Local productsSaturday 11 March 2017

Cotnari wines, the liquid gold of Romania

Tradition. Refinement. Quality.

Grasa de Cotnari

On the hills of Moldavia under the mild autumn sun the grapes become gold and honey. Kissed by Dionysus himself, the blessed lands of Cotnari conceive in their bowels a magic liquor with the scent of wild flowers and fruity flavors. The Cotnari wine - a real diamond of Romanian wines - offers a touch of class to the Moldavian wine heritage.  

The Cotnari wine carries on its shoulders a long history. On Cotnari-Catalina hill, archaeologists’ excavations have unearthed a Geto-Thracian fortress of 5th century BC where they found traces of the cultivation of vines and vinification process.

The Cotnari vineyard knew a great development in the time of Peter ll, Stephen the great and Despot Voda, becoming famous throughout Europe, especially in the courts of Kings. Regarding Cotnari wine, the moldavian historian and scholar Dimitrie Cantemir (1673 -1723) wrote in his book Descriptio Moldavie: "and I would evaluate it as the best wine in Europe, surpassing even the wine Tokaji; because if someone holds it for three years in a deep cellar as we use in our country, in the fourth year fully captures the kind of alcoholic strength that burns like grappa. Even the greatest drunk, just drink three glasses and gets drunk; though the wine doesn't bring headaches and his bouquet distinguishes it from other wines because is green (fruity) and over time becomes greener”

          

During the 16th century, the mastery of the inhabitants in the production of quality wines had contributed to the development of Cotnari. Scholars such as Radu Rosetti and A.D Xenopol have attested the presence of vineyards in Cotnari before the Foundation of Moldavia.

The Cotnari vineyard is located on the eastern side of Dealu Mare (Hârlău) in Iassy Moldova, Romania. If in 1830 Cotnari held approximately 720 hectares of vineyard, in 1990 it had 2,000 hectares. Today the cultivation covers 1700 hectares, Cotnari becoming one of the most important wineries in the country.  Regarding the terroir, the Cotnari vineyard is on the same latitude with the famous French Champagne and Hungarian Tokaji, offering high quality wines through the optimal combination of climate, soil, topography and soil exposure.

To note is the fact that in Cotnari are produced only Romanian wines; the vineyard is dedicated exclusively to the cultivation of native varieties promoting in this way the old traditional varieties and making the most of this native grape varieties of old tradition: Grasa de Cotnari, Fetească Albă, Frâncușă, Tămâioasă Românească and more recently, Fetească Neagră and Busuioacă de Bohotin.

Grasa de Cotnari is considered the "King " of Cotnari vineyard - a wine with excellent  organoleptic qualities. We list here the most famous wines of Cotnari along with their descriptions taken from the official website of the House of Wines Cotnari:

Frâncuşă dry  - white wine "with vegetal aroma of ripe grapes, balanced and velvety taste, yellow-greenish colour " The semi-dry white wines Casa de Piatra and Cătălina - wines that impress through their Fruitiness and “the unique floral fragrance”

Fetească albă with semi-dry and sweet varieties – elegant white wine, "of high sophistication, golden yellow colour, typical bouquet of floral honey and grapes” Grasa de Cotnari - semi-sweet and sweet-aromatic white wines, "with a taste similar to that of walnuts, mixed with shades of raisins and almond " greenish yellow in the youth and golden after aging.

Grasa de Cotnari, sweet raisin wine, is considered a "jewel of Romanian winemaking”, the experts arguing that "the secret of this wine lies in the late harvest of grapes when the sugar content is at the peak of concentration mainly due to proliferation of the noble rot”.

Tămâioasă Românească sweet - aromatic white wine - "his incomparable bouquet combines aromas of basil and hay dried in the sun." Locals have named this variety also Busuioaca de Moldova.

Over time, the Cotnari wines (especially Grasa de Cotnari) have won numerous awards in national and international competitions. For years, the House of Wines Cotnari won gold and silver medals turning into what we call now a strong national brand that we are proud of and that represent us worldwide.

Ionela Chiru

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