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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Prince Stirbey at Boutique Wineries Tasting

A while ago, I reviewed a clutch of Prince Stirbey's wines having met owner Baronness Ileana Kripp at London International Wine Fair.

Ileana's husband Jakob got in touch recently to let me know that they would be exhibiting at the Boutique Wineries Tasting as part of the Romanian Winegrowers group in London and invited me along.

I started with their white Feteasca Regala Genius Loci from 2007 - it shows some exotic, floral notes on the nose along with vanilla from aging in large, new oak barrels.

The palate is fresh with rounded acidity, buttery oatmeal and a touch of pleasant and complex sweetness and the finish is long.

The red Novac, an indigenous grape, is light with prominent berry fruit, hints of vanilla and liquorice as well as a touch of spice and grip on the finish.

The Negru de Dragasani, also indigenous, is a darker purple colour and feels more rounded on the palate with blueberry and elderberry fruit and a medium body.

Revisiting these wines, what strikes me about them is the pureness of the fruit which is somewhat New World in style, contrasted with an old world level of restraint and focus; they feel technically very well made and approachable, yet focused and precise.

Jakob explained that his aim is precisely to avoid the overly alcoholic, blowsy New World-style of wines which could be easily done in a country as southerly and hot as Romania.

Rather, he opts for picking grapes at the optimal moment of ripeness and ferments in stainless steel for freshness.

For a Romanian winery, the management is very international - Jakob himself is from Innsbruck in Austria and can trace his family back several hundred years, whilst his wine-making team includes an Austrian and a German.

In style the red wines have the purity, focus and low tannins of Austrian reds but also the prominent acidity and food friendliness of Italian wines - a country with which Romania has significant historic links.

Recommended wine

I have reviewed the reds previously - see here.

Definitely worthy of recommendation on this occasion is the Feteasca Regala (£13.00) for its lovely oaking balanced nicely with varietal expression.

The Novac also gets a mention in this recent article by Jancis Robinson: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201109172.html


Prince Stirbey - http://www.stirbey.com/

Main UK Distributor:

Matt Cole
The Little Wine Company
62 Linzee Road
London N8
Tel +44 208 347 8886
Fax +44 208 340 7589

UK Distributor (Novac only) - Bowes wines: http://www.boweswine.co.uk/

Boutique Wineries Tasting - http://www.boutique-wineries.co.uk/

Romanian Winegrowers - http://www.romanian-winegrowers.com/

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