VINUL.RO EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2011 – OFF-COMPETITION TASTINGS (6)
On the last official tasting day, we left Bucharest for a long trip by bus to the Urlateanu Manor 1922 in … Urlati. The distance was not really what made it such a long trip (only 85 km from Bucharest), but again, we needed some time to get out of the Romanian capital. During the trip you could hear the stomach of the exhausted and hungry international jurors loudly grumbling… FOOD was desperately needed. The team of Vinul.ro was clever and attentive and arranged a nice compromise for us… We would first get some appetizers cold plate at our arrival at the CRAMELE HALEWOOD cellars in the Urlateanu Manor. And believe, those appetizers tasted as the very best we ever had… Very clever people indeed at Vinul.ro! Once the loudest stomach grumbles disappeared, all of us were ready for the last visit of this short week stay in Romania. We visited the small but picturesque wine cellars, had a nice tasting and a very nice dinner! The hospitality was absolutely perfect! A visit to the wine shop is highly recommended… Not only for Romanian wines but also for many foreign wines imported by Halewood Romania.
The picturesque wine cellars in Urlateanu Manor – © Halewood
HALEWOOD INTERNATIONAL was founded in 1978 by a visionary entrepreneur, John Halewood. In just a bit more than 30 years, the Yorkshire based company HALEWOOD INTERNATIONAL became the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor. They started small, thought big and worked smart… But they also got really international by thinking global while understanding local. From 1987 they began to import ‘good value wines’ from Romania. In the mid-1990s, they started to export globally spirits all over the world. Halewood International is actively present in some dynamic expanding markets like South-Africa, China and … Romania. Halewood International was the first joint-venture in the wine industry between Romanian and Western companies and private individuals (Vinexport Trading Company Ltd.). Halewood International is now majority owner of HALEWOOD ROMANIA Ltd, founded in 1997 in Bucharest. It controls 3 different branches: Halewood Estates (3 large vineyards with a total surface of more than 350 ha in Dealu Mare, Sebes-Apold and Murfatlar), Cramele Halewood SA (the wine cellars) and one import/retail branch for the Romanian market. In total, Halewood International invested a small 6 million Euro in Romania. No wonder that about 90% of all Romanian wines consumed in the UK comes from Halewood International… This is on one hand a good development for the Romanian wine image, but on the other hand it is also a concealed trap. Looking at the range of Romanian wines produced by Cramele Halewood and most of the medals and awards won by the company, the emphasis is very much on easy selling ‘international grapes’ and not really on the quality and unique character of the typical Romanian terroirs.
Halewood produces a huge range of wines. It starts with fresh and fruity easy drinking international wines like those of LA CRAMA, LA UMBRA and DREAMER lines. A bit more quality but still good value is available under the brand PRAHOVA VALLEY CLASSIC. If you are looking for more complexity, you can opt for the PRAHOVA VALLEY SPECIAL RESERVE.
For a bit more character, HALEWOOD SPECIAL RESERVE might be the right choice. More complexity, character and … oak? No problem: the PRIVATE RESERVE or the VITIS METAMORFOSIS (a Halewood-Antinori project) are just what you need! If you can afford to pay for more sophistication, your choice will be even easier: the ‘mythic’ range KRONOS, THEIA and HYPERION is made for you! For the lovers of stylish labels and modern made, sexy wines with a nice pedigree, look for the BYZANTIUM line, Blanc de Transylvanie or Rosso di Valachia… Last but surely not least, for the wine freaks who like varietal wines with a unique local character, no doubt about it: the SINGLE VINEYARD SELECTION is the real thing for you… Wines from La Catina, Scurta or Adrian, all single vineyards from Halewood Estates from Dealu Mare… Unfortunately, until now, most of those single vineyards wines are made from international grapes varieties: La Catina pinot noir, Adrian shiraz, Scurta viognier-chardonnay, pinot noir rosé, Sebes Alba sauvignon blanc-chardonnay… One exception: the Scurta viognier-tamaioasa romaneasca… (picture below)
For the bubble lovers, a good value for money with PRAHOVA VALLEY SPARKLING WINE and MILLENNIUM, more complexity with RHEIN EXTRA…
Halewood produces good quality wine in each price category. It is up to you to choose the range of wine according to your mood, company, circumstances or plainly said your purse or even wallet… I didn’t taste all the wines (much too much)… From what I tasted, some wines I liked and can fully recommend:
Single Vineyard Selection Adrian Shiraz
Single Vineyard Selection La Catina Pinot noir
Single Vineyard Selection Scurta Pinot Noir Rosé
Single Vineyard Selection Scurta Viognier-Tamaioasa Romaneasca
Hyperion Feteasca Neagra 2009
Vitis Metamorphosis Merlot 2009
Prahova Valley Special Reserve Merlot 2009
Prahova Valley Special Reserve Feteasca Neagra 2009
Private Reserve Feteasca Neagra 2009
Special Reserve Feteasca Neagra 2009
Byzantium Rosso di Valachia 2009
Byzantium Blanc de Transylvanie 2010
Vitis Metamorphosis Sauvignon blanc-Feteasca 2009
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