An ancient Romanian wine starts off our evening with Dracula

Roumanian wine - Tamaioasa Romaneasca Cotnari DOC

An evening with Dracula

The idea for our Dracula-themed dinner party this year stemmed from a bottle of wine we received at Christmas. Tāmâioasā is an indiginous grape variety from Romania, the Eastern European country that harbors Dracula’s castle in the province of Transylvania.

The grape variety is related to Muscat. The name means ‘incense’ in Romanian. This is apparent from the first sniff, which gives off a strong floral and honey scent tinged with orange, acacia, apricot,  and hay.

This pale straw wine has a medium-sweet, medium-bodied taste, with flavors of stone fruit, pear, honey, and citrus, followed by a long finish with hints of white spices. You can get it in Ontario at certain times (like Christmas) for the reasonable price of $13.05 a bottle at the LCBO.

Pairing the wine

I would have liked to serve it with foie gras. It would have been the perfect sweet accompaniment to balance the richness of a goose liver pate. And liver would have been an appropriate ingredient for Dracula’s palate, right?

But instead we settled on grilled and skewered halloumi wrapped in prosciuto. The semi-sweetness of the wine worked well with the salty and creamy texture of the cheese and cured ham.

And I’m sure you immediately see that skewering the cheese through its heart and pairing it with an ancient Romanian wine was an ideal beginning for our Dracula-themed dinner. The recipe will follow at some unknown time…

Naval Museum, Albenga

A thousand amphorae recovered from a ship sunk to the bottom of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the 1st century BC… perhaps they once contained a good Romanian Muscat?

Ancient,  indeed it is

Tămâioasă Românească is a grape variety with a tradition of over 2,000 years in Romania. The grape comes from the South of Greece, and it is one of the oldest varieties in the world. During the Antiquity, Muscat wines like this one were the most appreciated from all countries located on the Mediterranean. The wine,  which at that time was transported in amphorae, was considered as currency in commerce.

Of course, being semi-sweet, you can also serve it for dessert. I like it better than the much sweeter ice-wine, myself. It is best served very cold, perhaps from the freezer or over ice.

Roumanian wine - Tamaioasa Romaneasca Cotnari DOC

Noroc!

I think this is how Dracula might say “Cheers!”

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