “Stafide” from Magnum, made from dried grapes only.
2007 was such a hot year that the grapes just dried on the vines without any sign of noble rot. The dried grapes were picked from the 6 ha they have with Tamaioasa Romaneasca. 35 women manually picked only the dried grapes using pincers. This process took 3 days, collecting these jewels each grape at a time. They produced only 70-75 l of this wine with 12% alc and 120g of sugar. The wine was bottled manually and unfiltered. The winemaker feared initially that because of the high sugar levels the wine will not ferment, but the result was a success. A very nice pairing wine to a good cigar.
Do not confuse this wine with the regular sweet Tamaioasa Romaneasca they sale, as this 70-75 l of wine produced is not available. If you are fortunate enough to be invited at Crama Stirbey for a special event, you will probably have the chance to drink this wine.
Both Oliver and Raluca Bauer are warm and welcoming persons so I strongly encourage you to visit Crama Stirbey. Go ahead taste their wines and you will find out how wonderful they are. I end this article with a picture of a beautiful sunset at Crama Stirbey.
Thanks for reading…