Oct 5th-Feteascӑ Albӑ

Romanian wines are not easy to come by because the country retains over 90% for domestic consumption. The exported portion largely stays within Europe. Only about 0.4% of the total production will make it to the US. Knowing this, when I was at the local wine shop and the owner said he had a bottle of Romanian wine, I jumped at the chance to try it! Feteascӑ Albӑ (meaning young girl’s wine), is an ancient white grape variety predominantly grown in the region previously known as Moldavia, which is now split between the country of Moldova and the Moldova region of Romania. Since it is October, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the plantings spread to Transylvania (home of Vlad the Conqueror, Vlad the Impaler, and Vlad Dracula, all the same notoriously evil person who earned each of these monikers) prior to making its way to Hungary. Today, plantings of this grape can be found in Ukraine, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania. Within Romania, it accounts for over 10% of land under vine, second to Feteascӑ Regalӑ. It can be made into dry still wines, as well as sparkling and dessert wines. 

The wine I selected was a 2018 Maria Feteascӑ Albӑ from Jidvei Winery in Tarnave DOC, on the Transylvanian Plateau. It was named Maria after the winery owner’s daughter. This pale green to lemon wine had watery legs. Floral aromatics were evident upon pouring my glass but were not overpowering. Scents of gardenia, jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossoms were joined with green apple, ripe pear and fresh hay. I was surprised by the medium body and the level of acid that was present without being austere. It had a moderate level of alcohol and was bone dry but had a note of honey that might lead some to believe it was leaning in the off dry direction. On the front palate, the wine began with honeysuckle, white grapefruit juice, green apple and ripe pear. On the mid palate, a beeswax note made an appearance. All of these flavors then evolved to a grapefruit pith, lime skin and under ripe green apple on the finish. I was pleasantly surprised by this bottle, as I had no idea what to expect but found the heavier texture perfect for these crisp fall evenings. This wine would pair wonderfully with some great dishes for the season like white fish topped with a fruit salsa, traditional fondue, or a saffron bouillabaisse. 


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