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Zghihară de Huși

This old Romanian variety produces crisp, easy-drinking whites.

MAIN SYNONYMS: Ghihară, Poama Zosănească, Sghigardă Galbenă, Zghihară, Zghihară Galbena, Zghihară Verde Batută

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
As suggested by its name, Zghihară de Huși probably comes from the region of Huși in Romania’s Eastern region of Moldova, where it was known long before phylloxera hit the country at the end of the 19th century and where it still shows a high level of morphological diversity (Galet 2000). It has often been considered to be a selection of GALBENĂ DE ODOBEȘTI (Dejeu 2004) but this hypothesis has not yet been tested by DNA profiling.

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Vigorous, early to mid budding, mid to late ripening. Medium-sized, thin-skinned berries. Susceptible to downy mildew and botrytis bunch rot. Resistant to downy mildew and drought and some resistance to cold winter temperatures.

WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINE TASTES LIKE
Zghihara de Husi wines are very fresh, relatively neutral, with light notes of apple or pear, sometimes lightly acacia-scented and designed for early drinking, although they can be quite strong. Senator and Domeniile Avereşti are two of the very few producers of varietal wines. There were 95 ha (235 acres) in 2008, all in the Huși region in Romania’s far east, close to the border with the Republic of Moldova, but some were for home winemaking. It is also used to make brandy.

Fetească Neagră

The red-wine Fetească is a resurgent Moldovan variety, producing good-quality wine mainly in Romania.

MAIN SYNONYMS:

Coada Rândunicii (Romania, Republic of Moldova), Fetyaska Chernaya (Ukraine), Păsărească Neagră (Republic of Moldova), Poama Fetei Negre (Republic of Moldova), Schwarze Madchentraube (Romania).

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE 

Fetească Neagră, literally ‘black young girl’, is an old variety thought to have originated in the historical region of Moldova (including today’s Republic of Moldova and Romania’s eastern Moldova region), where it has been traditionally cultivated. Ot then spread  west to Transylvania and Hungary. Contrary to Roy-Chevrier’s (1903a) hypothesis, Fetească Neagră is not a colour mutation of FETEASCĂ ALBĂ, as evidenced by DNA profiling (Ghețea et al. 2010). Fetească Neagră shows significant biodiversity, with at least four distinct types (Dejeu 2004), suggesting it is relatively old.

OTHER HYPOTHESES

Like FETEASCĂ ALBĂ, Fetească Neagră has often been said to have been domesticated from local wild grapevines by the Dacians but there is no evidence so far.

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS

Very vigorous, mid budding and mid to late ripening. Compact bunches of thick-skinned berries. Resistant to drought, cold winter temperatures (to -22 °C/-8 °F) and botrytis bunch rot but susceptible to powdery mildew.

 

WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINES TASTE LIKE

Fetească Neagră is indigenous to what is now the Republic of Moldova. However, it was not planted during the Soviet era and it more or less disappeared. Nevertheless, producers such as Cricova, Equinox, Et Cetera, Purcari and Chateau Vartely began replanting the variety in the late 2000s.

Fetească Neagră produces some of the Romania’s best reds from the 1,088 ha (2,689 acres) planted mostly in the eastern Moldova region in and in Muntenia in the south. They are typically dry and full-bodied with intense, complex spicy aromas, both red and black fruit, especially ripe plums, and tannins that become velvety as they age. The variety has some similarity to BLAUFRANKISCH and can easily be over-oaked. Some semi-sweet and sweet wines are also produced, particularly for the domestic market. Recommended producers include Alira, Aurelia Vişinescu Wines, Balla Géza Winery, Budureasca, Casa de Vinuri Cotnari, Corcova Roy & Dâmboviceanu, Crama Gîrboiu, Crama Oprişor, Davino, Liliac, Nachbil, Petro Vaselo, SERVE, Viile Metamorfosis, Vinarte, Viile Metamorfosis.

Ukraine’s official vineyard statistics record approximately 1,600 ha (3,954 acres) in 2009 but they do not distinguish between the various varieties of Fetească.

Fetească Albă

This variety is the second-most planted Fetească, even more important in Romania than its Moldova birthplace.

MAIN SYNONYMS: Dievcie Hrozno (Slovakia), Fetiasca Belii (Russia, Ukraine), Fetișoară (Republic of Moldova, Romania) Fetyaska Alba (Ukraine), Madchentraube (Hungary), Păsărească Albă (Republic of Moldova, Romania), Poamă Fetei Albă (Republic of Moldova), Văratic (Republic of Moldova).

