The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

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Page 75 of 116

{ }  75 of Jidvei. The 82-year-old looks much younger and has more energy than someone half his age. Clearly the "man behind the curtain" at Jidvei, knowing more technical and statistical details and comprehending the complex logistics necessary for an undertaking of this size, his light-heartedness and humility were noticeably embraced by his many staff. "I think the primary aromas should always stand out. Oak or other winemaking techniques should never overpower," he shares. As Jidvei forges forward, they aspire to embolden the com - munity. "We are looking for a solution to our labor problems," shares Claudiu Necsulescu. "This is the biggest problem in our productivity," a problem shared by many sparsely populated wine regions in the world. As one possible solution, Jidvei is entertaining the idea of greenhouses to provide work for full- time employees who will harvest crops year-round. Jidvei's civic duty also shines in the fact that they have an on-site bakery—in order to provide each family with a freshly-baked loaf of delicious bread per day. The company also uses the castle's large kitchen to prepare lunch for the local kindergar - ten daily, proof more of their commitment to the residents of this quaint community. Outside of Jidvei, in addition to our exploration of Transilvania, our gracious hosts showed us a glimpse of Romanian life in the country's two largest cities, Cluj- Napoca and Bucharest. Mihai Chitic and Ioana Benga, Expor t Director and Manager respectively, genuinely wanted us to experience Romania, and I will always remain grateful for their guidance. We spent an evening at an up-and-coming restaurant in Cluj, visited the Salina Turda, a salt mine that descends more than 112 meters (350 feet) into the ground, stopped at a still inhabited 13th-century town for a tra - ditional lunch, and received an ongoing and enlightening nar ration of history, culture and anecdotes as we traversed the countryside and cities. With as much passion and fortitude as the owners and employees of Jidvei possess, and a climate that encourages unique expressions of familiar wine grapes as well as its own unique varieties, Romania, Târnave and its surrounding wine regions will soon be making more of an impact on the cur - rent U.S. market. Jidvei has grown to include several different labels, includ- ing the original Clasic, Premiat, Nec Plus Ultra, Grigorescu, Mysterium and Owner's Choice (named for Maria and Ana). Jidvei Dry Sparkling Wine: tart green apple and pear, lemon zest and freshly buttered toast—an easy wine to sip by itself. Jidvei Clasic Featasca˘ Regala˘: under-ripe nectarine, guava, elder flower, gravel; a high acid white with a clean, floral and stony finish. Nec Plus Ultra Sauvignon Blanc: pink grapefruit, ripe kiwi, orange zest, acacia, chervil—closest to New Zealand in style but not as pungent, with riper fruit and a pleasing weight on the palate. Grigorescu Gewurztraminer: lychee, passionfruit, rose petal, cinnamon, a balancing acidity provides brightness—named for a Romanian artist one of whose paintings adorns each label. Mysterium Rosé: tart black cherry, pomegranate, mulberry, a hint of lavender and sage; this bland of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz exhibits unique character with weight but a zippy finish. Maria Pinot Gris: A highly aromatic expression with white peach, apricot pith, papaya, jasmine and white flowers; a hint off-dry, lend - ing weight to a beautifully balanced wine. Rosés, produced primarily from thicker- skied varieties, show zippy red fruits with salivating acidity. Târnave in general offers ripe fruit without losing the emblematic acidity, forging perfectly balanced wines.

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