RoVinHUd: For the Heroes of Good Taste – Really.
People describing themselves as Heroes of Good Taste would normally (and rightfully) receive a few suspicious glances and odd looks, but there is a little-known wine festival in Romania which, arguably, is about exactly these kinds of people. Rovinhud is a charity event organized for Ceva, the profits of which will be used to change the lives of five individuals beyond what they thought possible. Today about nineteen thousand people with disabilities live in state run institutions, most of them in extremely challenging conditions.
Jancis Robinson was one of the first people who generously devoted her time in the debut year of the Rovinhud Wine Festival. That year, they had a humble goal to buy a minibus for Ceva. Thanks to the enormous dedication of the founder of this event, Zoltan Szoverdfi-Szep, this November we witnessed a high quality wine festival which had 36 exhibiting wineries and 12 master classes, and most importantly, well over thousand visitors throughout the weekend of the 16th-18th November.
Quality was in abundance throughout the participating wineries, as well as in the masterclasses. Sitting on John Szabo MS’s masterclass on Volcanic wines, listening to Elizabeth Gabay MW talking about the diversity of Rose versus chateau cash flow or the knowledge, research and preparation which culminated into Caroline Gilby MW’s masterclass on Wines of Eastern Europe made me think that I could be anywhere in the world, which is a great compliment to the team who put this even on in a small town in Western Romania.
Some of the wines will also make you think you are out of this world. A great way to spend your time when you make your way to Timisoara is by visiting a few wineries on the way. We travelled from home country –
that would be Hungary, in case you don’t yet know this – and en route we popped in for a lovely tasting and lunch with Balla Geza from the Minis wine region. In the words of Caroline Gilby:
‘2018 has been a mixed year in Romania with a difficult spring which hit flowering, followed by drought in July, then heavy rains in August with the harvest saved by an Indian summer in late September. Among the 2018 wines tasted, mostly tank or barrel samples, Balla’s local specialty Mustoasă de Măderat was light, fresh and appetizing. A new blend of Fetească Regală and Riesling worked well, giving a bright fresh backbone to the textured Fetească. 2018 Fetească Neagră from 500l oak is very young but has a lot of promise, showing bright ripe fruit and fine acids, while Cabernet Franc from the same vintage needs taming in oak as it’s super ripe and structured. Other highlights from the tasting included a sample of 2017 Furmint Stone Wine from barrel – a lovely but unique interpretation of this grape, distinctly not Tokaji, being richer, softer and creamier. There was also a gently spicy, easy drinking classic Cadarca 2017, a nicely pure Burgund Mare 2017 and the super serious, intense Cabernet Franc Stone Wine 2015.’