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
Fetească Albă literally means “white young girl”. It is an old variety with probable origins in the historic region of Moldova (including today’s Republic of Moldova and Romania’s eastern region of Moldova), where it has been cultivated traditionally. It has then spread west to Transilvania and Hungary. Fetească Albă is genetically close to other varietes from Moldova such as GRASĂ DE COTNARI.
According to Dejeu (2004), Fetească Albă was obtained from (not clear if a clone or a descendant) FETEASCA NEAGRĂ in historic Moldova between the 3rd and 13th centuries A.D. Recent studies suggest that they are morphologically and genetically close (Bodea et al. 2009), but the comparison of the DNA profiles of Fetească Albă and Fetească Neagră in Ghețea et al. (2010) tends to disprove any parent-offspring relationship (Vouillamoz).
The Hungarian variety LEANYKA is thought to be identical to Fetească Albă (Galet 2000; Rohaly et al. 2003) but comparison of their DNA profiles (Galbacs et al. 2009; Ghetea et al. 2010) disproves this hypothesis (Vouillamoz).

OTHER HYPOTHESES
Like FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ, Fetească Albă has often been said to have been directly domesticated by the Dacians from local wild grapevines but there is no evidence so far.

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Vigorous, early budding, mid ripening. Small, compact bunches of small, thin-skinned berries.
Susceptible to downy and powdery mildews, botrytis bunch rot and mites but resistant to cold winter temperatures (to -20 °C/-4 °F).

WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINES TASTE LIKE
The Republic of Moldova’s 4,334 ha (10,710 acres) of Fetească Albă are in the centre and south of the country, producing wines with medium acidity, floral and citrus flavours, often used to make sparkling wines. Recommended producers include Chateau Vartely.

Fetească Albă is even more important in neighbouring Romania, where there were 10,529 ha (26,018 acres) in 2008, more than 10% of the total area under vineyards and second only to FETEASCA REGALA. It is spread throughout most of the wine regions but the greatest concentrations are in Transylvania in the centre of the country and in Romania’s Moldova to the east. Wines, both still and sparkling, are generally dry or medium dry but some excellent sweet, still versions, alone or blended with GRASĂ DE COTNARI and other local varieties, are produced in Cotnari in the far northeast. Styles of wine vary considerably but dry wines are typically more full-bodied than Feteasca Regala and combine citrus and light peach or apricot flavours. Vines planted in the south often produce wines lacking in acidity. Producers of varietal wines include SERVEAurelia Vişinescu Wines, DavinoCrama GîrboiuCasa de Vinuri Cotnari, Liliac, Budureasca, or Viile Metamorfosis.
The variety is said to be planted in Hungary but this may be due to the common but incorrect belief that Fetească Albă and LEANYKA are one and the same variety. Ukraine’s official vineyard statistics recorded approximately 1,600 ha (3,954 acres) in 2009 but they do not distinguish between the various varieties of Fetească.

Băbească Neagră

A Romanian variety of high acidity, producing fairy light reds.

PRINCIPAL SYNONYMS: Asil Kara (Daghestan), Băbească, Căldărușă, Chernyi Redkii (Ukraine), Crăcană, Crăcănată, Poamă Rară Neagră (Republic of Moldova), Rărăneagră or Rară Neagră (Republic of Moldova), Răschirată, Rastriopa (Republic of Moldova), Serecsia Ciornaia (Republic of Moldova), Sereksia (Ukraine), Sereksiya (US)

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
This is a very old Romanian variety, Băbească Neagră literally meaning ‘grandmother’s black.’ It most likely originated in the Nicorești vineyards in the county of Galați in the Romanian region of Moldova, bordering on Ukraine, where it was allegedly mentioned in documents as early as the 14th century and where it still shows significant intravarietal diversity (an indication of its age), including colour mutations with white (Băbească Albă) and green-grey or pink berries (Băbească Gri) (Dejeu 2004).

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Vigorous, mid budding, late ripening. Prone to millerandage, especially if yields are high. Medium-sized to large loose bunches of thin-skinned berries. Susceptible to botrytis bunch rot, powdery and downy mildews and drought but resistant to winter frosts (to -18 °C/-o.4 °F).

WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINES TASTE LIKE
Wines are typically high in acidity, not very deeply coloured, with red-fruit flavours, mostly sour cherry. In Romania, it was grown on 4,516 ha (11,159 acres) in 2008, meaning it was quite widely planted but with the majority in Galați in the east. Most wines are ordinary and consumed locally but some higher-quality wines come from Nicorești and Odobești, the former giving its name to an appellation for this variety. Senator are unusual in producing a more serious varietal wine from the sandy terraces north of the Danube in the far south of the country. Senator have just a few hectares of the pink-berried Grey Băbească in Huși in the far east of Romania and make a clean, very fresh white wine with mineral rather than fruit flavours and a note of lime on the finish.

The Republic of Moldova had 80 ha (198 acres) of Rară Neagră in 2009. Recommended producers include Dionysos Mereni. According to Galet (2000), also planted in Ukraine.