Wines from the heart of Transylvania
Târnave DOC area is located inside the Carpathian Mountains, in the heart of Transylvania region, more precisely located within the basin formed between Târnava Mică and Târnava Mare rivers. From an administrative and territorial point of view, the region is located within Alba, Sibiu, and Mureş counties.
The vineyard has been mentioned since ancient times, being famous for its white wines, characterized by fruitiness, freshness, and high acidity. Also, according to wine literature, Târnave DOC is the birthplace of two of the most popular, appreciated, and expressive Romanian white varieties: Fetească Albă and Fetească Regală.
From a historical point of view, the first mention of Târnave DOC region dates back to 1532, when it was mentioned in a map from “Chorographia Transylvaniae” written by the famous Saxon chronicler and scholar, Johannes Honterus (1498–1549). Also, in the writing “La Vie privée à Venise, depuis de origine jusqu’à la chute de la République” written by P. Molmenti, the wines from the center of Transylvania are mentioned since 1173. Wines which during that time had an excellent reputation at the Court of Venice, in the reign of Duke Sebastian Ziani. At the same time, the Milanese author, Pietro Casala, eulogiously described the “generous and mature” wines coming from the Carpathian Mountains. Also, information about winemaking practices and wine production around 1896 are mentioned in the works of Herczegh Mihály.
However, the wine history of this region would not have existed in the absence of a unique set of natural factors ideal for cultivating the grapevines and achieving memorable typical Târnave DOC wines.
- Southwestern slopes that offer natural protection to the grapevines against the spring and autumn winds and hoarfrost;
- altitude varying between 250-600 meters;
- brown soil with alternative layers of clay, waterproof marl, sandstone, and sand;
- moderate temperate-continental climate with warm summers, harsh and humid winters, and long and gentle autumns;
- the Carpathian Mountains that naturally protect the region against the cold currents from East and North East;
- optimal level of rainfall, humidity, solar exposure, and heat.
In terms of terroir, the particularity of the region lies in the misty days from the end of the summer, September and October, a phenomenon that leads to slow grape ripening, along with the conservation of the aromas and the high level of acidity which is typical for the area of Târnave DOC. Also, during the ripening process, the day/ night temperature variation (22°C/72°F – 12°C/54°F) contributes significantly to the quality of the grapes. A level of acidity which favors the production of sparkling wines and brandies.
The white wines produced in Târnave DOC are characterized as fresh due to their high acidity, smooth texture, minerality, along with floral, fruity, and slightly spicy aromas. While the red wines can be described by delicate body, roundness, feminine texture, and clean-cut aromas of forest red fruits.
One of the representative producers from Târnave Vineyard is Villa Vinèa. The story of the winery begins in 2001, when businessman and wine enthusiast Heiner Oberrauch discover in Mica (Mureş County) a picturesque place with great potential for wine production. In 2006 the first grapevines were planted, and in 2012 the winery was inaugurated. One of the main advantages of the winery is having Celestino Lucin, considered the best winemaker in Italy in 2009, a member in the Villa Vinèa team. The winery produces wines made from local varieties such as Fetească Regală, Fetească Albă, and Fetească Neagră, but also from international varieties like Rhine Riesling, Muscat Ottonel, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. However, the particularity of the winery stands in making wines from grape varieties with German and Austrian origin, like Kerner and Zweigelt, highly appreciated by the Oberrauch family and cultivated with notable results in Târnave Vineyard. Based on the terroir and potential of the region, Villa Vinèa will soon launch a range of sparkling wines.
Confirming the unique reputation of Transylvania as a place full of history, legends, mystery and picturesque surroundings, Târnave DOC region impresses with a new wine revival, marked by the unique labels of Villa Vinèa winery.
Grape varieties which can be used to produce wines with “Târnave” Controlled Designation of Origin.
White Grape Varieties:
Red Grape Varieties:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Fetească Neagră, Syrah, Merlot.
On North-West of Romania, formerly a part of the old land of Partium, at the crossroads of Crişana, Sătmar and Maramureş, Beltiug is a realm full of history, with a special local charm and picturesque and hardworking people.
With a unique story that will be again spoken around its wines, this place is gaining international public attention, after a long period of anonymity. The living proof is the new vines which fill Dealurile Sătmarului (in En.: Sătmarului Hills), the quality of the wines, the renovation of the wineries and cellars, and the renewal of traditions from this region.
In this area, the vineyard has a cool climate with abundant rainfall. The winters are mild and safe from the cold winds and blizzards. Also, the temperature drops by 3-4°C in September, which helps preserve the flavors and acids in the grapes.
Located at a crossroad of regions, Beltiug is an area for viticulture and winemaking designated with the G.I. (Geographical Indication) of “Dealurile Sătmarului”. Wines made here are reflecting the terroir of a smaller area. This gives to the local producers the possibility of achieving wines with protected origin, made with respect for quality and consumer and with more “freedom of expression“.
One of the most representative wineries here is Nachbil. The legend starts around 1085, in the time of King Ladislaus I of Hungary, after a fierce battle with the Pechenegs (migratory population of Turkish origin). After the battle, to the King was brought a pumpkin filled with wine, which made him ask ironically about the variety of the pumpkin, (in Hungarian, “Bél” = content and “tek” = pumpkin). Later, in the eighteenth century, during the time of Count Károly Sándor, this area was called “Bacchus’ residence”. Obviously, colonizing the area with people from Oberschwaben (Swabian or Schwaben), which with their spirit, produced a true renaissance in viticulture and winemaking.
Pursuing the story to the present, in Beltiug, Răteşti and Ardud were built hundreds of cellars on two or three levels “buried” in the hills, some of them being kept in a functional condition even today. The cellars were built by the animal merchants and were used for the production of wine in small quantities for their own consumption. Sometimes, in these buildings, customers were brought to close a transaction. What is gratifying is that this tradition began to be revived in the last 10-15 years.
The tradition of the Beltiug wines continues today, with the founding of the Nachbil Winery in 1999. This occurred after the return of the Brutler family from Germany (this time a “repatriation of the Swabian/Schwaben”) by planting red and white grape varieties. The project was thoroughly planned, on a total surface of almost 25 hectares.
The wines are created by Johann and Edgar Brutler, father-son, with respect, dedication, and love for grapevines, using the technological element to a minimum degree. The white wines are fruity, with high acidity and velvety texture, the rosé is delicious and elegant, whereas the red wines are full-bodied, flavorful, and extractive with a long and aromatic aftertaste. And so, step by step, Nachbil contributes every day, like a puzzle piece, in rewriting the story of this region.