TRANSYLVANIA THE NEW TUSCANY
Climate change is on everybody's agenda. Few, however, are talking about how our plates and our glasses make up a large share of the carbon emissions that drive us down the increasingly slippery road to a scary future.
The problem is real, but the small organic wine scene seems to be the sole bearer of real environmental responsibility.
Transylvanian terroir is where an answer to the dilemma of how to make great wines and deal with the climate crisis can be found.
A young family of wine entrepreneurs from Jelna, a village in the Northern Transylvanian county of Bistrita-Nasaud – fascinated by winemaking, terroir and the culture that comes with it – dreams to reawaken and protect the sustainable wine heritage and spirit that have laid dormant in the region’s rolling hills.
Jelna brings an environmental and cultural brew to wine-making.
This region of Northern Romania, said Italian count Giulio da Sacco, was the new Tuscany, and the Financial Times recently picked on this comparison, with the reporter noting that "I could imagine myself in 'Chiantishire'."
For in both Tuscany and Transylvania, wine has been made for centuries amongst rolling hills with vernacular villages, churches and chateaus where the vineyard's colours and wildfl ower meadows blend organically into historic ochre-tiled houses.
Yes, Transylvania could be Tuscany in all but the name, but in Transylvania you will fi nd winemakers who combine the use of high tech, weeds and animals to minimise the need for fossil fuels and chemicals.
This is where Jelna wines come in: grown with timeless techniques with respect for the land and passion for long-lost ways of tilling the land and making wine.
A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH
Jelna's approach to sustainability blends tradition and innovation.<.
The wine cellar has a cutting-edge technological stream that allows the winery to process the grapes to their maximum potential. This includes an automatic bottling line, pneumatic presses, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, filters, and automatic and manual washers.
To minimise the use of tractors they use animal power, with horse-drawn wagons and tools being still common in these parts. Those horses are in turn fed with local hay, much of it handcut and dried. Chemical fertilisers are replaced with manure from local farms and fl ocks of sheep winter on the vineyard, contributing to its organic fertilisation.
Finally, the supply chain is shortened by using oak barriques from Transylvania and bottles from neighboring Moldova.
AN ESTEEMED BOUQUET
Jelna nurtures 26 hectares of vines, with an average age of nine years, and its portfolio includes Sauvignon Blanc, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Muscat Ottonel and Pinot Noir.
The wine cellar is of the boutique and very hightech variety. As such, the annual output averages 80,000 bottles a year, and with the ongoing maturing of the vineyard will peak at 120,000 bottles a year.
Currently, Jelna sells all of its stocks of wine, keeping only special reserves for ageing. International audiences have been delighted by their wines, with awards coming in from the London Wine Competition, the Balkan Wine Competition, the Cool Climate Wine Competition, and others. The vibrant personality of Lechina-Jelna is present in all their wines: fresh, crispy, strong, elegant and aromatic.
Look for Jelna wines in Danish stores starting from January 2020.
sursa: CPH Post Romania - Ambasada Romaniei in Copenhaga