Dan Balaban, Davino’s major shareholder, and Vinexpert organized on THU evening a unique vertical tasting of five vintages of Domaine Ceptura Rouge. I say unique because there are just very few wineries that made wines that lasted over the years or still have a stock of older vintages. I know Serve did it with Cuvee Charlotte 2002 – 2008 and Vinarte with Merlot Matei 1998 – 2006/2007 if I am not wrong. The steepest leap in quality was made in Romania only after 2005 when there was quite a boom in new premium wines released and quality focused wineries launched. Therefore, it is very rare to see and actually be able to attend such events in Romania. I am sure that in 5-6 years from now such events will happen more often, or at least I hope so. For now, the Davino’s event had a limited attendance due to the scarcity of older vintages available.
Mr Balaban conducted the wine tasting and explained very well the story of the winery and the work they did every year in order to show progress. This progress was made not only because of maturing vines capable of providing better fruit with each new vegetative cycle, but also because they gained better understanding of each parcel of vines they own with every new harvest. For more information about the winery please visit my previous article about my visit at Davino.
The vertical tasting started from the oldest vintage to the newest. Unfortunately 2003 was not available anymore. At the winery there are only about 120 bottles left of 2004 that are reserved strictly for such events. There is the same situation for 2005 or 2006. This event brought also a premier as we had the chance to taste en-primeur the 2009 vintage that will be released in the second part of 2012 the earliest. Domaine Ceptura Rouge is usually released on the market only after two years of aging in the bottle and it is a blend of predominantly Feteasca Neagra with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged for 8 to 10 months in new Romanian oak barrels. The oak used is from from the South, around Valcea. How were the wines ?
2004 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
8.950 bottles made. Yields of 1440 l/ha for Feteasca Neagra(FN), 1780 l/ha for Merlot(M), 1210 l/ha for Cabernet Sauvignon(CS). 14.1% alc
Ruby red color with a brown tinge. Well developed and maturing nose, with seducing aromas of truffles, dried mushrooms, leather, dried leaves mixed with primary-red fruit aromas and mint. Velvety mouth feel with completely melted tannins and enticing purity of sweet red cherry, raspberry and strawberry, mixed with tobacco and spice. Not a long finish but a really nice wine. A mature wine at its peak. Can hold on this plateau for at least 1-2 years more and offers great drinking pleasure at this stage. (91+/100) for the purity of fruit.
2005 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
19.488 bottles made. Yields of 1240 l/ha FN, 1130 l/ha CS, 1580 l/ha M. 14.1% alc
Ruby red with light brick rim. A developed nose, with sweet red fruit, mint, earthy. A firmer tannins grip, but still very pleasant mouth-feel and elegant overall. Chewy tannins on the finish with flavors of smoky plum in the aftertaste. (86/100)
2006 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
26.950 bottles made. Yields: 1780 l/ha total production. 14.1% alc
Youthful ruby red-garnet color. Well developed nose, with more pronounced Cab like aromas, light green bell pepper, leather, spices and generous red and black fruit. Definitely more concentrated than the ’05, there is better intensity of flavors, but maintains a pleasant mouth-feel with round and integrating tannins. Medium plus finish with chewy tannins and very spicy. (89/100)
2007 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
29.743 bottles made. Yields: 1870 l/ha overall. 14% alc.
Youthful red garnet color. Developed nose, well mastered oak, but retaining the mark of the hot ’07 vintage: aromas of very ripe fruits, figs, cloves, cinnamon and somehow still being able to preserve freshness. Firm chewy tannins on the finish, less generous on the palate compared with ’06, but finishing spicy and mineral. (88/100)
2008 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
29.412 bottles made. Yields: 1780 l/ha overall. 14.4% alc.
Red garnet-purple color. Youthful and developing nose, showing plenty of primary aromas of ripe red and black fruit, figs mixed with spices: cloves and cinnamon. More concentrated and rounder than the ’07, tight and a bit oaky, well balanced, with a medium plus finish. A very young wine that needs a few more years of bottle aging. (89+/100)
2009 Domaine Ceptura Rouge
Almost opaque red garnet-purple color. Already a well developed and gorgeous nose with brooding complexity. There is a mix of smoky plum, ripe fruit, spice and truffles that is really enticing. Well balanced, with a great tannins backbone that promises a long aging potential, the wine is tight as a rock on the palate. The finish is long with lingering spicy and fruity flavors. This will start to be more open in 3-4 years and has potential to last longer than any of the older vintages. (91/100)
According to Mr Balaban 2009 vintage was the best in the last 30 years for Dealu Mare. So naturally there are high expectations from this wine to prove itself in time.
As conclusions: one can notice the consistency of a style that aims for balance more than anything else. As much as the last vintages bring more intensity of flavors and appear to be fuller and rounder, all the wines tasted show a continuation of the same desired equilibrium. Nothing seems to be out of its place and the future wine seem to confirm this path.