We’re ready! At lunch there are more than 20 degrees (Celsius, that is) for most of the day, the day is now officially long enough to bathe in the sun, to enjoy a 1st of May as it should be – no worries, neither too hot nor too cool, with the usual grills, even vegetarian ones, or seafood salads, and baked or pan-fried meats.
These are the days to build new memories around friends and family, whether on the beach, in the mountains, on a boat or in an extended city break in Romania.
We have prepared a list of options, taking into account budgets and preferences, just to make sure your meetings and getaways are at least a bit more pleasant. Wines for a day off (after the weekend, that is!), to pair with tasty dishes or, simply, to share with those close to you.
Wines for grilling fish
It was the mackerel festival in Braila, just a few days ago, so a few specimens of this incredibly tasty fish, impossible to cook at home though, will definitely be found on the sizzling grills today. It doesn’t matter if you "sweetened" it or not (that is, you salted it on all sides, so that it "absorbs" as much taste as it needs) or if you prepare it with tomato and garlic sauce, the mackerel needs a wine with strong flavors to balance it. Try the Herb blend of Tamaioasa romaneasca and Sauvignon blanc (dry) or the Muscat Ottonel with Sauvignon blanc (off-dry), from the same range, from Domeniile Averesti.
For a traditional taste, pair an organic Sauvignon blanc from Domeniul Bogdan, aa Nec Plus Ultra from Jidvei, aand for those without budget constraints, a Caii de la Letea Sauvignon blanc fumee (Volume II).
If you use tomato sauce with garlic for the mackarell sauce, it might be a good idea to chose a young, intense rosé, but one that also has a slight vegetal component, not necessarily a fruit-driven one. A Feteasca neagra rosé Mirachi from Histria Winery or Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea would fit well, but spicier varieties also pair well – you can try the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah recently launched by Jidvei under the Weinland label or the Virtuoz Merlot rosé from Gramofon Winery.
For delicate fish with less intensity (trout, deep sea fish), but also for vegetarian grills (eggplant, zucchini, onion, carrots and a splash of almond/cashew cheese, with a dash of pesto on top), some rather delicate wines are required, but do not neet to be necessarily neutral – in the open air, the flavours of the wine tend to lose some of their intensity as well.
Feteasca alba Maria (Owner’s Choice range from Jidvei), Feteasca alba Liliac or Feteasca regala Marama from Domeniul Coroanei, Feteasca regala by from Pivnita Savu are all suitable for medium budgets. If you don’t want to spend too much, the one from Crama Telna is suitable for any wallet. And, if you have the chance to find it, a warm (cold) wine recommendation is the already recognized Aligote Caii de la Letea, no matter if it is volume I, II or the Princeps edition. Also suitable for seafood salads, shrimps, octopus and other sea creatures…
If you grill more exotic fish with darker, pink or red fish meats (i.e. salmon or tuna), you will need some more intense and spicier rosé wines, and not necessarily from last year’s harvest. We strongly recommend Mysterium rosé from Jidvei (Cabernet, Pinot noir, Syrah) or Caii de la Letea Princeps rose (Feteasca neagra, Pinot noir, Syrah). For less generous budgets, we’d suggest Domeniile Prince Matei, Nativa rosé de Averesti from Domeniile Averesti, Vinul Cavalerului from SERVE or Syrah Nomad from Aurelia Visinescu.
Wines with chicken and other wings
For grilled chicken, partridges or quails, the wine pairing depends on the spices you would use. The chicken bathed for a day in sour cream, lemon juice and a splash of mint, for example, will require slightly aromatic white wines (Muscat, Tamaioasa or Sauvignon blanc blends), the one touched only slightly by salt and pepper require more neutral fresh whites (Feteasca alba or regala, Rhein Riesling, fresh unoaked Chardonnay), and the ones using hot peppers (sauce or paprika) and other spices, should pair with rosé wines.
For the first and last option, you can use the fish guide above, but for the untreated meat, flavored only by wood and charcoal, we should rather go for the Chardonnays from Liliac, Gramofon (where the winemakers “horse around” with four different types of Chardonnay) or Terra Romana from SERVE, a Rhein Riesling Maria from Jidvei, but also the white blend of Feteasca regala and Feteasca neagra from Domeniile Prince Matei.
For spicy chicken, less demanding than red fish meat, you can also try classic varieties rosés, such as Nativa (Merlot) from Averesti Estates), Promessa from Aurelia Visinescu (Pinot noir, Pinot Grigio, Syrah), Moments from Crama Mennini (Pinot noir, Negru de Dragasani) or Reveria from Crama Strunga (Feteasca neagra).
The best poultry is still pork… along with a red wine
In the open air, while attending a traditional barbecue, with pork neck, sausages, pastrami and cutlets, the obvious priority is to take advantage on the local traditions. This means either a pairing with the still undisputed star of the indigenous grapes, Feteasca neagra, or a newcomer that aims for a place as high as possible in the top, Negru de Dragasani.
Should you chose the latter, things are easier – being a relatively recent grape, it is still relatively rarely planted. It has established itself in its place of origin, Dragasani, where Avincis and Crama Mennini have several excellent versions, it performed over any expectation in Dealu Mare, where you can find it at Vitis Metamorfosis, and it was recently bottles in other areas of Oltenia – you can find it at Vinarte and in the Prince Mircea range (as red), as well as blended with Feteasca neagra, in the Nedeea rosé version.
For spicy meats, you may also experiment with a still unknown, but very promising wine – Demeter, a blend of Negru de Dragasani and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As for the Feteasca neagra, things tend to become a bit more complicated, because there are already many interpretations of this variety, each one increasingly personal.The certain thing is that all the producers mentioned above have at least one interesting Feteasca neagra, from those in the north (Strunga, Averesti), to those on the southern hills (Dealu Mare, Dragasani, down to Mehedinti), but also in the scortching heat of the Dobrogea sands or the Transylvanian cool clinate. Our advice is to taste them, one at the time. Taste the differences, choose what you like, look for similar ones and, on the next May 1st celebration, be prepared!
And if, after so many options, it still seems to you that the wine is expensive, don’t forget that a "bag-in-box" wine is just as thoroughly checked as any bottled wine.
Have a nice party and enjoy good wines!