miercuri, 15 august 2012

Vrancea county, the paradise of the wine afficionados

I have a lot to tell you about the Vrancea County, lying on the arch of the Romanians Carpathians. There are a lot of myths and legends concerning this unique place, a lot of history and a lot of things to be discovered by you.
This is Vrancea County, with its legends and its wines! 

First of all, the district of Vrancea proudly counts 350 000 inhabitants ( also, not so many, counting also the surface of 5000 sqkm. Results an average of 70 people on sqkm). The relief of the district is a miniature copy of Romania, it is very well balanced between mountain, hills and plains (everyone contributes with 1/3). The soil is very fertile, making from Vrancea one of the most important agriculture area of Romania. With a very special mention for the hills of Vrancea, hosting the country's widest vineyard.
The vineyards are a major richness of Vrancea, and its economy relies on it
In Medium Age, the Moldavian Ruler Stephen the Great (a living legend in Romania), during one of his many battles against the Turks, fled and refugiated in Vrancea County. Here found a a helpful mother, Baba Vrancioaia, which gave all her seven sons to fight back and hit the enemies. Stephen ( 1457-1504) took the offer seriously, took the young sons and fought back. Returning triumphant, he showed his gratitude, saying : "There are seven mountains in Vrancea, and you are seven sons. Let this mountains be yours for ever, and everyone from you shall take one!".
The legendary Medium Age Ruler Stephen The Great is living even today in the popular tradition

The legend doesn't say anymore about the hills of Vrancea, which are much more attractive to me due to the huge vineyards. The economy of the district mainly relies on wine, there are many vineyards and many producers, very proud  of their wines, and very temperamental when it comes to them. There are little, medium and big producers, and everyone is happy receiving guests for tasting, harvesting and other occasions. In Focsani, Panciu, Odobesti are to find bigger companies for processing wines. My tip: go for a tasting first to a medium producer, and afterwards to a big one, in order to compare it. The medium one is friendlier, but the big one has more sorts of wine. And never forget the posibility to go wild on harvesting, which has just begun.
Wine tastings in Vrancea are not very expensive, but highly reommendable

Also in Medium Age is good to know, that there were 3 Romanian countries: Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia (The Romanian Country). The Vrancea County was on the intersection of all these provinces. The border between Moldavia and Wallachia was even in Focsani, and because if this fact we had two Focsani towns, one in Moldavia and one in Wallachia. This artificial border could not resist, it was maybe comparable with the situation of Berlin after WWII. When in 1859 Moldavia and Wallachia unified, there were some voices asking Focsani to be the Capital of the new founded Romania, but Bucharest was finally preferred. Now Bucharest hosts 2 Millions people, and Focsani is a province town with 70 000 inhabitants. This is history, but I can't help myself figuring the town Focsani where I live as the Romanian Capital!

There are many sorts of noble excellent wines in Vrancea, and is not an easy task to choice the best of them. The women would choice without any doubt The Champagne from Panciu as the best Romanian Wine. They could also prefer a desert wine, a Muscat Ottonel from Cotesti. But what would choice the males?

Well, many of them would prefer a red wine, e.g. Babeasca (The Old Maid wine), which is a rich, tasty, halfdry Red, recommended for accompanying meat and hunt. The Babeasca from Odobesti 2005 is really one of the Best Romanian Wines.

I have so many to tell you about the Vrancea County,its myths and legends, its wines, but I will spare your time for now. Maybe I will continue in a future post. Meanwhile, I wait for your comments and reservations.

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