Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vox Populi 2007 Pinot Noir Dealu Mare, Romania

And now for something completely different... a Pinot Noir from Romania.

We picked up this bottle of Vox Populi 2007 Pinot Noir from Anderson's for a meager $7.99. It was highly recommended by staff. I was in a rush to take in all of the bargains in the closeout section, which was stationed in the former area for Christmas decorations. I grabbed the nicely decorated bottle thinking that it was French.

When I opened it for an after-dinner glass with Green Dragon I did a doubletake and saw it was from Romania.

The Vox is very European with a light body and translucent color. It is light and interesting in the mouth with flavors of raisins mixed with berries. On its own, it was an OK wine.

We uncorked it again the following night to go with a scrumptious meal of lamb, grilled asparagus, and some country-style potatoes. Normally we would have had a heartier wine to pair with this meal, but the Romanian Pinot held its own. The food mellowed the wine allowing us to enjoy the delicate spirals of raspberry flavor we had missed the night before.

I must admit I previously knew nada about winemaking in Romania. Dealu Mare is a developing wine region. Almost all the wines produced there are red and about a third of the vineyards grow Pinot Noir. For geography buffs, the Dealu Mare area extends about 65 kilometers around the sub-Carpathian arch, ranging from Ploiesti to Buzau on the opposite side.

Apparently, Romania is one of the few places in the world that is well suited to Pinot Noir, which has always been a winemaker’s dream or nightmare. One of the Romanian websites I viewed quipped that Cabernet Sauvignon was made by God and Pinot Noir was made by the devil. But Pinot is also considered by some to be the most romantic wine and the height of the winemaker's art.

Pinot Noir vines are well-suited to the gentle slopes of the Carpathian hills which have a cool morning mist which gives this wine its unique flavors, aromas, and color. The bottle is also marked Domenii Franco-Romane, which indicates that the winegrowers there have been influenced by French winemaking tradition and methods.

Certainly worth checking out. I'll be on the look-out for other Romanian wines. They have a different approach and (at least based on Vox) are a good value.
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