VINUL.RO EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2011 – OFF-COMPETITION TASTINGS (4)
On the second day of the competition, we went again to the centre of Bucharest for the lunch. Place of handling was Restaurant Ginger, a strange place with many different faces, located in an even stranger building. It is a lovely place from the inside, housing not only a restaurant and a bar, but also a tiny but really interesting gourmet shop for restaurants and home-cooks… If you have the chance to visit the city, don’t forget to go there, have a meal and visit the shop! The owner of this tiny but richly furnished shop is – by chance – the sommelier in charge of all the wines we, the fourth jury, had to judge during the competition. A very nice, capable, humble guy with a great gastronomy and wine knowledge! Back to the restaurant, we went to the top-floor for the lunch with the whole group and the team of WineRo presenting us their imported Bulgarian wines. It might sound a little bit strange; but not really, this importer of Bulgarian wines also sells Romanian wines. It can hardly be more coincidental, but the winemaker for both sides of the border was also sitting in my jury: Marc Dworkin, a French consultant from Bordeaux.
From the outside you wouldn’t really think how cosy it is inside… The bar is really crowded, especially when the top-floor is reserved for a lunch and tasting with professional jurors… (grin). Because the top-floor was kept ‘smoke free’, many tobacco addicts were enjoying their regular nicotine and tar puffs on the lower floors… Very kind of them to respect the majority of non-smokers, surely during the lunch and tasting, but it turned into slightly ridiculous… Every time someone opened the outside door, a strong draught was bringing all the smoke damps up to the top-floor… However, it was much better than having all of them besides the lunch table… It would have been quite a pity, because the food was very good, tasty, perfectly balanced, prepared and served! The waiters and waitresses were fantastic. Unfortunately, there was a little dip with the meat… The quality was varying from a bit overdone soft leather rubber sole to fantastic juicy, tender and perfectly rare… I was delighted with mine, it was absolutely perfect! I really enjoyed this meal, a kind of wise mixture of Romanian products and gastronomy with Western cooking style and presentation. I especially loved the very prepared pike perch filet with light and tasty maize polenta (my two Italians friends were delighted!) and the tasty meat, matching very well with the red wines from Enira.
My sincere compliments to the whole staff of the restaurant. Warmly recommended!
I would have liked to get some more information about this company, but the introduction was really summary and chaotic. If I understood well, this company seems to be a kind of melting pot between German money, German and French wine skills and Bulgarian business; the winery is located in the historic wine region Bessa Valley… Marc Dworkin is involved as wine consultant and the manager, Count Stephan von Neipperg is not totally unknown in the Bordeaux wine region. He is the manager of not less than 6 Châteaux in Bordeaux: Canon La Gaffelière, La Mondote, Clos de l’Oratoire and Peyreau (all in Saint Emilion), Château d’Aiguilhe (Côtes de Castillon) and Clos Marsalette (Pessac-Léognan).
The meanings about the Rosé by Enira 2010 were quite divergent. This rosé wine made from black grapes (petit verdot!?, syrah and merlot) needs more ‘fleshy’ reply from the dish. This wine got a gold medal in the Vinul.ro competition; that suggests that it must be good enough. It didn’t however really show well at the lunch, maybe because it was too cold; maybe we were too tired. I’d love to taste it again with a different dish, for instance a salad of grilled chicken breasts with olive oil and grapefruit dressing. The freshness and aromatic delicacy of this wine (citrus fruit driven), its unctuous structure on one hand (alcohol, extract) and crispy dry and tight mouth feeling on the other (acidity, tannins) make it quite a controversial wine. It is definitely not a friendly and easy drinking wine like the rosé de Clarke (Mark might know… grin).
At once, the serving tempo rose drastically. While we were enjoying our main course, the REDS attacked! I just lost the counting; I am not sure any more of what we exactly tasted. It was just too much, too fast. If I remember well, we got the Enira 2007, also gold winner in the competition, and indeed a very good wine. Made of mostly merlot with cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Still slightly dominated by oak tones in the nose (give it just a bit more time), but full of ripe fruit and very fresh. Mouth-filling, smooth, round, lovely, velvety and very fruity on the palate, still a bit tight in its tannins (again, give it more time). Very well made, tasty and highly drinkable.
We tasted different vintages of the Enira Reserva, all very tasty, juicy, velvety and round, quite rich and complex. Then followed the Enira BV, really beautiful, reminding me in a way a good Saint-Emilion Cru in a warm year… We finished with the Enira Duo. Even after long aeration in a decanter, the wine was powerful and jammy, a bowl full of very ripe plums and cherries, a bit too much warmth, smoothness and richness for me; it should have been fresher to have a better balance…
ENIRA is a fantastic project, really prestigious and surely not a cheap investment. The quality of terroir, vinification and aging is undeniably good. However, the style of some of the wines we tasted was still a bit old-fashioned: too much extract, too jammy, too much alcohol… I was sitting with 1 French and 2 Italian colleagues. After the orgy of such powerful wines, we were dying for a last glass of wine, just for the pleasure of it. Without any consultation between us, we all went back to the … Enira red 2007! It was refreshing, like a glass of elegant, smooth, freshly mineral, tasty Crozes-Hermitage from granite soils after a whole bunch of heavy, jammy, warm and highly concentrated Châteauneuf du Pape wines…
Drinkability is for me the key of long term success. What is the meaning of wine if people hardly can enjoy a second glass of it? I do hope that Enira will choose for more freshness, elegance and drinkability, just like they did with their great ENIRA RED 2007. Highly recommended!