Un interviu inedit

miercuri, 15 aprilie 2015

In urma cu aproximativ 2 saptamani, am primit propunerea inedita de a acorda un interviu unui blog de specialitate din Franta. Mai exact, este vorba despre un magazin online de vinuri din Languedoc, proprietarul acestuia avand pe site si o sectiune de tip blog. Nu stiu exact cum a dat de insignifianta mea platforma dar acum chiar nu mai conteaza. Suspect din fire, am crezut initial ca m-am pricopsit cu un soi de spam dar, dupa ce am primit intrebarile (nu putine), m-am linistit.

Pe langa minutul personal de celebritate, am considerat ca acest interviu a fost si o buna oportunitate ca cei din afara sa afle cateva informatii din interior despre vinul romanesc si producatorii sai importanti. Din motive lesne de inteles, versiunea finala a interviului a fost tradusa in limba franceza si il puteti accesa aici: http://blog.midi-vin.com/rencontre-avec/wine-blogger-ciprian-vinul-si-pasiunea-007837. Deoarece nu foarte multi sunt familiarizati cu franceza, m-am gandit sa public pe blog varianta originala a interviului, cea in limba engleza. Ii multumesc inca o data lui Sylvain pentru aceasta oportunitate. Si, nu in ultimul rand, multumesc sotiei mele, Diana, cea care m-a ajutat din plin la corecturi si sugestii privind forma finala a raspunsurilor. Enjoy!

You and your blog :
Who are you and what is Vinul si Pasiunea ?

- Ok, let's begin. My name is Ciprian Haret, a wine addict and also a wine blogger from Romania. Vinul si Pasiunea (roughly translated into English, The Wine and the Passion) is the name of my blog and it all started in 2009. That would be the short version :)

What was your wine experience before launching your site ?

- I had already become keen on wines before launching my blog. I tasted some great wines in the past, including some first growths from Bordeaux (Haut-Brion, Margaux) and, of course, many Romanian wines. I must say I am addicted to Bordeaux (especially the mature examples) and to other French wine regions like Rhone or Beaujolais, for example. I also enjoy drinking Rioja, South African wines, German Rieslings and Barolo/Barbaresco. I tried wines from all over the world but I ended up focusing on certain regions.

You’ve noticed that many wine bloggers have become influent in the last few years. Who are the key wine bloggers you would suggest people to follow ?

- Yes, indeed, there are some wine bloggers who became influential during the past few years. Mostly, I read British bloggers such as: Chris Kissack (Winedoctor), Jamie Goode or Jim Budd. From the American land, I enjoy reading Tyler Coleman (Dr. Vino), Richard Jennings or Allen Meadows (Bourghound). Unfortunately, I don't know much about French wine blogging because I'm not that familiar with the language. I really don't like making suggestions and I think everyone is entitled to read whichever blogger or blog they prefer. Wine is a matter of personal taste and so are the wine blogs in my opinion :)

How did your passion turn into running a blog about wine ? What motivated you at first ?

- Well, I don't know exactly, to be frank. I think it came as a natural extension of my passion. I just wanted to share my opinions on different wines to people who would like to know more about this subject. So, having the blogger platform at my disposal, it became quite easy to turn my thoughts into words.  

How long has your blog been online ? How much traffic does it get?

- As I've mentioned before, my blog has been online since 2009. Regarding the traffic, I don't care much about this aspect. Let's say there are over 170 views daily, irrespective of whether I post an article or not. It's OK for me, because wine blogging is really a tight niche in Romania. Depending on the subject of the article, the traffic may increase or decrease. I don't check my traffic daily so I can't give you too many details about it.

About wine, Romanian wines and the region Languedoc Roussillon :

According to you, what is a "good wine" ? What do you expect from a wine tasting session ?

- Oh, that's a tough question! For me, a good wine is the one I like. Of course there are a lot of good wines these days but, as a personal opinion, the pleasure factor should be the one that really matters. I can say about a wine that is good or very good (technically speaking) but, at the same time, it may happen not to like it so much. I don't know if it makes any sense to you, but that's the way I see things about wine. I don't like the New World style, with bags of jammy fuit and drowned in high levels of alcohol. Still, I do recognize there are well made wines in this certain style but they're just not bringing much joy to my table. I prefer medium bodied, elegant, fresh and balanced wines. That's why I think France is still unbeatable at these kinds of wines.

Another key factor that may turn a wine into a fine one is the context in which that wine is consumed. The jollier the atmosphere, the tastier the wine. It's all about your perception at a certain moment, in certain conditions. The same wine may taste different depending on the context. That's why the wine world is such a tricky and subjective matter.

And from a wine tasting session I expect nothing more than great wines, in the good company of family or friends :)

Are you more into nature wine, organic wine, biodynamic wine or do you simply focus on hedonism, immediate and ephemeral pleasure?

- Well, I think I am a person of ephemeral pleasure whent it comes to wine. I really don't care if it's organic, natural, biodynamic or whatsoever. If a wine is well made and brings pleasure to the table, nothing else matters. I truly think that all the buzz for the natural/organic/biodynamic movement is unnecessary. My wine is better than yours because it's natural? That's just wrong an I hope this will not become some sort of religious cult. It's a place for everyone in the wine world and the producers should let the consumer decide if their wines are good or not. So, yes, I prefer hedonism over some useless debates on artificial subjects.

