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6 4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t AS THE WORLD GROWS SMALLER, the world of wine seems to grow larger. New offerings from unusual places are showing up more and more frequently—especially from Eastern Europe, which has a long and proud winegrowing tradition but has, until very recently, been poorly represented in the States. Romania is a prime example. At a recent tasting at Hearth Restaurant in New York City, we spoke with Ioana Benga, Export Director for the country's important Jidvei Winery, about the versatility of pairing these exciting Romanian wines with food. We were in for some surprises. Romania falls within the same parallels of latitude as Italy's Piedmont and France's Bordeaux wine regions. Ideal for the production of white wines, the climate in the country's Transilvania (the preferred modern spell- ing) growing region is similar to that of Alsace, and the wines, like those from Alsace, are extremely aromatic and dry, with tiny amounts of residual sugar balanced by a considerable amount of acidity. Jidvei's DOC wines represent the perfect blend between tradition and, when it comes to taste profile, innovation. The Târnave DOC is "very good for the production of white wines," explains Benga, "especially the aromatic varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer." Benga explained that Jidvei boasts the largest planting of Sauvignon Blanc in Romania, representing over 500 hectares (1,235 acres). "Within this there are different altitudes, different exposures," notes Benga, which allow Jidvei to create several different manifestations of Sauvignon Blanc—a boon when one considers that Romania trends towards white wine for day-to-day consumption. "Romania is a country where wine is con- sumed in the household, much like Italy," Benga notes. NEW TERROIR Jidvei Presents Showstopping Romanian Wines WITH INNOVATIVE PAIRINGS (AND A SIDE OF TRADITION) by Karen Moneymaker

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