DAVINO FLAMBOYANT – I was chatting over LinkedIn with my friend Adrian, a Romanian lawyer, who asked me why I have never written about Romanian wines. Well, I said, it’s because I haven’t come across any worth writing about. Well, HE said “next time I am in London I will bring you a bottle and maybe you will” So he did and I am!
I must say that I have never been impressed with Romanian wines. Not that I have had many and my experience of them has mainly been limited to trying them at international wine fairs and most of them seem to cater for what the French would call grande surface – y’know supermarkets and the like.
The bottle that he brought me was a Davino Flamboyant 2011. The first thing you notice about it are the subtle nuances of ripe red summer fruit – blackberry, blueberry and even damson comes through supported by gentle tannins and a roundness which makes it an excellent food wine. The declared alcohol by volume of 14.6% is barely noticeable which points to the skill of the winemaker. It was an excellent accompaniment to the roast guinea fowl that we consumed. The fiche technique for the wine as described on the producer’s website reads thus:
“Produced through selective harvesting of grapes from the best parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Feteasca Neagra, with a vine average age of 37-40 years. The three varieties are processed separately. The grapes have been selected on a fixed sorting table and have been processed through a spared flux. A classic winemaking method has been used, on marc, in small stainless steel tanks, at 26-28°C. Cabernet Sauvignon – 29 days, Merlot – 23 days, Feteasca Neagra – 19 days. The malolactic fermentation in barriques has been completed immediately after the alcoholic one. 100% aged in small Romanian oak barrels as following: 88% new barrels, 12% at the second use cycle for 9 – 10 months. The final blend consists of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Feteasca Neagra from the best barrels. Bottle aging for a minimum of 30 months.”
A lovely wine, which I would rate 4 stars on the Wine behind the label rating guide, but at around £26/$40 in Romania (I don’t think it is exported but if it were, we are probably looking at £40/$60 in the UK or the USA which doesn’t actually make it a bargain. But there are many Cabernets and Merlots and Bordeaux-type blends of that quality and in that price range around the world, so there is nothing to be ashamed of here even if it may struggle against other of a similar price/quality ratio because of lack of familiarity. I would love to assess it in a blind tasting with similar wines from France, Italy or the New World and maybe one day the producer would seriously consider putting it in to a wine show, just to see how it would fare against its peers.
If there are more Romanian wines around of that quality – bring them on, Adrian!