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2018 Cotnari Championship & 6th Anniversary of the Winelovers Community

Written on 15-03-2018 by Dusan Jelic, Novi Sad, Serbia

Cotnari Winery is a great producer from Romania & for more details check here: www.cotnari.ro

The #winelovers community celebrated its 6th anniversary at Cotnari Winery in Iasi, Romania 

On Saturday, February 17, 2018, Cotnari Winery, the great Romanian wine producer, organized the sixth edition of the Cotnari Championship, with over 30 guests from Romania and abroad, including various specialists, producers, wine critics, wine bloggers and journalists.


The great panel of judges was tasked with assessment of close to 90 wines from the 2017 harvest! Six contestants were present at the competition.


The competition has very clear goals - first of all to select the most competitive wines produced in 2017 under the brand name of Cotnari, and also to nurture and further develop healthy competition between wine producers in the region. The most excited moment was to announce the wine with the highest score. After the judging, the very best wine was declared as the Champion of the Cotnari Vineyard and was given the Great Gold Medal! The panel decided that the 2018 Champion is Fetească Neagră from the Casa de Vinuri Cotnari!


In addition to so many winelovers from various parts of Romania, guests also arrived from the USA, Hungary, Serbia and Republic of Moldova, including Luiz Alberto, the leader of the global winelover community! Consequently the very distinguished members of the Romanian wine scene as well as the international guests participated in the panel of judges. 


Cătălin Păduraru (Director of the International Wine Contest in Bucharest) was serving as the president of the jury, and here are a few names of the judges participating: Traian Petrea Sr, Traian Petrea Jr (Association of Authorized Tasters from Romania), Nedelea Sergiu (Ambassador for Romania of the European Sommelier Association), Florin Voica (President of the Sommelier Association in Romania), Marian Timofti (President of the Sommelier Organization in Romania). The panel of judges also included a few important representatives of the specialized wine press and wine blogging platforms such as Vinul.ro, Vin2, Oenolog, Berbecutio and Vinosfera, including top Romania wine enthusiasts and winelovers - Razvan Stoenescu, Horia Hasnas, Laurentiu Horodnic, Mihai Vasile, Tudor Balan, Iulian Grigorescu, Bogdan Bocse and others.


For the second consecutive year, three foreign journalists and wine bloggers were present too: Dusan Jelic from Serbia (founder of Wine of Serbia and Winelover Ambassador for Serbia), Daniel Ercsey from Hungary (Editor of Wine Sofa - the key Central-European wine online magazine) and Luiz Alberto from the USA (Founder of the Winelover Community and CEO & Founder at the Wine Hub).


Apart from the Great Gold for the Fetească Neagră from the Casa de Vinuri Cotnari, fourteen more Gold and Silver medals were awarded! You can check the list of Gold and Silver medalist below.


Gold Medals

1.      Tămâioasă Românească Dulce - Cotnari SA

2.      Fetească Neagră rose - Casa de Vinuri Cotnari

3.      Frâncușa - Cotnari SA 

4.      Fetească albă - Cotnari SA

5.      Tămâioasă Românească Sec - Casa de Vinuri Cotnari

6.      Chateau - Cotnari SA 

7.      Blanc - Cotnari SA 

8.      Grasă de Cotnari Sec  - Casa de Vinuri Cotnari

9.      Grasă de Cotnari Demidulce - Cotnari SA

10.  Busuioacă Sec - Casa de Vinuri Cotnari


Silver Medals:

1.      Fetească albă - Varzari Miluta

2.      Fetească albă - Casa Stoica

3.      Chardonnay - Casa Varzari

4.      Cabernet Sauvignon Rose - Casa Scutaru 


We had an opportunity to visit all important and impressive Cotnari Winery facilities and see all the potential in winemaking and wine tourism in this part of Romania! As a winelover, I was so happy to taste many great wines and learn a lot about some top quality Romanian indigenous varieties, so will use this opportunity to briefly describe some of them!


Romanian indigenous varieties


Fetească Albă

Spread throughout the entire country. In Germany it is known as Mädchentraube, while Hungarians call it Leányszőlő. Wine has a fresh taste and a higher acidity level, while it is one of the ‘sweetest varieties in the world’ capable of generating 240-250 g/l of sugar! Freshness is especially pronounced when cultivated in areas with lower temperatures. It offers scents of vine flowers and honeycombs. It is suitable for top sparkling wines produced by the traditional méthode champenoise.


Busuioacă de Bohotin

It originates from Bohotin village in Iasi County. The grapes have a violet-red color, while the wine produced from this variety has a rose color. The wine taste is sweet and with an exquisite fragrance feels like mélange of roses and basil. On the nose one picks a unique sensation of honeysuckle and ripe peaches, while there is a perfect balance among sugar, alcohol and acidity. The taste of wine carries a gentle kiss if bitter almonds.  


Grasă de Cotnari is a Romanian wine variety associated with the Cotnari wine region, in Iași County (historical region of Moldavia), where it has been grown ever since the rule of Prince Stephen the Great (1457-1504). It has a truly distinct flavor of apricot, walnut and almond. It contains a high residual sugar, sometimes going up to 300 g/l. Color of a young wine is golden, however as the wine is older the color gets darker, from pale-yellow to dark-yellow with an orange hint to it. Botrytis Cinerea fungi is a culprit helping us get sweet wines, with a high glycerol content which causes them to be oily.


Tămâioasă Românească

A grape variety of Muscat and it is probably of Greek origin. This white, intensely flavored variety is grown for centuries in the following areas: Cotnari, Dealu Mare, Stefanesti, Dragasani, Craiova Hills, Severin and Plaiurile Drancei. The grapes are harvested over-ripe in order to produce sophisticated sweet wines. The wine has a strong flowery fragrance resembling linden and locust tree flowers.



As one of the oldest Romanian varieties it has two biotypes. The first one is harvested in the Cotnari Vineyard and is called Tartara, while the second one is called Mustoasa. Tartara grapes may hold as much as 220 g/l of residual sugar. Harvest yield could go up to 11-12 tons per hectare. The wine is extremely fruity and has a high level of acidity. The second biotype Mustoasa produces dry whites with a yellow-greenish or pale yellow color. Alcohol level is between 10-12 percent.


Fetească Neagră

Fetească Neagră or ‘Black Maiden’ in English is considered to be an ancestral autochthonous variety widespread in Romania and Moldova for more than 2,000 years. It is also known as Poama Fetei Neagra, Coada Randunicii or Pasareasca Neagra. Fetească Neagră is a fragile variety, medium colored and with high tannin content. It is accumulating sugar very easily so picking at the right time is essential. The style of Fetească Neagră can vary very much from light, very fragile, fresh, wild, herbaceous, violets, spices to jammy, with black forest fruits, black cherry, chocolate, tobacco or dry plums.


Great photos were made during the event by the Foto - Fenea Silviu / B1 Studio and these photos could be seen here!


I would like to thank once again to our hosts www.cotnari.ro and Razvan Stoenescu and their respective teams for setting up this event. Cheers!