Oltina DOC is a wine region situated in South-East Romania, in the sunny historical region of Dobrogea. More exactly, this region lies between the Danube and the Bulgarian border and is outlined by the presence of a natural paradise. A natural heaven that consists of ponds full of fish, a huge variety of birds and animals, deciduous forests, land with acacia trees, and households with beehives full of honey. Undoubtedly, this place had to be blessed with the presence of grapevines. And precisely the grapevine element bounded the communities Ostrov, Băneasa, Oltina, and Aliman – forming Oltina DOC – throughout history.
And this is not a random thing, taking into consideration that the Oltina DOC has an excellent climate for the grapevine growth:
- soil formed of black earth, clay, and loess;
- altitude between 130 and 200 meters;
- the vines are planted on the slopes of the Danubian terraces with northern, north-eastern and northwest exposure;
- temperate-continental climate with an ideal level of humidity, warmth, sun, and rainfall.
2,000 years ago, the Dacians discovered the wine potential of this area. Which is why during the Roman Occupation (107-276 AD) the Sacidava castrum was built, on the land of current settlement Aliman.
However, the potential of the vineyards from Oltina DOC was discovered almost by chance by the renowned French winemaker, Marc Dworkin. Especially because in the place where the first vines were to be planted, there were cornfields. Despite this, the inspiration and intuition were providential for the French winemaker from the beginning. And so, in 2006, in Aliman the Alira boutique winery was established.
The Alira wines are inspired by the Bordeaux style of winemaking focused on creating aromatic red wines, with a velvety texture and a good tannic structure. Therefore, only grapes harvested by hand are used. Also, the grapes have to be overripe until the seeds have a brownish color and the taste of walnuts. All the red wines are aged in French oak barriques for a period of 3 to 14 months, depending on the wine collection.
Through Alira wines, the Oltina DOC becomes a rediscovered wine region which surprises and delights by its picturesque, natural environment and local people.
Located in the Southern part of Romania, Dealu Mare spreads over the surface of Prahova and Buzău counties. It is the most compact vineyard heap in Romania composed of eight important DOC wine centers for Dealu Mare. Also, the region is located in the Southern Carpathian hills and stretches over an area of 65 km with a width ranging between 3 and 12 km. Lastly, Dealu Mare is positioned on the parallel 45°, in the select company of Bordeaux and Tuscany.
The white wines produced in the Dealu Mare DOC are distinguished by a high level of extract, a velvety structure and a medium acidity due to Southwestern exposure. In some areas, the soil has a concentrated content of calcium carbonate, which favors the cultivation of aromatic grape varieties like Tămâioasă Românească and Muscat Ottonel.
Instead, the red wines produced in Dealu Mare are pleasing any type of consumer. Here, the red wines are well-balanced, full-bodied, with a smooth texture, a long aftertaste and aromas like berries, spices, morocco, coffee, cocoa or chocolate. Due to their qualities, most of the red wines have great ageing potential. And this is due to the natural factors (terroir) favorable to growing red varieties:
- red-brown soils rich in iron with a medium texture;
- very good heliothermic resources;
- temperate-continental climate with hot summers and mild dry autumns which ensure the ripening of red grapes.
The presence of the vines is dated since ancient times, as confirmed by excavations, pottery, and toponymy. The first documents date from the 14th and 15th centuries, in which Valea Călugărească and Ceptura are mentioned. In foreign documents of the era, the wine from Dealu Mare was described as “oily, strong and durable”.
SERVE is one of the first private wineries in Romania, founded in 1994, by the Corsican Count Guy Tyrel de Poix. The story begins when the Count was seduced by the magic words written by Hugh Johnson, in his book “The Story of Wine”, which mentioned Romania as a country with potential in viticulture and winemaking. That was enough for the Count to take our country as a challenge and a soon to become materialized project. Currently, SERVE grows on an area of 54 hectares local varieties such as Fetească Albă, Fetească Neagră, and also international like Italian Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Domeniile Săhăteni is known by their several collections of white, rosé and red wines. Brands like Artisan, Karakter, Promessa or Anima, which render elegant and aromatic wines, with a feminine note, highlighting the international and Romanian varieties.
Davino is a winery built in 2003, with an area of 68 hectares in Ceptura and impresses with white and red wines, which “contain” that aristocratic and initiatory element. In perfect harmony, they vinify both monovarietal and blended, three white varieties – Fetească Albă, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling Italian – and three red varieties – Fetească Neagră, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. If the wines are made of only one type of grape variety, they get to express so well its typicity that they became study material for future oenologists from the Agronomical Universities from Bucharest and Iaşi. Real school-wines…
One of the newest wineries, founded in Dealu Mare, is Viile Metamorfosis. The story of this winery started in the early 2000s, when Marquis Piero Antinori, impressed by the quality of the Romanian wines, decided to invest in this region. With more than 600 years of tradition and experience in the wine field, the Antinori Family decided to plant 100 hectares at Vadu Săpat. Their credit lies in “establishing” the Negru de Drăgăşani variety in this vineyard, and also in growing traditional Romanian grapes like Tămâioasă Românească, Fetească Albă and Fetească Neagră.
Budureasca is a winery founded in 2006 on a surface of 275 hectares and is one of the largest producers of Dealu Mare. The wine portfolio is highly diversified, with collections dedicated to all wine consumers at an excellent price-quality ratio. The technology is one of the most modern in the country, meeting at the same time tradition and the terroir of the area. The varieties are both local and international, among which Fetească Regală, Fetească Albă, Tămâioasă Românească, Busuioacă of Bohotin or Fetească Neagră.
Returning to the present, the Dealu Mare DOC is receiving a new “meaning” with the founding of new wineries that have relied on the terroir of this area, the Romanian traditional varieties and – sometimes – the making of signature wines.
Certainly, Dealu Mare Vineyard is worth to discover on a study trip, from winery to winery, to understand its story and history.