Historically a Latin country with a strong French influence, Romania knows how to make great wine. Their soft, fruity Pinot Noirs began to cause a stir in the 1990s, but it can be tricky to find the best offerings, given the fact that the Romanians drink most of their wine themselves - 95% of it, in fact!
Most Romanian wine is white (70%), from local grapes. Feteasca Regala makes good sparkling wines. Tamaioasa Romaneasca is the perfumed "frankincense" grape. And Grasa is used for the famous sweet wines of Cotnari.
But red grapes are making a serious return to form. Babeasca Neagra makes sassy light fruity wines, and Feteasca Neagra (the 'maiden grape') is known these days as the "great red hope" - it's the grape that the Romanians think will put their country on the wine map again.
Romania's vineyards curve around the central Carpathian mountains with those in the southeast getting fresh breezes from the nearby Black Sea. The waters of the River Danube (in the southwest) also influence the vines.
Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Merlot
Fiorenzo Rista, Stephen Bennett, Domaine Danubiane, Vinarte
Transylvania, Dealu Mare, Vanju Mare
- Romania's wine culture has been alive for over 4,000 years.
- Transylvania is a 460m plateau in the centre of the country. Its cool climate generates deliciously crisp dry white wines from Feteasca and Pinot Grigio grapes.
- The sweet wines of Cotnari once rivalled Hungary's Tokaji with their incredible intensity. They are made from Francusa and most important of all, Grasa grapes.