Dealurile Munteniei (in En. “Muntenia’s Hills”) G.I. is a wine region located in the Southern part of Romania within Buzău, Prahova, Argeş, Dâmboviţa and Olt counties. The region belongs to the Subcarpaţii de Curbură area and the grapevine plantations are located on the slopes and depressions of the hills. Also, the region is famous for the remarkable red wines, and also has very good potential for planting aromatic white varieties such as Muscat Ottonel or Tămâioasă Românească.
The origin of viticulture in the area of Dealurile Munteniei is very old, proof being the archaeological finds, ceramic pieces, and toponymy. One of the first mentions dates from the 4th century, when the Visigoth King Athanaric buried his famous treasure known as the “Cloşca cu puii de aur” (in En: “The Hen with Golden Chicks”) or “Tezaurul de la Pietroasa” (in En.:“The Piertroasele Thesaurus”). Later in the archives, there are several mentions from the 15th century on the locations where viticulture and winemaking were practiced like Bucov, Valea Călugărească, Ceptura, Urlaţi, and Tohani.
A moment that has helped the development of Dealurile Munteniei G.I. was the proximity to cities like Bucharest, Ploieşti and Buzău, which attracted many personalities and noble family from the 17th century to invest in wineries and cellars. A well-known example is of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714), who built in Tohani, a wine cellar, a mansion and a church as a stopover point en route to Moldova.
Viticulture has been a long time the principal activity of the dwellers of Dealurile Munteniei GI, which is why in 1893 the Pietroasa Viticultural Farm was established, in order to recover the vineyard after the invasion of phylloxera. Later, in 1924, near the Farm, was founded the Pietroasa Viticultural and Oenological Resort, a premiere in Romania.
Dealurile Munteniei region is famous for its excellent natural conditions (terroir) in grape vines growing:
- a temperate-continental climate with hot summers, long and dry autumns and short winters;
- reddish-brown soils along with red clay, marl and limestone-rich portions in some areas, abundant in iron oxide and calcium carbonate;
- altitude ranging between 137 and 550 meters;
- the vineyard exposure is predominantly southern, south-eastern and south-western;
- optimal sun exposure and rainfall.
In Dealurile Munteniei G.I., the white wines have intense aromas, full body, good balance and good acidity. And the red wines can be described as extractive, aromatic with an intense ruby color.
In the past years, a lot of high-standard wineries like SERVE, Davino, Aurelia Vişinescu or Viile Metamorfosis were established. This actually created a true revival of signature wines. Among the grape varieties that contributed to the reputation of the region, we can mention Fetească Albă, Tămâioasă Românească, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Fetească Neagră.
Located in Western Romania, in the Banat region at the border with Serbia, Recaş DOC (Designation of Origin) is the wine-growing area where, according to one of many legends, Bacchus, the God of Wine, was born. Viticulture, in this area, dates back to the Roman occupation of Banat. And in the historical documents, the Recaş Vineyard is officially mentioned for the first time in 1447. Over time, the “temptation” of the vines from Recaş DOC has “seduced” constantly the Swabian (Schwaben) population, Austrians, Hungarians, Serbs or Croats, which colonized the region precisely for its wine potential. The main reason, certainly, were the natural factors which have their contribution in achieving high-quality grapes for making aromatic, unctuous and smooth wines. In other words, terroir:
- temperate-continental climate with Mediterranean influences;
- the grapevines have an amphitheatre-like layout;
- clay soil, with sand and limestone areas and iron-rich portions;
- high altitude which varies between 170 and 220 meters.
These elements favor the making of a large variety of wines: red, rosé, white or sparkling wines that express the uniqueness of Recaş DOC. A region, which in 2002, “seduced” this time the Italian business person, Nello Dal Tio.
Curiously, he was lured precisely by the hills of the Petrovaselo village. The village had a population of 300 residents, many of them being Serbs. Its first mention dates from 1359, with the name of “Horvathpeturfalva” (“Peter’s Village Croatia“). The legend continues, saying that from the beginning, the village had been inhabited by four families of Serbs, led by Peter and Andrew. Clues to confirm this theory are provided by a document published in 1477, being the first mention of the village name – “Petrovo Selo” (“Peter’s Village“).
The vines from Petro Vaselo are biologically certified, using a “friendly” technique for soil and plants. That means no herbicides are used, but only manure and green fertilizer.
The vines are manually managed and treatments for diseases are reduced to a minimum. The same care is shown in winemaking, a reason why Petro Vaselo is a gravitational winery.
Petro Vaselo Winery’s starting point was planting vines during the 2005-2009 period. The place was chosen wisely, due to the excellent terroir elements of the Recaş DOC.
It’s the perfect example of a young winery in a continuous evolution, which, vintage by vintage, strengthens its own tradition and improves the classic taste of the Recaş DOC wines.
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.
Perhaps when you think about Romania, it is possible that the Miniş-Măderat Vineyard is not the first thing to come to mind. However, the wine area located in Arad, in the Western part of the country, deserves to be discovered, as well as the exceptional wines produced here. The vineyard is also where the Balla Géza Winery is located, where the owner and its winemaker, Balla Géza, revived the traditional varieties Mustoasă of Măderat and Cadarcă, giving them gentility and refinement.
Situated in a hillside area, in the Western part of the Zarand Mountains, the Miniş DOC area has all the terroir elements for growing white and red grape varieties, both local and international. Here, the climate is temperate-continental with Adriatic and Mediterranean influences, with long warm and dry autumns, which ensures a good ripening of the grapes.
Also, the soils are skeletal and rich in iron and micronutrients. The vines planted here have a predominantly Southern exposure, and in some places, they have Southwest and Southeast exposure. Thus, nature is proving to be, once again, generous with the vine, rewarding its consumers with extractive and aromatic wines with good ageing potential. Especially for red wines.
Naturally, a terroir with such potential could not be left unexploited over the centuries. The first known written historical evidence dates back from the early 11th century, when the first Queen of Hungary, Gizella, along with King Stephen donated “eight vines” to the Abbey of Bakanybel.
Subsequently, in the 12th and 13th centuries, viticulture and wine production are mentioned in the Catholic monasteries from Mocrea, Pâncota and Arad. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the production and trade of wine became the main source of income for local residents.
The year of 1744 was a moment of glory among the producers of Miniş-Măderat. Then was created a sweet red wine made from dried grapes of Cadarcă after the “Aszu” method, which was created by the Tokaji producers. To everyone’s surprise, the Romanian wine caused an overnight sensation, and soon became a favorite of the Habsburg Imperial Court.
Returning to the present, in the village of Păuliş, the founding of the Balla Géza Winery, in 1999, led to a fresh start in the Miniş-Măderat area. The project of the owner, winemaker, and professor Balla Géza reinstated the region on the wine map of Romania. An extraordinary merit, which gave the wine lovers the chance to finally associate the story of the place with the taste of the wines. Moreover, the ambition of the owner was to build a guesthouse around the winery, where wine, history, and travel enthusiasts could match the wines with local cuisine.
With an area of 105 hectares, the winery cultivates both local varieties and international ones, destined to produce a series of wines (white, rosé, red, frizzante and sparkling). Wines are included in several ranges and are designated to all wine consumers, regardless of taste, price or expectations. However, the common element that lies behind all of them is the typicity of the area, the aromatic and flavor spectrum, the balance and the long aftertaste.