The Winery: After a few years - make that a few decades - of writing about wine you think you've pretty much seen and/or tasted it all. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last year we featured a wine from this incredible winery, Casa Panciu, that not only had I never tasted, but never even heard of. It was fabulous.
Owner, Daniel Guzu, was born in Tifesti, the province in which his winery was founded. The history here is one of constant strife, political unrest and conflicts. Yet, will and determination keeps pushing winemakers to prove to the world that Romania is a wine force to be reckoned with.
The Region: Sagio is made from grapes grown in the Vrancea Mountains, almost at the border of Russia, and about about 150 miles west of the Black Sea. Though Romania makes more wine than California, it has been out of the spotlight, due to being part of the Soviet Union until 1989. Since 1989, scores of European and American firms have realized the potential here and have begun investing heavily.
One of the problems the Romanian wine industry faces is the grape varieties they grow. Not only are they totally unfamiliar to the rest of the world, they are also unpronounceable! So, like our Sagio, they are blending familiar grapes, like Cabernet, with their indigenous varietals like Feteasca Neagra, Romania's most respected red grape.
The Wine: Everybody knows Cabernet Sauvignon and its vaulted place on the wine blackboard. It is either part or all of the mix in many of the most revered and expensive wines made in the world. Most of you are probably not dying to try your next Feteasca Neagra, yet in Romania it is Cabernet that is the odd one! Feteasca Neagra is a lighter, more delicate grape similar to Cabernet Franc or Petite Verdot, two beloved grapes used in Bordeaux with Cabernet. Here it plays the same role and does as good a job as the French counterparts.
It's always difficult getting someone to try something new, something completely different, but that's what we like to do. Last years Casa Panciu was a huge hit. We're confident that this one will be a huge hit as well.
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