The whole thing started with me (in March) not understanding the orange wine of Oliver Bauer. Then the story continued with me (in the end of May) sitting on his terrace not wanting to leave ever again…
Oliver Bauer might need no introduction but you can read again about who he is in this article. He is the winemaker of Prince Stirbey, the man who put Dragasani wine region back on the map. The above article focused on the history of Stirbey so now I have the chance to talk about Oliver himself a little more and about his wife, Raluca. She was the one who actually guided me through the Stirbey Winery, who introduced me the wines only to withdraw to the background quietly when, not much later, I was sitting on their terrace. You have to know that Oliver went to Romania because he had been asked by Jakob Kripp to be his winemaker at Stirbey while they were drinking beer near by Munich, but he did not stay only because of the grapes. He was presenting the first vintage – actually the first Stirbey wines in Bucharest – when he met Raluca who fell in love both with Oliver and the wines so she is also working for Stirbey at the moment; she is the one who generally presents the wines.
All this sounds great but what has all this got to do with Crama Bauer?
Well, in 2010 a Petit Verdot wine was made that was not included in the Stirbey family. Then, in 2012 Oliver and Raluca decided to start making their own wine every year. It was awesome to see the humility, the dedication and the loyalty, and they even pay attention not to produce, by any means a wine that would in any way be a competitor of Stirbey wines.
The idea itself is as far from Eastern Europe as possible. In a country, a region where the state took everything from everyone, people only trust what is theirs. Oliver Bauer, however, does not buy any land or vineyards, he only purchases the grapes every year. And only from the areas where they are able to monitor the whole year and they themselves can do the harvesting. As he himself put it: “here there is single vineyard winemaking”. He does not care about the market, the trends; he makes the wine he wants. Every year from an average of 5-6 hectares with a final result of 30-35 thousand bottles of wine. The only starting point is the grapes so he tries to do the shopping in the oldest possible estates which, in extreme cases, may result in one given item providing a mere 260 bottles due to the estate structure.
I don’t want to make the best wine, I only want to create authentic wines
says Oliver and having tasted his wines we must admit that he is doing it very well.
And if you are interested in his terrace and the atmosphere mentioned in the lead, why not visit Raluca and Oliver, sit on their veranda, open a bottle of Cramposie and watch in silence the Olt River glistening in the valley, the birds flying over the vine rows as the sun drops behind the ridge. By then all your questions will be answered.
If you are interested in, please check my tasting notes here.