Valahorum- Essence de Roumanie
What do you do when you’re already at Apogeum in the wine world, but you want more? You start to look for meaning, embracing traditions and looking for companions who share your vision. This is how the Valahorum project was born, a collaboration between three titans helped by others.
Valahorum, Essence de Roumanie was already the name of an award-winning white blend, created by the Tohani Domains. It inspired an entire concept based on elegance and experiments. Thus, the limited series will make way to a broader range including nine labels. These are born in two of Romania’s most representative wine-growing regions: Dealu Mare and Dragasani. Valahorum currently has seven labels which have been produced specially for this concept and two selected from the participating wine cellars.
The Holy Trinity of the Wine Cellars
Each of the founders of the Valahorum project is, essentially, a creator. They are creators of wines, concepts, and legends. The beauty of the project lies in the fact that they are winemakers at a maturity age, there is nothing left to prove, just to enjoy.
The Apogeum Wine Cellar, located on the former domain of Prince Nicholas, King Carol II’s brother, is the place where you can witnesses 8,000-year-old wine-making history unfolding in front of you. Like the old Georgians, here the team led by Virgil Mandru creates wine in huge amphorae, from burned clay reminding of qvevri. It is the only place in Romania where wine is fermented and matured just like in antiquity, stirring the desire to enjoy it at decadent banquets in honor of Bachus.
Conversely, the Drăgăşani Winery is the place that represents the modern facet of the project, the highly technological dimension, without being stripped of passion. Here Paolo Mennini, originally from Tuscany, was irremediably seduced not by the beauty of the Romanians, but more by the Negru of Drăgăşani grapes.
The favorite hiding spot of the alchemist Răzvan Macici is a small cellar from Dealu Mare called Mierla Albă co-owned with Daniel Dorneanu. In this charming place, they combine sun, water, and earth and make wine.
The Night of the Open Doors at the Valahorum Mansion
One night before the eve of Romania’s centenary, on November 29, the Valahorum Mansion, opened its doors for a few chosen ones to taste the secrets of Wallachia, carefully bottled under the supervision of Răzvan Macici. The “engine” of the project welcomed the audience by teleconference, as his creative genius was required in other hemispheres at that moment. The other promoters of the project mingled with the guests and took the pulse of the critics and praise.
A fresh, citric Chardonnay from this year’s harvest helped guests into the atmosphere. Spinning the glass a few times revealed notes of tropical fruits, pears, and vegetable hints. There is also a slight vanilla tinge given by the percentage of wine fermented in old oak barrels. A remarkable minerality reminded of a Chablis. Although this wine was a delightful surprise, the red wines presented spoke more about the oenological skill.
Young and exuberant, the 2016 Feteasca Neagra is a wine which will show its real value in the years to come. The smell is delightful with typical aromas of dried plums and sour cherries, and the flavor is enriched with notes of spices and wood. The acidity-tannin structure certifies the potential of the wine.
Another wine which impressed the specialized audience with intense notes of fresh black fruits was Negru de Dragăşani selected from Paolo Mennini’s wine cellar. It is worth noting that this wine was not touched by oak so that it preserves the entire expression of the grape.
Particularly appreciated were the Merlot and Shiraz, regarded by guests as having stylish notes and a long aftertaste. These details show the care of the winemaker for quality.
The evening’s star served in the Apogeum wine cellar among the amphorae where it was born, was the homonymous wine, produced in 2015. The general appreciation was that it was strong, intense, with extremely stylish notes of spices, and that it would outperform the 2014 vintage. Some passionate enthusiasts said it was very close to Apogeum year 1 (vintage of 2011).
What does Essence de Roumanie mean?
The organizers have suggested to the participants, not by chance, that they should wear something inspired by the Romanian heritage. In this globalized world, we cannot keep the entire legacy. We will have to add modern elements, and some borrowed from others. Similarly, in the wine world, we borrow methods, grow foreign grape varieties. We “adopt” the best international winemakers or let ours go abroad in search of inspiration. Yet, we have to preserve the essences, to put a splash of our own, let the terroir give some flavor even to fusion creations.