On THU evening Le Manoir hosted the launching event of the Lacerta wines. It was a great chance for me to meet Mr Mihai Banita, their winemaker, to get first hand information from him and taste all their wines in his company.
Lacerta has about 80 ha of land, the oldest vines they have being planted in 2005. Mr Banita mentioned they have about 5000 vines planted per ha and a brand new winery was built. The last part still under construction is the tasting room that should be ready by April-June this year. Their label shows a lizard that, according to Mr Banita, it is very common in the region and a sign of healthy terroir and low chemicals usage.
In the cellar they work with four-five types of oak. The wines we had were recently bottled(between 1st and 10th of February) and the wines showed signs of bottle shock. While the nose of each wine was clean and revealing distinctive aromas for each grape variety, the taste and the aftertaste were unusually uniform. There are five white wines made from single varieties: Pinot Gris, Rheinriesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel and a sixth white blend named Cuvee X, made of all five varieties. Overall, the wines show good concentration and length in the mouth, with clean and charming aromas on the nose. Hopefully after 1-2 months they will get over the bottle shock and lose the undifferentiated taste that characterizes them at this stage.
We started the tasting with:
– Pinot Gris 2010: at 14.8% alcohol the wine shows a serious unpleasant bitterness in the aftertaste;
– the Rheinriesling 2010 is mineral but maintains fruity aromas;
– the Sauvignon Blanc 2010 has a reductive nose and good concentration while showing mineral flavors;
– the Chardonnay 2010 appears too shy;
– the Muscat Ottonel 2010 is fresh and intense on the nose;
In my opinion, the most balanced and attractive of their whites is the white Cuvee X (there is also a red Cuvee IX). A really fresh and clean nose, a wine with good acidity and balance, clear and intense aromas, both on the nose and the mouth, with a refreshing appealing aftertaste.
Lacerta produces three different red wines, each of them aged for 12 months in 4-5 types of oak:
– a Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2009 showing a youthful nose, with sweet candied like fruit and lactic aromas;
– the Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 was the most interesting of the three. The nose is youthful and developing. The wine shows a nice Cabernet typicality.
– the last red is Cuvee IX 2009 – blend of Cab Sauv/Merlot/Shiraz- youthful nose with oaky aromas, a type of mix between the first two wines.
The prices for these wines – at the winery – will be between 39 – 59 Ron (9.2 – 14 Eur) per bottle. In wine shops and restaurants they will probably be double that price. There is no doubt that the wines have potential and hopefully in 6-8 weeks they will start to shine.
Thanks for reading!