Cuvinte despre vinuri incercate, degustari si evenimente, calatorii si retete
I have attended so far countless tastings, presentations, exhibitions, samplings and other wine-related events, throughout the years I’ve been flirting with wine and the wine industry. I have enjoyed my position as a participant, visitor, member of a tasting panel, blogger or mere guest; it allows me the freedom to set my desired degree of involvement (from pure hedonistinc enjoyment of the wines, to careful note-taking for a later article).
Last evening I have managed to „switch sides” so to speak, by fully organizing, coordinating and delivering a wine tasting, dal capo al fine. Of course, any new endeavor sets up new challenges and it is a great way to leave the comfort zone. It is one thing to sit comfortably with the tasting glass and note sheet in front of you, waiting for the helpful staff to pour the wine and provide lengthy answers to all questions. And it’s a totally different approach when trying to set up the wine list for the evening, match the wines with the snacks, replace any out-of-stock label, keep the whites at the right temperature while decanting the reds, provide appropriate glasses for each type of wine, and the other million details that need to be taken care of for a successful tasting.
Let me just start by saying that it was a successful tasting. And not just because I have delivered the wines, the speech and the answers.
The numerous questions, the lively conversation that sparked, the affirmative nods and the handshakes at the end have given me the warm feeling in my throat that I haven’t wasted two hours of my time. And neither the guests’ time.
Allright, self-praising being complete, let me give you the brief details of the tasting. The client was a large foreign company, having a two-days business meeting in Cluj, and they wanted an enjoyable way to spend a freezing evening, before going to dinner. Since a nice stroll in the park wasn’t an option, a wine tasting is always a good second alternative. Or first.
The tasting was hosted in the cozy ambiance of Bruno Wine Bar&Bistro: the location, the services and the helpfulness of the staff (and smiles too) recommend this place as a great venue to hold a 30-people tasting event. The schedule was set for an hour and half, basically from 6 to 7:20 PM. The time allowed me to serve five different wines -and I think this is an optimal setup: you can keep an alert pace of conversation, without overwhelming the guests. Since the majority of the guests were from abroad, the language of choice of the evening was naturally English; besides the introductory speech and wine descriptions, I gave also a small glimpse into the origins and history of Cluj-Napoca.
My (self-imposed) challenge was to serve only wines from native Romanian grapes, and from different producers (not having two labels from the same winery. Moreover, I wanted the guests to take a tour through whites, rose, reds and dessert wines. To add even more spice to the challenge, I aimed for labels that are not too obscure (so to speak), meaning that there is a chance to find them in the duty-free shop at the airport. It sounds easier said than done, since I had to go through four different versions of wine lists, constantly altering and switching wines (keeping in mind the stock of the wine bar too, and the availability of some labels).
The satisfactory final list was the following:
The white and rose were served chilled; the reds were both opened almost two hourse before, and
Novac was poored into decanters for further aeration; the demi-sweet Busuioaca was kept in the fringe just minutes until the serving moment. By far the wine that has received the most appreciations was Novac 2010 from Prince Stirbey -I quote: ‘the kind of wine I would gladly give up my dinner for” or „why you Romanians are keeping it all for yourselves?”. The Feteasca Regala Sole was also noticed for its flavourful nose and good acidity; when I served Busuioaca, a moment of silence fell upon the gathering, since everyone had the nose stuck inside the glasses, sniffing the delicate aromas…
With this selection of wines, I think I have managed to achieve a glimpse into Romanian grapes, highlight different wine making techniques, discuss various wine regions ..and have an agreeable evening.