luni, 30 iulie 2012

When the wine gets older

The wine is very similar to a human being: it is born, grows up, gets older and then vanishes (usually when someone drinks it! That's why a wine doesn't die; exception are the sick destroyed wines.)
Supposing now that you have the wine, after all those adventures I described in another post. First of all, the wine forms itself ; this lasts after the end of the fermentation until the first filtration. Now someone with skills can already feel the wine and all its incipient  properties.

After that comes the maturation, made whether in big vessels, or much better and more traditional in oak. Now you got the bouquet, that subtle property of the wine, which is a combination between smell and taste and draws the boundary between an ordinary and a premium wine.

The degradation phase of the wine begins when the wine is at the peak of its properties, and afterwards it starts to lose them. Scientifically and statistically proven, the reds best aging and keeping period lasts between 8 and 20 years; sometimes even more (e.g. Cabernet). For the white wine, this period lasts between 4 and 18 years. Some wines, even good wines, are not so happy to celebrate such a long life. You can find in Romania some excellent old wines by the different producers, or from the personal collection of former communist ruler Nicolae Ceausescu.

When you've got the must, the oenology starts. This a science, or an art, or both, and tries to make the perfect wine you are used to drink. It is not easy, it is a very special and noble science, has many secrets and  tricks, and requires knowledge and experience. There methods and tricks for accelerating the maturation; there are special methods of preserving the wines. In the start up phase of your vineyard hire a consultant (oenologist) if you have the slightest doubts about the process. It is cheaper than doing some ireversible mistakes!

The basics: don't allow the wine to stay in extreme heat, and don't allow the vessels to be only partial full, due to evaporation and other causes. Further, there are methods of conditioning the wines  and methods to avoid the possible diseases of the wines ( most of them produced by fungi or different substances going in some unwanted reactions).

I don't wish to make the wine tasting much more complicated than in the real life, but I only thinked that some knowledge will help you to understand better and faster what happens when you rise and drink a glass of wine, and how many work is hiding behind that glass of wine! But tasting and enjoying the good wines is also a tribute for all these contributors. Now I will make a decision, based on your comments and feedback: whether I will go further and deeper with the technical sophisticated part, or better concentrate on wine tasting and Romania ( as Romania has also some other attractions than wine tours). 

joi, 26 iulie 2012

How to produce a good wine and how to keep it right

You like wine, don't you? I love them too, that's why we are here as wine afficionados, as I like to repeat! At least in this point we all agree!
The grape, if you allow me

First of all, may be you are not sufficiently aware that wine, different from other alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks, is a living organism. If you are very aware while tasting or drinking wine, you can observe it. Watch it in the glass, it breathes. Smell it, taste it, enjoy it, it is really necessary to do so if you wanna get the best from your wine.

Did you ask probably more that once what makes a good wine ? The soil, the climate, the sortiment, the way of cutting the plantation. Everything counts, for sure, and here in Romania we have the best conditions for making some excellent wines. If you wish to set up your own vineyard, bear in mind some facts: you got the best grapes in the vineyards with an yearly average temperature of  more 10 degrees Celsius, with 1500 hours of sun exposure and rain fall of 400-600 liters per quadrat meters.

Further, the agricultural works play an important role. There are works on the ground, as also works on the vine; fighting diseases; harvesting at the right moment etc.

Still interested to set up a vineyard or to get one (for Romania I can get you some information) ? If yes, go to the point: you have the grapes, you must press them now (supposing, just supposing). You can still give up and buy o bottle of good Romanian wine, as you can find it in many places on Earth.(Berlin, Paris, Manchester to name just a few, ask me further if you want.).
This feeder helps crushing the membranes

Nevertheless, nothing compares with making and marketing your own wine, so let's go further! From 1 kg grapes you will get 0,7-0,8 litres of must. 60 % of it will flow almost naturally, and the rest on the press. There is a huge difference between the white and the red wine. For the white, you must separate the grape from its bunch and membranes; on the contrary, for the big Reds you need a good color and a strong flavor. You can get them by crushing first the grapes and allowing them a short fermentation of 2-3 days, without separation of the bunches or the membranes.

We will continue next time our adventure in the world of wine. The best, come in September to Romania and take part to    the new crop and you will understand more.

duminică, 22 iulie 2012

A short history of the wine in Romania

        Raising grapes in vineyards is an old occupation of the mankind, broadly speaking. The old Chaldeans. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans raised grapes and were very aware about making wine, which represented an important asset for every country. Also, the Dacs, ancient inhabitants of the today Romania, had a special taste and tradition for wine. The vineyards represented for sure one of their  most important riches! They used to drink wine in ox horn, or even from human heads. During the Big King Burebista, he took the decision to destroy all the vineyards, being consulted by the big Priest Deceneu. The explanations are quite simple: on one hand, the vineyards made Dacia very atractive for migrants and Romans; on the other hand, the wine drunk with no measure made the Dacs lazzier!

