We have spent the holidays somewhere on the new fringes of the European Union, more precisely in the southeastern corner of Transylvania, Romania, in our old hometowns of Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) and Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfantu Gheorghe). Despite numerous inconveniences (like our luggage getting lost in Paris on the way home and having to drive a small Renault on a few inches of fresh snow) it was a worthwhile trip, e.g., after three years of no-see, it is nice to get to know your family and friends again.
Anyway, one of the enjoyable parts of the trip was that we sampled a number of Romanian wines. Not too many, because the average store in Szentgyörgy or Csíkszereda does not carry a big selection of wines. We learned that wines that are cheaper than about 5 dollars (~12-13 new Romanian lei) are usually barely drinkable. However, some of the bottles in the 15-20-30 lei price range are quite nice. The ones labeled Prahova Valley are always reliable; we had several bottles of Merlots and Cabernets. And there are a few Feteasca Neagra-s that are outstanding. Look for “Cramele Halewood S.A.” on the label.
So the good news is that there are a growing number of enjoyable wines for reasonable prices. However, I still do not understand why on earth they label almost every wine with ‘sec’ (dry), ‘demisec’ (half-dry), ‘demiculce’, and ‘dulce’ (sweet). Have you ever seen a Cabernet Sauvignon labeled as ‘sweet wine’? Well, in Romania you can see such monstrous creations almost in any store that sells wine. Don’t event think about trying one of these — they are as bad as the label sounds. Why is it so difficult to grasp that good red wine is not supposed to be sweet?