Visit at Halewood wineries – Conacul Urlateanu
The second week of November was very warm in Romania with temperatures between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, a very unusual sunny late autumn for this period of the year. Therefore I decided to take advantage of the sunny and warm weather last SAT and pay a visit to Halewood wineries at their Conacul Urlateanu, some 20-30 km away from Ploiesti. After a call, the reservation was made and we arrived at the destination late noon, just in time for lunch.
The people at Conacul Urlateanu were very welcoming and they invited us to make a tour of the winery. It is important to mention that Halewood wineries are using this place strictly for aging their wines in barrels. They have two large cellars with natural aeration filled with barrels where the wines rest. Our guide, Mrs Claudia Marinache, explained that they use Portuguese, Romanian, French and American oak for barrel maturation.
We tasted about 8 wines aged for 10 months directly from barrels. I find these type of tastings very interesting as you get the chance to see what a big difference the oak has on wine. We started with three samples of the same Merlot aged in different types of oak for the same 10 months period: old and new Portuguese oak and new Romanian oak. I preferred the old Portuguese oak sample as it was very approachable as opposed to the other samples where the tannins were firmer. Usually in new oak the wine gets more tannin from the wood, lasts longer but, generally, it is more aggressive in the mouth in its youth.
We sampled two more Cabernet Sauvignon’s from new and old oak and three different Feteasca Neagra from different types of oak.
Halewood has a different approach when it comes to choosing which wine goes into their top cuvees. They are not using a specific vineyard for their premium range. Once the maturation process is over, they choose the best wines in the winery to go into the Hyperion range. Hyperion is their top range wine and so far they released two cuvees each year starting with the 2007 vintage: a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Feteasca Neagra. There was a 2006 Hyperion Cabernet Sauvignon released.
Once the cellar tour was over we moved into the tasting room where our guide offered us four more wines to taste. We tasted from bottle: La Cittadella, a Pinot Grigio from Transilvania (thin in the mouth), La catina vineyard Pinot Noir 2008, Cherry tree hill 2006, a Merlot aged for 18 months in oak barrels, and a Prahova Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Cherry tree hill Merlot 2006 was by far the most notable from the bunch, excluding the Hyperion Feteasca neagra.
We drank a dry rose sparkling wine and a 2008 Hyperion Feteasca Neagra during lunch.
Rhein extra Brut rose (dry)
Price: 4-5 EUR (22 RON)
The wine has a red pink color. The nose shows wild strawberry and caramel. The alcohol can be felt quite a lot in the mouth. There is a short finish on this sparkling wine. Good-
2008 Hyperion Feteasca Neagra
Price: 17-20 EUR (80 RON) at the winery
1800 bottles produced and sold out completely.
The wine has a deep dark red color. Spicy dark cherry candy and dry plums are very intense on the sweet nose. In the mouth the wine is medium body, pleasant with plenty of ripe dark fruits and spices. The 14.5% alcohol is very nicely integrated with absolutely no sensation of heat and good balance of the American oak. There is an initial sweetness on the medium aftertaste followed by a discreet pleasant bitterness. Very good wine.
Overall the visit to Conacul Urlateanu was very pleasant, the food was unpretentious but good and the wine tasting very interesting. This is a good place to come, relax and enjoy Romanian food and wine, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the beautiful panorama.
The old house sits on top of one of the highest hills and offers a panoramic view of the small town and vineyards.
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Thanks for reading!