A very short guide to Romanian wines

If you’re visiting or planning to visit Romania, this short guide to Romanian wines can be very handy. Picking the right bottle of wine is a challenge even for the most knowledgeable of us, but this challenge becomes even tougher when you’re not accustomed to the brands and/or wine varieties of a foreign country. Long story short, in this post I’m going to give you some valuable advice on what Romanian wine to buy, where, and at what price.

First of all, avoid corner shops as they will most likely not have a proper assortment of wines, and even if they do, the storing conditions are usually subpar. Instead go for super/hypermarkets, or, if you’re in a big city, try and find a specialized store, as they will carry the greatest variety of wines and the storing conditions are proper for wines. There are a lot of rules of thumb regarding what to avoid in a supermarket. For instance, don’t buy whites older that 2 years from a supermarket. Another rule is to not spend more than 40 lei (10 euros) on a wine in a supermarket. Of course, these are just general rules, there may be exceptions.

If you’re looking to buy some Romanian wines made from local grape varieties you should look for the following: whites – Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Tămâioasă Românească, Crâmpoşie; red – Fetească Neagră, Negru de Drăgăşani, Novac, Cadarcă.

But enough with the introductions, here’s a list of Romanian wines that I recommend, grouped by price category and color:

 

Romanian white wines

Under 25 lei (5-6 euros):

  • All “Frunza” wines, from Recaş. The younger the better. You can find them only in Carrefour supermarkets
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from Castel Huniade, Recaş
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Castel Stârmina 2011, Vinarte
  • Zinfandel (white) and Sauvignon Blanc, Caloian 2011, Oprişor
  • Sauvignon Blanc Nec Plus Ultra 2009, Jidvei
  • Traminer 2010, Domeniile Boieru

 

25-50 lei (6-10 euros)

  • Crâmpoşie Selecţionată 2011, Agricola Ştribey
  • Tămâioasă Românească 2011 and Fume 2011, Budureasca
  • Fetească Regală Sole 2011, Cramele Recaş
  • Fetească Regală 2011 and Cuvee Vişan 2010, Gramma
  • White Artisan 2011, Aurelia Vişinescu
  • Millenium Alb 2011, SERVE

 

50-100 lei (10-20 euros)

  • Fetească Albă 2011, Basilescu
  • Golem Alb 2010, Basilescu
  • Rusalcă Albă 2011, Oprişor
  • Chardonnay Barrique 2010, Nachbil
  • Solo Quinta 2011, Recas
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Liliac

 

Romanian Rose wines

All roses are from 2011, since we mostly recommended roses only when are young.

Under 25 lei (5-6 euros):

  • Caloian Rose, Oprişor
  • Frunza Rose, Recaş
  • Rose white label, Budureasca
  • Vinul Cavalerului Rose, SERVE
  • Castel Stârmina Rose, Vinarte
  • Castel Huniade Rose, Recaş

 

25-50 lei (6-10 euros)

  • Basilescu Rose (made from Fetească Neagră)
  • Terra Romana Rose, S.E.R.V.E.
  • Avincis Rose (made from Cabernet Sauvignon + Merlot)
  • Karakter Rose (made from Pinot Gris and Merlot), Aurelia Vişinescu
  • Basilescu Busuioacă de Bohotin, Crama Basilescu

 

Romanian Red wines

Under 25 lei (5-6 euros):

  • Cabernet Sauvignon Castel Huniade 2011, Recaş
  • Fetească Neagră România Pitorească (13.5%, year is not mentioned), DOC Dealu Mare Urlaţi
  • Merlot Prahova Valley Special Reserve 2009, Halewood
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Caloian 2010, Oprişor
  • Negru de Drăgăşani Castel Stârmina 2009, Vinarte
  • Merlot Rapsod 2008, Rotenberg

 

25-50 lei (6-10 euros)

  • Merlot Prince Mircea 2009, Vinarte
  • Fetească Neagră Eclipse 2010, Basilescu
  • Syrah Cocoşul dintre vii 2010/2011, Recaş
  • Red Artisan 2008, Aurelia Vişinescu
  • Merlot Vitis Metamorfosis 2009, Halewood
  • Cadarcă 2006, Wine Princess

 

50-100 lei (10-20 euros)

  • Novac 2009, Agricola Stribey
  • Golem Roşu 2008, Basilescu
  • Fetească Neagră 2009, Basilescu
  • Merlot Prince Matei 2008, Vinarte
  • Cuvee Uberland 2009, Recaş
  • Smerenie 2010, Oprişor
  • Cuvee Charlotte 2008, SERVE
  • Fetească Neagră Hyperion 2009, Cramele Halewood
  • Domaine Ceptura Rouge 2009, Davino

 

Over 100 lei (over 20 euros)

  • Cutia Paleologu 2008 (magnum), Oprişor
  • Flamboyant, Davino

 

If you know other wines that you would recommend and they’re not on this short list, please feel free to mention them in the comments section below.

