Premium wines from one of Romania’s longest-standing winemakers
Wednesday 15 September 2021
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With 40 hectares in one of the most advantageous locations for viniculture in all of Romania, Trantu is a surprisingly new presence in the national wine scene. Things begin to fall into place though, when one learns its eponymous founder, Panait Trantu, is the man who rebuilt Vinex Murfatlar after it became the first Romanian winery to be privatised in 2000.
Having worked in winemaking even before the fall of communism in ‘89, Panait Trantu launched himself as a winery owner and oenologist specialising in Romania in 1999. As creator of his own wines, the first private producer in the country and a pioneer of rosé, Panait then spent 20 years steadfastly building the foundation to create quality wines that reflect the character of the grapes and the terroir of the Murfatlar vineyard, all the while preserving the area’s 2000 year-old winemaking traditions.
The fruit of all his hard work is Trantu winery, launched as the premium arm of Vinex Murfatlar, with its own vineyard on the western side of its parent company’s estate.
“Our 40-hectare vineyard is located on an island formed by the Danube, near the city of Cernavodă,” says Panait. “It’s a place where the influence of gentle currents from the Danube and the Black Sea, the abundant sun, the calcareous soils and mild winters, create a microclimate suitable for creating special wines. It’s a breathtaking place, and even within DOC Murfatlar, it’s a landmark.”
The grape varieties in the plantation are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Fetească Regală, Tămâioasă Românească, Traminer Roz, Fetească Neagră, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah. Grapes are harvested by hand into crates, and sorted by removing unhealthy, unripe fruit and vegetable impurities before peeling and pressing. The must obtained is fermented in stainless steel tanks, at a controlled temperature. All wines produced by Trantu are DOC Murfatlar certified.
Panait continues: “We have a specific approach to winemaking, which essentially stems from the philosophy of respecting the personality of each variety. Thus, most of the wines bottled by the company are single varietals, in which we try to highlight the personality of the variety, complemented by the specific influence of the terroir. Our only blends – our Abstract range – use only those wines that have the power to reinforce each other and ultimately create a superior wine with a special and unique character that 100% justifies this approach.”
Getting this carefully cultivated Romanian character into the wider world remains a challenge, and Panait acknowledges that the nation’s wineries could do more, both in terms of investing in international marketing and coordinating their efforts as a group.
“Slowly though, there is more concrete action among associations of producers which, coordinated with state policies and European funding, is starting to bring results in terms of Romania’s progress in this field.
The markets that are beginning to recognise our potential are generally those where there are larger communities of Romanian emigrants, who have driven interest in importing wine from Romania, and thus created curiosity among native consumers.
“Of course, we believe that Romania’s potential in this area is not sufficiently appreciated and utilised, but as I said from the beginning, there are many things we need to solve ourselves before blaming someone else.
“From the perspective of terroir, geographical position, relief, and influences of the Black Sea basin, there is a huge potential to produce exceptional wines here… thus in the past 20 years, through the privatisation of the old state-owned wineries and the tireless struggle of pioneers like Mr Trantu, we have resumed the tradition of producing and consuming quality wines, as evidenced by the large number of medals won by Romanian wine at international competitions.”
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