Busuioaca de Bohotin- Roses and basil in a glass, just not so native
When I’ve started the series about native grapes in Romania, I made a list. I put every variety people would recommend as a “must try”, native grapes. Yet, as previously mentioned in the article about Tamaioasa Romaneasca, not all these are true Romanian grapes, they just got local names. This is also the case of the Busuioaca de Bohotin, a pink grape used only for roses. A rough translation means “the basil-scented” grape of Bohotin, which is a region in the east of Romania, close to the Republic of Moldova.
In fact, this is also a member of the Muscat family, coming from Greece as a mutation of the white variety, the Tamaioasa. It can be found under 72 other names including Muscat a Petits Grains Rouge, Moscato Violetto and many more. It is even called Tamaioasa de Bohotin, showing the connection to the Muscat family. The local name it got in Romania is heavily influenced by the orthodox practices since basil is considered a holy plant. The wine has a specific scent reminding of basil, but subtle.
Is Busuioaca de Bohotin for me?
If you play in the “rose all day team” and “drink pink” this is definitely the wine for you. I call this my to-go wine for a gossip with the girls and a great wine for beginners.
This lovely aromatic member of the Muscat family comes in a wide range of sugar levels to satisfy most wine lovers. It is best enjoyed lightly chilled, to allow the volatile components to express themselves.
The most notable aroma of all the wines created from this variety is that of English roses. You can also find lovely notes of freshly picked strawberries, other red berries, cantaloupe, orange zest, peaches and of course, basil and even incense. Tee best examples smell like perfume and make this wine the first choice of many ladies.
Usually vinified into semi-sweet or even sweet wines, it gets a kind of Provence elegance if fermented until it becomes dry.
Be warned that although there are excellent examples of this wine, sometimes you can find very questionable bottles. Although not fool-proof, the price is a good indicator of the quality. If you see a dirt cheap bottle (about 2 euros) on a shelf in Romania, don’t go for it, you might be disappointed. The better versions are just a tad more expensive, but so much better.
You’ll be a fan of Busuioaca if you already like
Zinfandel Rosé (White Zinfandel)
This is the most well known aromatic, usually off-dry or semi-sweet rose. Much like the Busuioaca de Bohotin, sometimes is too cheap to be good. Yet, it is highly popular especially for beginners in the wine world thanks to the residual sugar. Get this for the girl’s night out if you have your bachelorette party in Romania.
If you play for the little black dress, classy team, select a dry style from a premium line. You will find that refinement and crispiness delicately matched by a rose water aroma, orange peel and a bit of zestiness. You can also get a sparkling rose from Busuioaca to give your occasion a bit more glamour.
Food Pairings for Busuioaca de Bohotin
The rule of thumb when selecting food for this wine is to look at the sugar content.
The dry version is an excellent match for Mediterranean cuisine, like a seafood risotto or more delicate, soft foods with a bit of fat, including soft cheeses or pate (rose and pate).
The off-dry pairs well with foods made with millefeuille dough, like a Quiche Lorraine or Thai food. The sweeter versions are excellent companions for all types of fruit tarts, cheesecakes and other desserts, like even a creme brulee.
Since this is a wine from the Moldova region (not to be confused with the Republic of Moldova), I would recommend it with a traditional Moldavian appetizer pie, called “Poale-n brau” which roughly translates to “get your skirts up” because the dough is folded much like women would do with a long skirt when it gets in the way. Here is a video describing how to cook them.