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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 6 5 PHOTOS :THINKSTOCK Throughout the tasting, our conversation veered towards the cuisine of Romania, and what is commonly paired with the Jidvei wines at home. "Pairing Romanian wine with Romanian food is a tricky subject," notes Benga, "since there is no unique Romanian cuisine, but rather different cuisines influ- enced by the way Romania was divided between the Russian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian Empires." Also, since Romanians drink more white than red, they manage to have some unorthodox pairings. "We drink a lot of white wine, even with barbecue." (When asked what Romanian barbecue looks like, Benga explains that it is "open fire and meat, with a little salt and pepper.") Benga also noted that with its abundance of backyard gardens, Romania could be the center of a farm-to-table movement at the micro-level. With this plethora of homegrown produce, pickling is a time-honored tradi- tion in Romania. "We all have an aunt or a grandmother who cans and pickles," laughs Benga. In addition to barbecue and pickles, we found these traditional Romanian dishes that we would love to pair with the Jidvei wines. Sarmale is a popular Romanian dish of minced meat wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves. "Sarma" is derived from the Turkish verb meaning "to roll" and is the same family of dishes that brings us Greek dolmas. A glass of Jidvei 2015 Premiat Sauvignon Blanc or the Jidvei 2015 Nec Plus Ultra Sauvignon Blanc Demi-Sec is divine with a plate of freshly rolled sarmale. Cozonac is a traditional Romanian sweet leavened bread made from flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar and salt. Depending on which part of Romania you are in, you will find a range of assorted trimmings such as raisins, rum, cocoa powder, walnuts and citrus zest. Made and served most often around the major holidays, Cozonac would pair nicely—year round—with the Jid- vei 2015 Gewurztraminer Demi-Sec and Jidvei 2015 Nec Plus Ultra Chardonnay Demi-Sec. While Hearth owner Chef Marco Canora put forth thoughtful and inventive pairings with the Jidvei wines, Benga explained that Roma- nia, like much of Eastern Europe after World War II, fell under the dominion of Communism, where the idea of "equality" bolstered quantity over quality in wine production and winemaking was handled by large, government-run cooperatives. After the fall of Communism in 1989, the focus began to shift back to the long-term goal of quality winemaking, a trend that has picked up steam since the privatization of the Jidvei vineyards in 1999. As lunch at Hearth wound down, we marveled at the contrasts intrin- sic to the Jidvei: youthful yet sage, vibrant but without being showy. These contrasts are understandable given the timeline and history of Jidvei. Ioana Benga, Export Director for Jidvei Winery. The Cuisine of Romania: Unusual Pairings PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG Roasted cauliflower with raisins, mint and wild rice and cecina (cured meat) with olive tapenade. Owner/Chef Marco Canora of Hearth with the second course, Campo Rosso chicories with bagna cauda, parmesan and quinoa. Grilled pork chop with pork sausage, kale, apple and balsamic. CHEESE Pria Azul from Spain, Roomano Gouda from Netherlands FIRST SECOND MAIN ■cr

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