6 comentarii. Adaugă un comentariu ↓

  1. July 3, 2012 @ 09:45

    Hey Darius!

    Thank you for the details on WHERE we buy wine while in Romania. Logistics and temperature control is something I never have to really worry about too much in the states!

    Additionally, I’m curious: are there common varietals (such as syrah, cabernet etc) that are similar to the indigenous grape varieties in Romania. I understand that there will be differences but I’d like to understand where the wines lie on the scale from light to dark. or in terms of what kind of fruit flavors, such as http://winefolly.com/tutorial/red-dark-fruit-flavors-in-wine/
    Thanks so much!

  2. Darius Tulbure
    July 3, 2012 @ 11:09

    Well, that is a tricky question, but I’ll try to answer it as best as I can. We mentioned in this article Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Tămâioasă Românească, Crâmpoşie for whites; and Fetească Neagră, Negru de Drăgăşani, Novac, Cadarcă for reds.

    Fetească Albă (“White Maiden” or literally “girlish white”) gives a pale white wine that can be anywhere between dry and sweet. Dry Fetească Albă is very fresh, with a high acidity, lots on white fruits (gooseberry, apples, mellon, semi-ripe peaches, lime etc.) with some freshly mowed lawn, hints of acacia honey and great minerality.

    Fetească Regală (“Royal Maiden”) is very similar to Fetească Albă in terms of acidity and fruitiness (maybe the fruits seem a bit more ripe in Fetească Regală), but it has a more tonic character and a pleasant astringency combined with a powerful herbal aroma.

    Tămâioasă Românească (or Romanian Muscatel) is an aromatic white wine that is traditionally created semi-sweet and sweet, but in recent years we have seen some very good dry wines from this varietal. It’s very aromatic, with powerful flowery notes, ripe white fruits, honey, roses, incense, basil, jasmine etc.

    Crâmpoşie gives rather simple, rustic pale white wines with floral and vegetal aromas followed by green apples, lemon and pomelo. The acidity is high and mineral with a bitterish aftertaste.

    Fetească Neagră (“Black Maiden”) gives a deep red wine with ruby shades, with black currant, sour cherries and plums in all forms: fresh ripe plum, prunes and prune jam. It can have strong tannins, chocolate and peppery aromas. It is often aged in barrique.

    Negru de Drăgăşani is a purple red wine. It can feature red fruit and lots of spice, and even leather and tabacco. It features sweet blackberry, cherry, plums, with high acidity and smooth tannins.

    Novac is simiral to Syrah in its youth and gains more of a Pinot Noir character with aging. It’s a fairy rare varietal.

    Cadarca is a bright red to deep red wine, with a characteristic red fruit flavor (sweet cherries, sour cherries red plums), light and silky and sometimes very acidic. It ages well. It can feature lots of spices that overwhelm the fruit.

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  4. emilie
    March 13, 2014 @ 12:12

    Hello ,
    i am studying on the Romanian market. I read your article and i would like to know if you have a list of foreign wine with their prices.
    What kind of opinion you have about foreign wines , especially French.

    Thank you for your answer.

    Emilie

  5. January 5, 2015 @ 00:05

    Hello. I was given a bottle of 1985 pestera- an der grotte a pinot noir from Romania. It is from Ambassador Wines Ltd. And was wondering if it is a dry or sweet red and should we drink it soon or keep it in our wine refrigerator. Is it similar to French Pinots?
    I am unfamiliar with the Romanian wines and appreciate the information.
    Thank you.
    Susan

  6. Andy Monaghan
    November 7, 2016 @ 18:12

    Thanks for this, I only wish I’d seen it before I went to Romania last week instead of now.
    Are you able to recommend where best to buy Romanian wines in UK?

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