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Antinori releases first Romanian wine

Piero Antinori and John Halewood launch a new joint venture at Romania's Italian embassy tonight.

The Vitis Metamorfosis winery, owned by Marchese Antinori and UK drinks importer Halewood International, is releasing 13,000 bottles of the 2007 Cantus Primus, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Romania’s premier red wine district, Dealu Mare.

Romania-based oenologist Fiorenzo Rista, a partner in Metamorfosis, will oversee winemaking.

When the remaining 22ha are planted in 2010 the estate will total 106ha.

Other international varieties include Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. Native reds will be represented by Fetească Neagră and Negru de Dragasani with local aromatic whites Tămâioasă Românească, Feteascăs Alba and Regală, and Moscato Ottonel.

Antinori – a former Decanter Man of the Year – said he ‘firmly believes in the potential of Romanian viticulture’.

‘It has all the right ingredients to produce great wines: perfect climate, very good exposure, great terroirs.’

Halewood said they would be entering the wine in competitions throughout the world. ‘It’s not going to be a commercial thing for a while but we’ll get there.’

Cantus Primus will initially sell exclusively in Romania, with Antinori rolling it out in Italy and Halewood in the UK in 2010 or 2011.

According to Halewood’s Dan Muntean the handful of specialist stores in Romania will list it at €8-9.

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Written by David Furer

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