Babeasca Neagra grapes
Origin and History
Wine Ampelographers think that this grape is an ancient variety with the earliest documentation of the grape in the early 14th century.
While the grape is grown throughout Moldova and Romania, the region which is commonly related as the origin of Babeasca Neagra is the region of Nicoresti in Galati County in the East Romania which borders Moldova.
The name Babeasca neagra originated from the Romanian term meaning “Grandmother’s black”. Most wines made from Babeasca Neagra are fruity, light-bodied red wines.
As it is an old variety of grape, Babeasca Neagra established major clonal variations such as Copceac- a version with big berries, Coada Vulpii (Foxtail) – a version having a cylindrical extended bunch and Coada Randunicii (Swallowtail)- a version with a bisected bunch.
It has also made two color mutations over the years which includes pink-berried version known as Sereksyia in Finger Lakes and Babeasca gri in Romania and a white-berried version called Babeasca Alba.
Regions Where It Is Grown
It is cultivated in Romania in the Wllachia, Dobruja and Moldovia regions and in the south Moldova. This makes Babeasca Neagra the 2nd most widely grown grape variety in Romania.
In Romania, there were 4516 hectares in 2008. Significant plantings can also be seen in Odobesti in Vrancea County and along the Danube River where there is sandy soil for the vineyard.
It is also present in New York, Ukraine and United States, where the grape is called Sereksia. On limited acreages, Babeasca Neagra can be found in the region of the Finger Lakes of New York State, where this grape was successfully grown by Konstantin Frank.
Known as Sereksiya Charni here, the grape is used to produce a fruity, aromatic red wine combined with Saperavi. In Moldova, this grape ripens late that provides the red wines which are particularly rich in acidity and may show a prominent fruity flavor.
It was liable for the eminence of Purcari wines in the 19th century. This grape variety is used as a major blending part I Negru de Purcari which is a Purcari wine.
Babeasca Neagra is famous under several synonyms over the years such as Asil Kara, Babeasca, Babiasca niagra, Bobiaska niagra, Chernyi Redkii, Cracana, Grossmuttertraube. Koldursha, Krekanat, Cracanata, Goldaroucha, Koldaroucha, Racanata, Rastrepa, Rekhavo Grazdi, Riedkym, Richkiriata, Rimtsurate, Rastriopa, Rishi Rate, Rindsourata, Rymourate, Rychkirate, Serectia, Serexia, Stropatyi, Sesser, Tcheurnaia, Tsotler, Tsotlyar, Ryshkirate, Rastreppa, Rastriopa, Redkyi Chernyi, Rara Neagra etc.
Characteristics of Grape
The wine produced by this grape shows complex aromas of cranberries and red currant (bright red fruit) and hints of cinnamon and dry flower.
The Grape variety of Babeasca Neagra is semi-dry and contains 13% alcohol level. The temperature should be maintained from 18 to 20⁰ Celsius.
Babeasca neagra is a grape variety which ripens late and is also a wine which buds from the mid-to-late season, contributing to the resistance to the early spring frost like viticulture hazards and winter hardiness of grape.
Babeasca neagra is capable of tolerating temperatures as less than -18⁰ C during the cold winters of Eastern Europe.
However, the medium-sized, very loose bunches of berries with thin skin are very vulnerable to the viticulture hazards of powdery and downy mildew and botrytis bunch rot along with drought in the growing season.
Characteristics of Wine
According to Jancis Robinson, the Master of Wines, this grape has a tendency to produce light-bodied, fruity, pale red wines with a prominent acidity and a typical sour cherry flavor.
The color mutation which has pink Berries, Babeasca Gri produces white wines with stony minerality and lime notes which have a long lasting finish.
The color of the wine is ruby red while the taste is of cinnamon, green pepper and cherry fruit.
Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