Cramele Recas, Romania’s largest winery, has just launched its new label, Solevari with the goal of selling more value premium wine globally in 2019.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cramele Recas, they are Romania’s largest exporter of bottled wine and sell over 2 million bottles a year in the UK alone. In 2016 they produced a total of 13 million bottles for their own domestic market as well as for export. This year, Recas has produced some 9 million litres of wine, and what I particularly like about this wine producer is the fact that all their wines are made using vegan practices, with he ultimate aim of producing all their wine more naturally.
The Solevari label currently includes a premium Pinot Noir and Syrah, the former of which I put to the test with a variety of dishes. 2019 will see a Romanian Fetească Neagră come under the label, which I also look forward to trying.
Solevari Pinot Noir
Fortunately, the local climate conditions in Romania help to give this Pinot Noir a real depth in flavour, as the thin-skinned Pinot Noir grape is rather rot prone and notoriously difficult to make. However, the making of this particular 2017 Solevari Pinot Noir was surprisingly straightforward as the skins were worked ever so slightly to get a soft tannins and sweet fruit. Oak is used to balance the flavour intensity and the wine was bottles early to help retain its freshness, which certainly comes out when drinking it. This has resulted in a purple/red coloured wine that has a 13.5% alcohol level.
On the palate the wine is medium bodied and so goes well with a variety of dishes and not too heavy. I enjoyed a glass with equal pleasure paired with some pasta as well as a meat dish. The wine has an intense taste of red and black fruits, think blueberries, cranberries and cherries, and a pleasant tannins and spicy finish to it.
Syrah grapes have a tendency to over crop, leading to rather thin wines if not monitored carefully and controlled. The way they combat this at Cramele Recas is by removing a portion of the grapes soon after they flower but before the vine starts to swell into grapes. The remaining grapes are then fully ripened to ensure maximum flavour and a deep colour. Once picked, the winery preserves the grapes’ flavour by keeping the wines open and agreeable. You will find a high acidity in this Syrah at 4.9g/l and on tasting, it has floral aromas of violets with a medium body and young ripe tannins.
British owner, Philip Cox is spearheading the first step in a new direction for Cramele Recas of selling more value added premium wine around the world and the Solevari label reflects this goal well.
If you would like to get your hands on a bottle or two and try them for yourself, both the Pinot Noir and Syrah are available from £11.99 a bottle through Virgin Wines in the UK as well as via the Alliance Wines website.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Cramele Recas and by Simon Burrell