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September 09th, 2013

Viognier grapes reached maturity and are harvested these days

Viognier, a new life for an old grape

             Like any other old grape, Viognier is surrounded by legends. One of them has it that its name means “via Gehenae” – the road of Gheena or the road to Hell.  The reason may be the fact that this grape is one of the most difficult grapes as it is particularly sensitive to mildew and oidium and it is very complicated in winemaking. It is excellent for obtaining light, short life wines but when it comes to elaborating dense wines with aging ability, it needs particular attention and care.
             The origin of the grape is very old. It allegedly appeared for the first time on the Dalmatian coast, in Croatia; it was then brought by the Romans on the territories that nowadays belong to France.  After a few centuries of popularity, Viognier started loosing ground for stronger and more productive grapes. Apparently in 1965 there were only 8 ha left with this varietal, all in Northern Rhone, where the famous Condrieu wines were produced.
              The renaissance of this grape was also in France when several Languedoc-Rousillon vineyards decided to try new varietals. By the late ‘80s, Viognier had become an important grape and the emergence of New World producers has turned it into an international star. Today it is the flagship grape of Virginia State (although it is grown all over the USA vineyards), it has invaded  Australian vine growing areas as well as almost all the vineyards in South America, including the newcomers Brazil and Uruguay.
               The wines of Viognier are mostly fresh, intense flavoured wines, generally meant for drinking in the three years following the vintage. Particular technological procedures, such as skin contact maceration (extended contact with skins) or aging on fine lees can turn the Viognier juice into wine that can be drank up to 10 years. Dry wines are mostly elaborated but late harvest, after  the grapes overmature or after a noble rot attack, can lead to sweet desert wines. It is essential that there be a clear constancy and periodicity of winds, which may prevent the vineyard from being invaded by pests to which Viognier is very sensitive.  
                Little has been experienced in Romania with this grape, as most producers have initially invested in stronger grapes or at least more known and implicitly easier to market varietals.
In Segarcea the grapes were processed so as to obtain the maximum of expression, all the more soas the grape is know for its ability to naturally cover a large array of flavours, from dry flowers to intense white or exotic fruit.  
                This is how the first wine elaborated on request of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret of Romania was obtained, the first blend based on acacia barreled Viognier and fresh Viognier, to which we added Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The numerous accolades obtained by this blend confirmed that Viognier had found a new home so the grape was then used in the Minima Moralia super-premium collection, more precisely in Honesty, where barrelled and fresh Viognier are wrapped in delicate flavors of Tămâioasă Românească dry. The aging ability of this wine is confirmed by the first blend, released in December 2012, that only now reaches the optimum degree of twinning of these grapes; its taste now suggests a long life ahead for this unique wine. 

Radu Rizea, Journalist

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New accolades for Minima Moralia in France read all

June 26th, 2013

Gold medal for Minima Moralia Hope in Mondial du Rosé 2013 read all

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New accolades for Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea read all

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Already internationally recognized, Minima Moralia collection was officially presented to the Romanian market read all

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Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea at top class wine fair in Hong Kong read all