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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.

Negru de Drăgășani

This recent Romanian cross has the potential to produce soft, fruity reds.

ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
Negru de Drăgășani, meaning ‘black from Drăgășani’, was originally called Negru Vîrtos x SAPERAVI, a cross obtained in 1993 by Mircea Mărculescu and Mircea Vlădăsel at the SCPVV research centre in Drăgășani, Southwest Romania, in which Negru Vîrtos (‘Vigorous black’) is an old, no longer cultivated Romanian variety. This would make Negru de Drăgășani a sibling of NOVAC. However, Saperavi’s DNA profile is not consistent with this parentage. In a recent genetic study (Bodea et al. 2009), Negru de Drăgășani appeared as closely related to Negru Vîrtos, Novac and Bătută Neagră, an old, no longer cultivated Romanian variety that could be Negru de Drăgășani’s other parent, but recent results from the Dragasani viticulture research centre suggest instead that the other parent could be BABEASCĂ NEAGRĂ (Ciprian Neascu, personal communication).

VITICULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
Vigorous, productive, mid-ripening. Loose bunches of thick-skinned berries. Not particularly susceptible to fungal diseases.

WHERE IT’S GROWN AND WHAT ITS WINE TASTES LIKE
The area planted to this variety is still very small (6 ha/15 acres in Romania in 2008) but it appears to be easier to grow and to have more potential than NOVAC. Wines are characterized by sweet, dark berry flavors, spices, and soft tannins. Recommended producers include  Vinarte or Viile Metamorfosis.

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.