There was a story once where mainly German viticulturists cultivated more than 500 hectares of vineyards on a hill towering over a place called Silagiu. This story has gradually ended by the middle of the 20th century. It has almost been forgotten. But fortunately, in 2008, Mr. Cosmin Craciunescu and his family decided not to let their story get lost and therefore they established Crama Aramic.
The situation wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though. It’s easier to write down than to get things done. Especially considering that the family of intellectuals (for instance Cosmin is a dentist) did not really had an idea of vine-growing. The only thing they knew was that the most famous wines of the county were all produced here in the old times. So, they began to look for a winemaker (and they found one in Italy who moved back for the job) and then to plant a vineyard.
Between 2010 and 2012, 46 hectares of vineyards were planted on the slopes with such varieties as Pinot Noir, Feteasca Neagra, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel and Feteasca Alba.
Almost unbelievably, in the past, the key variety of the wine region used to be Muscat Ottonel. For this reason, it is important for them to keep this tradition alive as well. By 2015, the new winery complex was built and today a new building for cask aging and a tasting room is under construction. Once completed, its windows and the terrace will offer a stunning view of the vineyards. Further up on the mountain but still within eyeshot there is an old chapel built by the Germans and from here, once the road will have been completed, one can drive across the mountain to Buziaș, the city of a former health spa.
It would be an obvious idea to sell wines to the visitors of the spa, but Cosmin pours cold water on my enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the spa was shut down, some of the hotels are still functioning and using the mineral waters but their main revenues come from groups of pensioners and they can’t afford quality wines.
So, it wasn’t by accident that they’ve recently opened their wine shop in Timişoara in addition to their existing one in Bucharest. Of the samples we tasted from the tanks (all from 2017), Muscat Ottonel was outstanding with its exciting acidicy and of the two Sauvignon Blancs the one that wasn’t produced by skin contact. This latter is the most promising one of this vintage in the wine region.
The completion of the wine tasting room and the facility for cask aging will lift Crama Aramic to a higher level both in terms of wine quality and hospitality. It is an inconceivably important step in a wine region which is just being brought back from oblivion into existence!
Sauvignon Blanc Piatra Soarelui 2016 I 86 points
Restrained but varietally characteristic nose. Lively acidity, full-bodied with grass and ripe tropical fruit on the palate. Easy to understand and flawless.
Feteasca Alba 2016 I 84 points
Sweetly scented with Mediterranean citrus fruit. Medium bodied, comes across as a little flabby, but very drinkable. The 10g of residual sugar rounds off the wine beautifully.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 I 88 points
Restrained nose with plenty of fruit and a grapey character. Full-bodied and crisp on the palate with a touch of spritz. Dense, deep and long, but still very, very young. It has a great future ahead of it!
Photo: Daniel Ercsey
Feteasca Neagra 2016 I 88 points
Lovely spicy nose. Medium-bodied, elegant acidity and tannic structure, with lots of spice and fruit on the palate. Very drinkable, super!
Cupaj Alb 2016 I 86 points
Restrained nose, led by the Sauvignon Blanc. Elegant structure, wonderful acidity and medium body. Citrus and white-fleshed fruit on the palate.