        Nevertheless, when the Romans came to Dacia and conquered it, they found huge vineyards! The Romans brought in Dacia new grapes sortiments, as new methods of cut and wine manufacturing. Afterwards, in the coming centuries, the grapes and the wine represented a main occupations of the locals. Raising grapes never stopped in Romania up to now, neither during the Othoman occupation. The Romanian grapes and wine were very well known in all Europe, and local vineyards from Dragasani, Cotnari, Odobesti, Dealul Mare, Mufatlar, Cotesti very appreciated. I insert  here a contemporary  map of the Romanian vineyards, for your information; the location of the vineyards has not significantly changed since centuries, and you can observe them on the map.

         As you can see, there are many vineyards in Romania, a lot of wine to drink. There are white, red, black and roze wines; there are sweet desert wines, dry or medium dry wines, and there are also budget or premium wines. As you know already, I organize trips to one or more of these vineyards. These wine tours last from 3-4 days to two weeks, for a complet wine tour of Romania.

        About drinking wine, the opinions are divided. Some doctors don't allow any drop of wine! Nevertheless, it has been clinically proved, that the daily consumption of 1-2 glasses of wine makes the life longer (and much nicer, don't forget!). The ancient Greek doctor Hipocrates used to say, that "the wine is a wonderful balanced drink for any man, health or ill, but only if  administrated at the right time and according to individual constitution".

        Nowadays, Romania proudly counts 300 000 hectars of vineyards, being among the first 10 wine producers worldwide. Bellow a more detailed map, choose your favorite vineyard! Further is so simple, tell me about your taste preferences, and we can organize something for sure.
Romanian Vineyards which you can visit!

sâmbătă, 21 iulie 2012

The new crop, the young wine

Every year, the new grapes crop is a fiesta. The people work hard, so hard in the vineyards from morning until evening, and believe me, it is really a hard work! Nevertheless, they find the necessary energy in the late evening for singing, dancing, drinking must ( young wine) and eating.

It is really amazing to see on their faces a magic shine, the shine of an accomplished duty. And is also amazing to observe these people during their celebrations in the late evening. They don't bother to think to the next day, when they are going to work again very hard (and the other days too, the vintage lasts 1-2 months). Finding this energy is totally a mystery, and is due maybe to the wine( did you observe that under certain circumstances the wine acts similarily with the coffee?). Would you like facing this challenge? Tell me if  you would, we can arrange and organize it.

And keep in mind that you must be very fit, in the best shape if you really wanna take part! There are nevertheless some interesting rewards: money (20 euros daily) and three meals as a bonus. Much more important, the feeling of being very useful, and the opportunity to taste the new wine (must), the old wine and to combine them. The possibilities of having contact with the locals is also to be mentioned.

The local favorite meal for pairing with the must is the smoked sheep. This combination is for long runners indeed, tastes really fantastic, but you need a strong stomach. The next day you are going to drink only water (or tea, even better!) and most probably you won't be able to work. But two or three days with this diet, your training is completed and the locals will adopt you for sure.

joi, 5 iulie 2012

How to taste the young wine

The new young wine, also named must, is quite special. Not yet wine, but very close to it. Very unstable, like a baby; as it grows and matures, many diseases can hurt it.

The young wine diet, paired with the grapes diet, is very healthy as the young wine is so rich on antioxydants.  Actually, is one of the best naturally known antioxydants, and I can warmly recommend it to you. But you need only to take some precautions: the combination between must and grapes is an efficient purgative, you need a trained stomach! Not everyone can respect it. Be aware of it, and and don't exceed your personal limit.

Start your diet with no more than a glass of young wine to every meal, associated with one half kilo grape daily. After one week, if no side effects appear, you may increase the over mentioned amount.The best time and place for this special diet is of course, a vineyard by harvesting grapes (in Romania it starts in the middle of August and lasts until the end of October. I can even give you a secret tip: take part to the harvesting (grapes picking). May be not like a local peasant who is payed for it ( it is hard work, believe me! I have done it for many years. You need to be very fit if you want to do it!), but at least I strongly recommend you to live in a vineyard one or two weeks.I can organize it, for sure.

It is really spoiling your senses. The leaves change their color, and make the sight very spectacular. The smell  and taste are  also spoiled because of the grapes, the young wine, or the older wines (don't forget, you are in a vineyard, and every farmer is very proud about the qualities of his products. And is very pleased sharing them with you, this is really hospitality I'd say).

After this trip you will be surely richer (not at all because the money you can earn,Sir!) but because that spectacular atmosphere and the benefits for your health. Simply an experience you may not lose or refuse.