Top off your glass for Wine Wednesday! This series uncorks the world’s lesser-known wine regions so your palette can be as well-traveled as you are. Today, we’re in the Transylvania Highlands in Romania.
A Perfect Setting in the Transylvania Highlands
Harboring a unique landscape that plays a huge role in the flavors you taste from one winery to another, it’s beyond us why the vampires bothered drinking anything but wine in Transylvania. Transylvania’s placement among the Carpathian Mountains gives winemakers the benefit of growing grapes in a purely natural setting. This results in the forces of nature to help with the grape’s final turn-out.
Each winery in Transylvania has a particular advantage due to its placement in the dynamic landscape. The following four are full-bodied examples of how location has played a critical role in their signature wines.
Liliac Winery in Batos
Word of mouth has made Liliac famous among the wineries you need to visit in Transylvania. The stark change in day to night temperature, moderated by the Carpathian Mountains, is good for the grape’s cultivation and ripening. Liliac’s second winery, located in Lechinta, makes its magic on soft-sandy ground containing minimal loam (clay-silty soil). The conditions are perfect for creating fruity wine.
Must-try wine from Liliac: Muscat Ottonel dessert wine
Vila Vinea Winery
About 72.5 kilometers (45 miles) south of Liliac is Vila Vinea, one of the country’s oldest wine regions. It’s situated in the valley of the Tarnave River, and winemakers intentionally grow their vines on the valley slopes so the north-west winds can contribute to the workload. The breeze cools the vines and evaporates extra water without compromising the grape’s acidity and sugars, resulting in amazing flavors.
Must-try wines from Vila Vinea: Feteasca Neagra and Feteasca Regala signature wines
Like Liliac, Domeniul Ciumbrud benefits from a temperature difference between day and night. In addition, the mountain hills protect its grapes from strong winds so they can ripen in peace. The final game-changing touch the winemakers put in to Domeniul Ciumbrud wine is adding a hint of Transylvanian almond to each bottle they produce. We’ll cheers to that!
Must-try wines from Domeniul Ciumbrud: Pinot Noir Sec from Domeniul Ciumbrud
Located in Gura Vadului and almost 90 kilometers (55 miles) from Bucharest, Romania’s capital, is a rare spot that receives 14 more days of sunlight than any other part of the country. This is where Tohani Romania set up shop in 1773, using that extra sunlight to produce vibrant grapes with strong flavor. Creativity is an ingredient as necessary as the grapes themselves, and Tohani Romania attracts only the most gifted and passionate makers to its vineyards in order to serve wines that each tell their own story.
Must-try wines from Tohani Romania: Siel Rosé new entry wine
Wine and True Tradition
Transylvania’s earthy complexion isn’t the only characteristic that contributes to the rising star that is Romanian wine. What takes the wine from good to “grape” is the care and creativity winemakers put into the process. For example, winemakers use the Schilfwein method to prepare the grapes used in Liliac’s Muscat Ottonel dessert wine.
The Schilfwein method has been practiced since medieval times and requires tedious work and patience – which is impressive since medieval times yielded so much tragedy you’d expect people would want to get their wine ASAP just to cope. It involves picking the grapes by hand and laying them out on mats to dry in the sun for many months. The concentration of sugar and flavor skyrockets during the drying period and results in a sweet drink unlike any other.
Now, time for a drink! Did you know Jaya Travel specializes in crafting all kinds of tours, including those of the wine variety? Call Jaya today to create your Transylvanian wine tour and experience the magic of Romanian wine!