Although Romanian grape growing dates back to at least 5,000 BC, the country’s wine industry has only really taken off over the past 30 years or so. Once Romania became a full member of the EU in 2007 a planting boom followed, with OIV data from 2019 suggesting Romania is Europe’s sixth largest wine producer, and the world’s 13th largest. In 2018, the country achieved its highest export volume and value in 11 years, marking three consecutive years of export growth.
Romanian wine is undergoing a renaissance, of sorts, and much of that success has been attributed to Cramele Recas. Founded by Bristol-born Philip Cox and his wife Elvira in 1998, the winery is currently Romania’s largest exporter and the biggest seller of premium wine in the country.
Replanting on ancient vines dating back to the 14th century, Cramele Recas now covers over 1,200 hectares of vineyard in the Banat region of Western Romania. To meet increasing customer demand, Cramele Recas works hard year-on-year, with 22 million litres of wine produced from the 2019 harvest. Available to over 25 international markets, 65 different wines are available under 247 different labels.
Part of Cramele Recas’ natural wine range, Solara Rosé is produced with a blend of Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Organic Babeasca Neagra, Nero de Avola, and Feteasca Neagra, with the winery keen to promote the consumption of local varieties. Lightly destemmed and crushed, the grapes are directly pressed, with only the free run juice used (around 50 percent of the total amount). This is then clarified by flotation, fermented at a controlled temperature, then clarified and naturally cold stabilised by storage in outside tanks during winter. The wine is then lightly filtered and directly bottled while fresh, embellished with a Hockney-inspired label.
The result is a very pale pink wine with intense aromas of strawberry and cranberry. Further fruit notes continue on the palate, particularly strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and cranberry, joined by some crunchy acidity and a long, fresh finish. An ideal (inexpensive) summer wine.
Cramele Recas Solara Rosé is available from Noble Green Wines, RRP £10.