A couple of years ago on one of the my first ever press trips I headed out to Romania. As it still is now, it was one of the last bastions of good quality, but relatively cheap wine that supermarkets the world over are begging for.
At the time I was impressed by owner Phil Cox and his plans of expansion at the already sizeable Cramele Recas (30m bottle output this year). But it was all well and good hiding the very (and increasingly unfairly) stereotyped “wine of Romania” behind the supermarket’s own label, but how would the booze buying public react when they decided to throw out their own label with its origin front and centre?
A couple of weeks back, I was sent a bottle of their new label Pinot Grigio which is available across the UK at Spar for just shy of £7. So I went for a taste test with the boys and girls from my cricket team on a trip down to a T20 at Lords.
Complete blind tasting they reckoned somewhere between £10 and £15, French or German origin.
I showed them the bottle, with its “Pinot Grigio” and “Romania” emblazoned all over it. They were thrown by the Pinot Grigio bit the most. It’s Alsatian Pinot Gris style wine (fuller bodied and aromatic), but they pikey the Italian spelling due to the popularity of Pinot Grigio with us Brits.
Lovely wine, and got the thumbs up from all drinkers.
And a big well done to Spar for going for it too. Would have been easy to ask Cramele Recas to be more subtle with the labelling, but where’s the fun in that, eh?