Black Girlie Juice from Romania: Prince Stirbey Feteasca Neagra 2008, Dragasani

Sometimes, or more than just sometimes, Feteasca Neagra or Black Maiden Grape produces wines which have a high horror potential! If I may say so! Pretty often this grape results in thick, fruitful, sweet and oliy dark red wines full of flaws and with guaranteed headache performance on “The Day After”. Luckily, today's Feteasca Neagra was different.

The winery of Prince Stirbey is one of the most renowned wine producers in Romania. Unfortunately there aren’t so many! Situated in the south of Romania in Dragasani Wine Region, Stirbey gained a certain reputation over the past few years. Yes, just a few years. The wine growing and wine producing tradition of the family goes all the way back to the 18th century, but today’s winery was established in 2001/2003 and the first “non-state-owned-vintage” since this well known "paradigm shift" in 1990/1991. Well, in Romania everything needs a bit more time I guess. The grapes for this Feteasca Neagra were cultivated in Dealurile Olteniei IGT region and aged in used oak barrels for an undisclosed time. Its colour did not really look that extremely black like maidens blood. It was more purple-red and pretty transparent. The bouquet was full of bramble and forest berry perfume. A very intense and fruitful nose! Besides these impressions I got scents of coconuts, light vanilla, some jam resemblances and strange as well as not so pleasant associations with spare ribs combined with barbeque sauce. Okay - just a few hints of that impression - and after a couple of hours it vanished. The taste was largely pretty dry (rejoice!), but very fruitful! A bit like pure plum-bramble juice! Well I never had this combination of juices before. So pure assumption! The proper coconut and vanilla impressions, probably from the oak barrels, hints of walnuts and fruit yogurt were rather present throughout 24 hours, too. I’d say a more one-dimensional wine without a lot of complexity or aspiration. I guess - it is definitely okay. At least for me. Maybe a little bit less oak would have been not such a bad idea. I am pretty sure this kind of wine would have benefited from a stainless or large-oak-barrel ageing. Whatever! Not a bad wine and by aeons the best Black Maiden Grape based wine I ever had!

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