Tell us about viticulture in Romania ?Is it developing in Romania ? Is there a Romanian community of wine blogs ?
- Unfortunately, the almost 50 years of communism left  the Romanian viticulture in a state of perpetual degradation. The things have certainly improved in the last 25 years but at a very slow pace. Due to foreign investors, massive European funds and some enthusiastic Romanian entrepreneurs, things have changed for the better. There are still a lot of problems but we can only hope that one day the Romanian wines will get the recognition they deserve.

There is a community of wine blogs but it's beginning to lack a bit of freshness. On the one hand, we have the independent bloggers who write mainly for the sake of wine itself. On the other hand, there are wine bloggers trying to make some money out of it. I can understand that, but what bothers me the most is they are hiding their agenda behind the veil of a fake independence. I would like to see more and more wine bloggers in this community but, unfortunately, the things are moving slower just like the wine industry itself.

What are the characteristics of Romanian wine ? Is there a qualitative effort in order to reach international markets ?
- After all these years, I still don't know if there are any special characteristics of the Romanian wine. There is a lot of potential for quality wines here but we are still searching for our own identity. Romanian wines aren't competitive enough for the moment, to gain prestige on international markets. Yes, there is quality in many cases but the prices are sometimes too high compared to what you can find abroad, at the same quality level. To conclude, we are still attempting to define ourselves as a wine producing country.

Are there native varieties in Romania? Are they preserved? developed ?
- Yes, there are quite a few native grape varieties in Romania. Just to name the most important ones, in my opinion: Feteasca Neagra, Feteasca Alba, Grasa, Feteasca Regala, Novac, Cramposie, Tamaioasa Romaneasca and Babeasca Neagra (a soft red, similar in style and expression with a Gamay). Some of the varieties mentioned above are well preserved but I would like to see more plantings of indigenous grapes. Unfortunately, we are still focusing too much on international varieties and I don't think it is a good choice for the long term. But this would be a very long discussion...

What are the Romanian wineries to be followed ?

- First of all, I would mention Davino, probably the most exquisite Romanian wine producer. Then, according to my preferences: SERVE (the first foreign investment after the communist regime), Vinarte, Stirbey, Nachbil, Balla Geza (Wine Princess). Very good wines are also produced by Recas, M1 Crama Atelier (the premium division of the more famous Murfatlar Winery), Avincis, Oprisor, Rotenberg, Averesti, Corcova, Budureasca, Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea, Basilescu. This is not an extensive list by any means, there are even many more producers focusing on quality.

Can you give us a typically Romanian wine and food pairing ?
- I must admit I'm not much of a specialist when it comes to this. One of the most famous traditional Romanian dish is called "sarmale" (meat rolls in cabbage) and I think it pairs well with a young Feteasca Neagra or a Merlot.

What are your favorite wines and winemakers in Romania ?
- OK, let's begin with my favorite wines: Flamboyant, Domaine Ceptura Rouge, Revelatio and Davino Rezerva white (Davino); Cuvee Charlotte, Cuvee Amaury and Cuvee Guy de Poix Feteasca Neagra (SERVE); Prince Matei Merlot and Soare Cabernet Sauvignon (Vinarte); Novac, Tamaioasa Romaneasca and Vitis Vetus Sauvignon Blanc (Stirbey); Syrah and Pinot Noir (Nachbil); Furmint, Feteasca Neagra and Cabernet Franc (Wine Princess/Balla Geza). Again, these are just the first names that spring to my mind.

Favorite winemakers: Bogdan Costachescu (Davino), Aurel Rotarescu (SERVE), Oliver Bauer (Stirbey), Balla Geza (Wine Princess), Gabi Lacureanu (Licorna Winehouse) and Iustin Urucu (Vinarte).

You speak rarely of Languedoc Roussillon wine on your blog (only one article on Moulin de Gassac found on your blog). Are the wines of this region difficult to get in Romania ?
- Actually, I think I've written more about Languedoc wines :) You can also find tasting notes on Paul Mas, Domaine Clavel, Chateau Veredus and my favorite Languedoc wine so far, the 2001 Mas de Daumas Gassac rouge. In fact, concerning French wines, Languedoc is quite a strong presence in some of our importers' portfolio. Why am I not more into Languedoc wines? I'm not sure, it may be the style that I'm not so fond of. Or maybe I'm just getting old and prefer to stay on solid ground. I'm no longer interested in experiencing new regions anymore. And if I were, that would be only for the fun side.

How would you define Languedoc-Roussillon as a wine region ?
- Since I don't have much experience with the region, it's hard for me to define it. But I know that Languedoc has witnessed a sort of revolution in terms of quality and winemaking techniques. So I guess the future is bright for the region and its wines.

What are your favorite wines and winemakers in Languedoc Roussillon ?
- Not tasting many Launguedoc wines so far, the answer is easy: Mas de Daumas Gassac and, of course, its winemaker, Samuel Guibert. 

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