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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.

Novac

This recent Romanian cross is difficult to handle, but it can produce fresh, lively wines.

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
Novac is a recent Negru Vîrtos x SAPERAVI cross obtained in 1987 by Mircea Mărculescu at the SCPVV research center in Drăgășani, southwest Romania, in which Negru Vîrtos (‘vigorous black’) is an old Romanian variety no longer cultivated. Novac may be closely related to NEGRU DE DRĂGĂȘANI .

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Vigorous, productive, mid-ripening, generally difficult to grow because it is sensitive to rain and susceptible to fungal diseases, and has a short harvest window. Compact bunches of thin-skinned berries.

WHERE IT’S GROWN AND WHAT ITS WINE TASTES LIKE
Novac is not only difficult in the vineyard but also in the winery, where the dark-fruit aromas may be lost, which is probably why Prince Stirbey is currently the only producer of a varietal wine. Novac is usually blended with local or international varieties to give it more body, like in Nedeea assemblage made by Vinarte. On its own, it can be fresh, juicy and distinctly nervy thanks to its high acidity. Tannins are generally pretty soft unless bolstered by oak but it ages surprisingly well over a few years. There were 42 ha (104 acres) under Novac in 2008, in Oltenia in the southwest and in Romania’s Moldova in the northeast.

Galbenă de Odobești

A gradually declining Romanian variety, which produces everyday whites.

MAIN SYNONYMS: Bucium de Poamă Galbenă, Galbenă de Căpătanu, Galbenă Grasă, Galbenă Uriaşă, Poamă Galbenă.

VARIETIES COMMONLY MISTAKEN FOR GALBENĂ DE ODOBEȘTI: Narancsszolo (Hungary), ORANGETRAUBE (Germany)

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
An old variety, Galbenă de Odobești probably originated in Căpătanu, near Odobești, eastern Romania. At least three berry-colour variations have been described, suggesting that the variety is very old: Galbenă Măruntă (pale yellow), Galbenă Verde (yellow-green) and Galbenă Aurie (golden-yellow). Galbenă de Odobești is said to be morphologically similar to other obscure or almost extinct local varieties: Alb Romanesc, Berbecel, Cruciuliță, Batută Neagră, Cabasma Neagră, Cabasma Albă and ZGHIHARĂ DE HUȘI (Dejeu 2004).

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Mid- to late budding and late ripening. Compact bunches of thin-skinned berries. Very susceptible to botrytis bunch rot, downy and powdery mildews and drought. Winter-hardy to around -18 °C (-0.4 °F).

WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINE TASTES LIKE
During the Soviet era, Galbenă de Odobești was valued in Romania for its productivity rather than its quality and today it is still used mainly for bulk and/or blended wine, although Vincon Vrancea bottle a varietal version. Wines are light, highly acid and designed for early drinking. Total plantings in 2008 were 407 ha (1,006 acres), almost all in the southern half of Romania’s Moldova eastern region, down from 500 ha (1,236 acres) in 1995.

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.