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In the last century the pale, honeyed sweet wines of Cotnari acquired a certain reputation alongside Hungarian Tokaji. In the Cotnari region in the north-east of Romania, near the city of lasi, autumns are usually dry and sunny, which enables the grapes to be left on the vines until late in the season so they become dehydrated and shrivelled and their Juice rich and concentrated. Noble rot is rare, occurring only in exceptional years.

Cotnari is made from Grasa, Feteasca Alba, Tamaiioasa Romaneasca and Francusa (all of which may also be found as single-varietal wines). Grasa provides richness and can be susceptible to noble rot; Feteasca Alba contributes finesse; Tamaiioasa, said to smell of frankincense, gives aroma; and Francusa adds acidity to a wine that could otherwise be
cloyingly sweet.

Each variety is vinified separately and then blended, usually 30% each of Grasa and Feteasca Alba and 20 % each of Tamaiioasa and Francusa. Large oak barrels are used, both for fermentation and maturing the wine for a couple of years before bottling. Cotnari can age well, especially from the best vintages.

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