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The eight-months long journey of the grape juice


Almost eights months ago, one fine early August morning, I was driving impatiently through the sleepy villages along the southern route to Dragasani region, for a meeting which turned to be spectacular -namely a grand tasting of German fine wines. Among other hedonistic pleasures, I had the opportunity to taste fresh must, from grapes picked only a day before.

colectie de sticle goale

o seara de degustare

The summer of 2012 will remain in Romanian winemaking records as one of the hottest ever, with temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius for several weeks in some regions. Resulting, the white grapes were picked mid-August, almost three weeks sooner than the year before, with sugar levels higher than in other years.

ciorchini de Cramposie

ciorchini de Cramposie

It is always a moment full of anticipation when tasting fresh must, brought directly from the winery’s tanks: the outlines of the future wine’s personality can be guessed by an experienced taster; it resembles a bit like having an routine test for pregnant women, seeing the fetus on the screen and guessing what is it dreaming about. I tasted back then the grape juice of four different grapes: Cramposie, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignonasse and Tamaioasa Romaneasca, from Prince Stirbey winery. It is likewise a special moment when tasting some time later the wine, freshly bottled, and compare it with the tasting notes of the must and imagine the journey.

must din diferite soiuri

must din diferite soiuri

I opened yesterday a bottle of Prince Stirbey Cramposie Selectionata 2012, trying to recall the mental notes from eight months ago. Well chilled, I found an unusually expressive and ripe wine. Paying tribute to the hot year, all flavors are enhanced, while being balanced by the typical mineral acidity. The nose displays flavors of pear, chamomile and hay, intense yet well balanced. In the mouth they are somewhat more restrained, and the vibrant acidity is much more obvious. It has a nice texture, zesty yet not too heavy, bringing some nice lemon-rind flavors in the aftertaste, as well as some bitter green olives. It is significantly different from the 2011 Cramposie, which was much more restrained and light.

Prince Stirbey 2012

Cramposie Selectionata 2012

I will anticipate a bit its evolution in the bottle (it still needs another month to be fully balanced) by saying that this wine will not only provide pure refreshing pleasure for hot summer evenings, but also it will be a great gastronomy wine. Due to its ripe and zesty flavors along with the good acidity, there is a whole range of dishes that could benefit for this pairing. I tried it along with some smoked cheese, ham and French mustard, and it is behaving very well even with these pungent flavors. A bonus point is that it behaves very well even at room temperature, without loosing its citrus notes, or becoming too heavy.

So my warmest recommendations go towards this wine and my advice is to always have some bottles in stock.

Stirbey Cramposie 2012

Cramposie si cas afumat

One comment on “The eight-months long journey of the grape juice

  1. Pingback: (Gl)amour de Dragasani | Vinul din Cluj

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This entry was posted on 24 Martie 2013 by in English and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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