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Romanian Wine Guide 2024

The Romanian wine industry is on the rise, with 15% growth year on year in 2023 and over 50 new wineries certified in the past ten months. In this article, I take a look at what makes Romanian wine great, and give you my top five recommendations.

Romania has one of the oldest wine-producing cultures in Europe, it was shaped by the Romans, and then the monasteries and subsequently influenced by the French.

Wine production in the region that is now modern Romania dates back to ancient times when the Greeks brought grapevines to the country via the Black Sea between 600-500 BC. These vineyards were located in present-day Dobrogea and were used by the Romans during their occupation.

The Romanian climate is distinctly warm but is moderated and cooled by the coastal breeze coming off the Black Sea. Generally, dry climates provide more suitable conditions for organic farming, meaning many winemakers in Romania have taken up natural wine making practices.

The 37 wine-growing regions of Romania represent about 191,000 hectares of vineyards, and include both the well-known wine grape varieties and local varieties.

Today, the Romanian wine industry has a clear focus on quality and integration with European standards and is rising through the ranks. With 15% growth year on year in 2023 and over 50 new wineries certified in the past ten months, this brings the number of local wineries which can produce wines with Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) to 473.

Romania produces a range of wines, including both red and white varieties. Traditional Romanian grape varieties like Fetească Neagră (red) and Fetească Albă (white) are enjoyed, along with internationally grown grape varieties like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

So, is Romanian wine any good? Yes, absolutely. Romanian wines enjoyed a breakthrough year at the 2023 Winelovers Wine Awards, with nine gold medals, 27 silver, and seven bronze, as well as three ‘Best of’ awards going to Romanian producers. Both local varieties and internationally grown varieties are incredibly good quality and value for money. In particular, Romanian wines in the £8-£10 price band offer exceptional value for money compared with wines from other countries at this price point.

You can find good Romanian wines in most supermarkets that offer an eastern Europe section. It doesn’t usually have its own section, sadly, however M&S offers a really excellent range, and Aldi, Morisons, and Asda all carry Romanian wines.

Our Romanian wine recommendations for 2024:

Unsurprisingly, all of our top five Romanian wine picks are produced by Cramele Recas, Romania’s most successful winery. Cramele Recas was transformed by Englishman Philip Cox with wife Elvira who purchased the site in 1988 from state ownership as Romania moved away from communism. Philip and Elvira have invested time and money into developing a dynamic winery with vineyards growing both native and international grape varieties. They are now supported by Viticulture power couple Hartley Smithers and Nora Iriate. The aim is to apply the best production methods to every wine, preserving the quality of the grapes and consistency of the liquid. 

1. Umbrele Merlot - Buy now for £9.99

Our first top pick is their moreish, easy drinking style Umbrele Merlot, which offers exceptional value for money. Medium bodied, this wine is still full of jammy fruit flavours and even a hint of dark chocolate.

2. Paparuda Feteasca Neagra Red

This delicious wine highlights a local, native red grape variety and shows it off with a warming palate of red berries, dark cherries, and plums.

3. Paparuda Feteasca Regala White

Again, highlighting a local, native grape variety (this time white), this juicy, light, and vibrant wine offers notes of crisp apple and pear fruit, and a hint of grapefruit.

4. Lautarul Pinot Noir - Buy now for £9.99

Lautarul Pinot Noir is soft and smooth, and is another bottle that offers great value for money. With atypical soft red fruits, and an enveloping, sensual lush structure, it just grows and grows in the glass.

5. Sanziana Pinot Grigio

This refreshing and vibrant wine proves that great Pinot Grigio doesn’t just come from Italy. Enjoy a delightful balance of crisp acidity and fruity flavours, showcasing hints of zesty lemon, juicy pear, and a touch of minerality. 

By Rick Stansfield

Rick is a highly experienced wine buyer and National E-Commerce Manager for Deckers Trading Ltd. With 18 years’ experience serving behind bars in restaurants, hotels, and function spaces, plus extensive experience with mixology, Rick provides both the wine knowledge and cocktail expertise here at Drinks Aisle.

Rick is known for his passion for sourcing new wines and bringing excellent value for money wines to market. He is level 2 WSET qualified and looking forward to taking the level 3 qualification very soon.