Petro Vaselo Alb White 21
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I've always had a soft spot for Romanian wines -- they played a prominent role back in my high school and college days. As a lifelong wine enthusiast, I was that odd guy out in the back of the room at parties with a glass of white or red wine instead of the ubiquitous bottle of beer. Operating with a budget of minimal to none, my go-to wines of choice back then came from Portugal and Romania. Thanks to the neighborhoods of Portuguese and Romanian immigrants in the NY-NJ metro area, these wines were cheap, plentiful, tasty, and available just a short drive away. Everything a poor college student would want in a bottle of wine!
Things have come a long way with Romanian wines since my college days, so I was delighted when Ariana Negru, the general manager of Petro Vaselo, paid us a visit at the AWM. for us to taste.
Much like Hungary, Austria, and Bulgaria, Romania is a wine-drinking country, and since most of that wine is consumed at home, exports are rare. Following Romania's entry into the EU in 2007, its wine industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Modern technology is catching up with the rich Romanian wine-making traditions, and the world is beginning to notice. EU membership has worked wonders to help eliminate the chronic shortages of products and equipment that commonly plagued vignerons in the former Soviet Block countries.
Romania has quietly become one of the world's largest wine producers and is fifth in production after Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. There is renewed concentration on indigenous grape varietals; however, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are still the most prevalent reds.
The Petro Vaselo Winery is a prime example of Romania's new generation of growers and winemakers. They farm 42 certified organic hectares in Timisoara, and wines are made at a state-of-the-art facility in the village of Petrovaselo. They've been certified organic since 2013, and their sustainable farming methods are the region's benchmark.
After harvest, grapes undergo manual sorting in the vineyard and again at the winery, allowing only the best quality fruit to reach the fermenter. During the fermentation and aging process, the wine is almost entirely protected from air, allowing the winemaker to use only minimal sulfites to prevent oxidation.
Alb de Petro Vaselo is a compelling blend of Chardonnay and Welshriesling, also known as Italian Riesling. Although Austria is primarily known for this blend, the vignerons at Petro Vaselo have produced an exceptional variation on a theme.
In your glass, the straw-yellow color opens to aromas of tropical fruits and white flowers. The Chardonnay provides the broad, lush body with loads of peach, yellow apple, and orchard fruits, while the Welshriesling delivers a clean counterpoint of zippy citrus.
Pair Alb de Petro Vaselo with your favorite seafood and poultry dishes. It will also be a perfect complement to cheese boards and vegetarian fare.
The added bonus is the fabulous wine-geeky-coolness factor that comes into play when introducing your friends to the new wave of Romanian wine!