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Grape varieties & vineyards

Grape Varieties: The main noble vines of western European origin, with good oenological characteristics and well adapted to the Romanian vine-growing have long been acclimatized in Romania : Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir as reds and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer, Muscat Ottonel as whites.
Several valuable native varieties, which are still grown post-phylloxera, are widespread. Feteasca Alba and WelschRiesling are most widely planted, but four other white varieties of character are locally important : Feteasca Regala, Francusa , Grasa and Tamaioasa ( the last two excellent for sweet, aromatic wines). Important indigenous red grapes include Babeasca Neagra for big production and light wines and Feteasca Neagra for dark, spicy, full body wines.

Main Wine Regions: The Romanian wine regions may be divided into eight large viticultural zones, of which Moldova, east of the Carpathians, is much the biggest, with over a third of all Romanian’s vineyards. Wallachia, consisting of the Muntenian and Oltenia Hills, the southern ramparts of Transylvania, including the maritime province of Dobrogea. Then comes the Transylvanian plateau and the western regions of Recas-Minis, going north up to Silvania.
Northern Moldova is white wines country, with Cotnari as its pearl. Cotnari produces what many consider being Romania’s finest wine : a sweet wine from indigenous grapes, which have been affected by noble rot.
The great concentration of production is in central Moldovan hills : Vrancea, with its main denominations : Odobesti, Cotesti, Nicoresti, Panciu is the largest vineyard of Romania, with an area of over 40.000 hectars.
Muntenia viticulture is better known by the name of its most famous vineyards - Dealul Mare. Dealul Mare vineyard lies on the slopes of the sub-Carpathian hills, enjoying well-watered soils and south sun exposure. It is one of the best areas in Romania for the cultivation of red grapes : Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir as well as full-bodied Feteasca Neagra. The notable white wine is the sweet, aromatic Tamaioasa, from Pietroasa, produced from fully ripe grapes grown on limestone soils.
The outcrops of Carpathian foothills scattered trough Muntenia and Oltenia each has their specialties : Dragasani for Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, Samburesti for some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the country, Stefanesti for Pinot Noir and aromatic whites. South of here, on the Danube plain, Segarcea used to be an established name for Cabernet and Pinot Noir and Vanju Mare is famous for the highest quality red wines, dark, substantial vins de garde.
Romania’s short Black Sea coast gives Dobrogea, across the Danube to the east the country’s sunniest climate and lowest rain, ideally suited to the production of large harvest wines. Murfatlar has a reputation for soft red wines and luscious white ones, even sweet Chardonnays and Pinots Gris, from exceptionally ripe grapes grown on lime-stone and chalk soils, tempered by on-shore breezes.
In the middle of the country one may find the viticultural region of the Transylvanian Plateau, cool and relatively rainy, favoring much fresher and crisper white wines than the rest of Romania. Tarnave vineyard, with two main denominations : Jidvei and Blaj, produces white wines from grape varieties: Feteasca Regala, WelschRiesling, Traminer, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Sylvaner.
In the western part of the country, on the hills of Banat, Recas has an excellent reputation both for crispy white wines, produced from local varieties, and for soft red wines, including the Kadarka, next to Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.