Last weekend’s wine event organized by Vinul.ro
Last weekend, on SAT and SUN , I did attend the wine fair organized by Vinul.ro, the Romanian wine magazine, in the old center of Bucharest. The event was held at the same location as the first edition of this event. While the participants were pretty much the same, there were also some new wineries from Dragasani with stands introducing their wines. In my opinion, the star wine of the event was the newly launched sparkling wine from Crama Stirbey/Stirbey winery made from 100% Cramposie (a local indigenous white grape variety).
Stirbey’s winemaker, Oliver Bauer, managed to produce a very good sparkling with really smooth bubbles, persistent acidity, zero dosage, clean and fresh with citric aromas and a nice overall mouth-feel. Someone found it lacking enough flavors and blame it on the poor aromatics of Cramposie, but for me this is a wine that goes perfectly with food, while still remaining very enjoyable on its own. Some may find the wine pricey – it sells for 65 RON/15.5 EUR at the winery- compared to other Romanian sparkling wines, but it is, in my humble opinion(IMHO*), the best one made so far.
There is consistent quality in all their wines as I got to taste 6 more wines they had available for tasting: Sauv Blanc 2009, Sauv Blanc Vitis Vetus 2008, Genius Loci Feteasca Regala 2007, Merlot 2008, Cab Sauv 2008, Feteasca Neagra 2008.
There are two more wines I found very interesting from Vinchile at this fair: 2006 Villard l’Assemblage grand vin and 2006 San Pedro Malbec 1865 single vineyard. It is very hard not say that these wines do not come from Chile as they have that distinctive Chilean bitter-mineral aroma. This time I managed to get tasting notes so here they are:
2006 Villard l’Assemblage grand vin
Blend of Cab Sauv-Merlot-Petit verdot aged for 12 months in French oak. A dark red colored wine with a medium intensity nose, developed aromas of cocoa, dark fruits and sweet oak while still preserving the Chilean Cabernet flavors. This medium bodied wine is balanced with flavors of sweet dark fruits, chocolate, mocha and has a medium finish with a pleasant dark chocolaty aftertaste. While the wine is loaded with sweet fruit it is not in excess. A nice wine but I do not know its price. 88-89 points
2006 San Pedro Malbec 1865 single vineyard
A dark red velvet color. It has an elegant nose with medium intensity, a typical Chilean petrol-bitter aroma and dark fruits. The taste is medium body, with dry and firm tannins, coffee, dark chocolate and red fruits. There is a medium finish with interesting minty-eucalyptus and espresso aftertaste. The drying tannins are a bit too aggressive for my taste, but would probably go well with rich food. Just like the previous wine, as much as there is rich fruit, this is not overpowering the rest of the flavors. A really well made Malbec. 88 points
On SUN evening, after the wine fair, I had dinner again with the Bauer’s and tasted together more wines. After this weekend and the few conversations and wines tasted together with Oliver Bauer, I can say that I got a certain understanding of his wine-making style regarding his reds. I have to say honestly, that I very much prefer his whites and I always found the reds the least approachable and unappealing in the first few years after release. According to his beliefs and based on the wines and the tasting comments we shared during this weekend, he is a fan of old style Bordeaux wine-making. His wines are not built to please immediately upon release, but to reward on the long term. The first wines made at Stirbey were in the 2003 vintage therefore it is too soon to say if he is right or not and how these red wines are evolving. The oldest wine I tried from Stirbey was a 2004 Merlot, tasted last year in May when I visited the winery. Popped and poured, the wine seemed closed and unapproachable, but people that tried this wine the second day did find it more appealing and charming.
During the SUN dinner, we tried three different wines that were very far away in quality compared to our FRI evening tasting.
I bought this wine in September 2010 from Greece. A dark red colored wine. The nose is oaky, medium(-) intensity, youthful, simple with red cherry and lactic aromas. The taste is medium body with a firm tannins structure that I found quite aggressive, with flavors of mocha and red fruits. The finish is medium(-), drying the mouth and a bitter coffee aftertaste. 84-85 points
2007 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso
I received this wine from Recas winery as a free sample to taste it some while ago and it was only now that I got the chance to open it. A ruby red colored wine. It has a clean nose with medium(-) intensity with red cherry and raspberry aromas. A medium bodied wine with flavors of red fruits and dark chocolate, finishing with a short to medium dark chocolaty aftertaste. 77-78 points
2009 Gramma Feteasca Regala
A pale yellow lemon color. The nose is fresh and clean with lemon, green apple and light spice. The taste is medium body, feels fat, not enough acidity giving a heavy mouth-feel, with lemon peel and grapefruit flavors. The finish is short with grapefruit and a strong sensation of unbalanced alcohol(14%). I find it heavy, lacking a sustainable balance. This wine feels like it’s rushing on a downhill slope from the moment you uncork it gradually losing its freshness and balance. 65 points
Busy but fun weekend.
Thanks for reading!