17 Jan 2022

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MARAMA- Stories from the Crown Domain Segarcea
Romanian Wine Reviews

MARAMA- Stories from the Crown Domain Segarcea 

Wine is among the few drinks for which the stories woven around them can bring them up to a  sacred level. In fact, without a story around it, wine is flat and worthless. It comes to life when it is connected to a place, a man, or a success.

The Segarcea Crown Domain has understood so well this aspect that the new line, created exclusively from Romanian grapes (Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Tămâioasă Românească, Tămâioasă Roză, and Fetească Neagră) called Marama (native word for the traditional feminine headpiece) and dedicated to Queen Mary, has a legendary aura.

Why MARAMA? Why Queen Marie?

Part of the traditional Romanian costume, Marama represents the most delicate fabric, made of cotton or natural silk, embroidered with motives depicting life, death, nature, and the cosmos. This piece of material, 3-4 meters long, was one of the hardest to sew with decorative patterns because of the sheerness of the material.

A parallel with winemaking, in this case, is not forced. Creating a good wine means playing with sensitive elements, from hand-picking the grapes during harvest, pressing, controlling the temperature, deciding the time spent on the lees, and much more. Any exaggeration can irreparably destroy the whole fabric.

The second reason for this name is a symbolic association with Queen Marie, the foreign princess, who managed to become one of the best Romanians, even during wartime. She adopted and adapted the popular costume to prove her attachment to the country. She has also started a wave of love towards national values among the ladies in high society and her children.

regina maria marama domenul coroanei segarcearegina maria marama domenul coroanei segarcea

She wrote in her diary:

“Sunday, July 22 / August 4, 1918. Bicaz. My Name Day, St. Mary Magdalene. Splendid weather, but quite warm. I wore my entire Romanian costume, but I put on the most elegant white-silver blouse, the thick, crimson skirt, the color of red wine, the wide waistband with a gold-plated gold buckle and the white scarf wrapped around the forehead, over the veil, as some peasants wear; It looks good on me. Besides, a pearl necklace and my cross with diamonds – the overall look was still very national, but I had a festive vibe.”

The day of the National Costume at the (former) Royal Palace

The launch of the Marama wine collection took place on the 24th of June, which is also the day of the Romanian blouse (IE), in the living room of the Royal Palace in Bucharest, which is now the National Art Museum.

This is a place that once hosted “kings and princes, including some of the presidents of Romania, where they received their foreign guests and talked with the government. In this impressive hall, treaties were signed, and some of the critical Romanian history pages were written “, as Medea Marinescu, who opened the festivities, explained.

Amongst the famous guests were the prince Radu Duda, the academician Răzvan Theodorescu, the Minister Nicolae Noica, the director of the Peles Museum in Sinaia Dr. Narcis Dorin Ion and Tudor Gheorghe, the famous singer. Each of them portrayed various aspects of the personality of Queen Mary or the owners of the Segarcea Crown Domain, the Anghel family. The Anghels managed to restore the Crown Domain by making significant investments in both the structural part and technology.

The ceremony ended with the speech of Radu Rizea, an expert in communication and wine, who explained the importance of having a line of wines created exclusively from native varieties, in the chaotic landscape of Romanian winemaking. The historical arguments he highlighted proved why this area is still looking for its voice compared to other European spaces.

The Segarcea Crown Domain has a fascinating history, stretching over 130 years, in which it has gone through a sinuous road from the model enterprise of Carol I to the provider of the modern Royal House. The Segarcea estate was an example of how a royal domain can be organized for profit. The money would be reinvested to increase the quality of life of the inhabitants in that area. With the funds obtained from agriculture, schools, dispensaries, and houses were built.

The MARAMA wines- personal notes

Developed in 17 years of research, these wines aim to become text-book definitions of the native Romanian grape varieties from this “much-dreamed land” (translation of the Latin name). The beauty of simplicity characterizes the resulting wines.

I would always give as a present any of the wines from this collection, which covers a generous range of tastes and flavors, but for my pleasure, I would buy:

  • Feteasca Regală-  a wine with a beautiful body rounded by the time spent on yeast, gourmet gingerbread notes, honey, and candied fruits, and some apricot flavor. Excellent minerality that gives it freshness and flavor.
  • Tămâioasă Roză – The signature variety of the Crown Domain was fermented up to a dry expression, a bold move for a wine that has been known as semi-sweet. The surprise is that the wine keeps the entire aromatic complexity of pink flowers: peonies, English roses, and the taste brings citric notes (grapefruit). Indeed my favorite wine from all six.
  • Feteasca Neagră (red)-Although there is also the rose version, I prefer this signature-expression. It is one of the few unoaked Feteasca neagra from Romania. The advantage is that one can better understand what this variety is all about and why it might become a country brand. Fruity, with red notes (cherries, sour cherries), but also black (currants, prunes), it is rustic, but authentic, reminding of the taste of home-made fruit tarts with freshly picked berries from the garden.

Memories or actions?

Beyond the elegance of the reception at the place, and the pleasure of sharing good wine with friends, the echoes of crucial questions about the conservation of heritage items remain. What does the state do for the representative buildings? What is the legacy of the Royal House? Happy cases such as the takeover by the Anghel Family of the Crown Domains are too few to ensure the survival of the national identity.

In this context, wine can be an excellent pretext to create and perpetuate stories that sensitize and generate concrete actions.

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