Excellence Awards 2023 (15th edition) Excellence Awards 2023 (15th edition)

For 15 years now has been organizing " Excellence Awards", a competition dedicated to Romanian wineries that are invited to enter their wines in the competition.

For the third year in a row I had the pleasure of being part of the jury that analyzed the approximately 180 wines that entered in the competition. There were 5 Commissions, each with 5-6 jurors, a total of 28 professionals (oenologists, licensed tasters, sommeliers, Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) diploma holders, wine merchants and specialist tour operators). The tasting was done in blind - without knowing which wines they are and from which wineries. During the judging, each panel noted the appearance, aromas, taste, aftertaste and general balance of the given samples (the 180 wines were divided into 5 panels, each panel judging a number of approximately 36 wines) and noted the scores in a computer system specially designed for such organoleptic examinations.

As in the last two years, it was a special experience because I had the opportunity to see dear people again, but also to meet new people from the world of wine and at the same time to try wines that I did not know. And there was something else: within the Commission number 4 of which I was part of, we noticed a higher quality of the wines we judged, which is why our commission scored more wines with Gold Medal points than in previous years. This thing seems to have been noticed by the other commissions because, as Cezar Ioan, the organizer of the competition, says, "This year we were forced to award more medals than the self-imposed limit of 1/3 of the total number would have allowed of registered samples: if in the past editions we gave up on awarding Silver Medals to the wines that were within the scoring margin that would have entitled them to this medal but had not been registered in the first third of the final order, this year it seemed to us unfair not to award Gold Medals to all the wines that met the required score. For the first time, in 2023, Silver Medals were no longer awarded – a pleasing fact for the overall quality of the samples presented and the way participating wineries have knew how to select the wines that would represent them honorably in the competition."

The scores for awarding the medals were:
  • Great Gold Medal - over 95 points (out of a possible maximum of 100)
  • Gold Medal - wines scored between 90 and 94 points
The judging of the awards took place, for the third consecutive year, in the generous natural and architectural setting of the wine-gastrotourism and well-being resort Casa Timiș, from Dealu Mare (as I wrote in this article) and the results were publicly announced for the first time as part of a special event celebrating the Romanian National Gastronomy and Wine Day organized by the host location on October 1st (according to Law 79/2019, this Day falls every year on the first Sunday of October).

And, since we're talking about the medal winning wines, here they are:


(>95 points, listed below in alphabetical order)
  • ANNO Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, Licorna Winehouse
  • BUDUREASCA PREMIUM Fetească neagră 2020, Budureasca )
  • CASA TIMIȘ Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, Casa Timiș
  • INCANTATION 2020, Domeniile Dealu Mare Urlați (Cabernet Sauvignon & Fetească neagră)
  • MIGALĂ Cuvee roșu 2019, Crama deMatei (Fetească neagră, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • VIZIONAR roșu 2021, Domeniul Aristiței (Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc)

GOLD medaled white wines
  • ANNO 5 FLORA Fetească albă (demisec) 2022, Licorna Winehouse
  • ASTRUM CERVI Fetească regală demisec 2022, Crama Ceptura (și BEST IN CLASS pentru categoria Fetească regală)
  • BUDUREASCA PREMIUM Chardonnay sec 2022, Budureasca
  • CARPATHIA CHARDONNAY sec 2021, Viti-Pomicola Sâmburești
  • CONU ALBU Chardonnay barrique sec 2022, Crama Viișoara
  • DOMENIILE BOHOTIN Tămâioasă românească sec 2022, Domeniile Bohotin
  • EDIȚIE SPECIALĂ Fetească albă sec 2022, Domeniile Dealu Mare Urlați (și BEST IN CLASS pe categoria Fetească albă)
  • FAIN CUVEE ALB sec 2022, Strunga Winery (Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc & Muscat Ottonel
  • GEWURZTRAMINER PREMIUM demisec 2022, Villa Vinea
  • GRAMOFON CUVEE ALB sec 2020, Gramofon Wine (Fetească regală & Muscat Ottonel & Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay)
  • LA CETATE Tămâioasă românească demisec 2022, Crama Oprișor (BEST IN CLASS la categoria Tămâioasă românească)
  • MAGNUS MONTE Fetească regală sec 2022, Crama Ceptura
  • ORGANIC Sauvignon Blanc sec 2022, Budureasca
  • PIETROASA RESEARCH & INNOVATION Fetească albă sec 2021, SCDVV Pietroasa
  • PIETROASA REZERVA Riesling italian Clona 1SC1 sec 2019, SCDVV Pietroasa
  • ROSTURI ALB sec 2022, Crama deMatei (Fetească regală & Fetească neagră vinificată în alb)
  • SAUVIGNON & SAUVIGNON PREMIUM demisec 2022, Budureasca
  • SPECTRUM FETEASCĂ REGALĂ sec 2021, Domeniile Averești
  • SPECTRUM ZGHIHARĂ sec 2021, Domeniile Averești
  • STRUNGA BARRIQUE Chardonnay sec 2022, Strunga Winery
  • TABU Muscat & Riesling italian demisec 2022, Domeniile Caraman
  • TATA ȘI FIUL Fetească albă sec 2022, Crama Tata și Fiul
  • TRAVIATA ACTUL I Fetească regală sec 2022, Crama Bratu
  • WEINLAND Fetească regală demidulce 2022, Jidvei
Gold-medaled rose wines
  • CAII DE LA LETEA PRINCEPS ROSE sec 2022, Via Viticola Sarica Niculițel (Fetească neagră & Pinot Noir & Syrah)
  • CARPATHIA ROSE sec 2022, Viti-Pomicola Sâmburești (Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot)
  • GRAND PERE ROSE Merlot sec 2021, Crama Bratu
  • MAGNUS MONTE ROSE Merlot sec 2022, Crama Ceptura
  • TRAVIATA ACTUL II Fetească neagră sec 2022, Crama Bratu

GOLD medal red wines
  • ANTIK FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2019, Crama Viișoara
  • ARHON MERLOT sec 2017, Domeniul Drăgași
  • CANTVS PRIMVS MERLOT sec 2020, Viile Metamorfosis
  • CARPATHIA Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot sec 2021, Viti-Pomicola Sâmburești
  • CASA TIMIȘ Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz sec 2020, Casa Timiș
  • CASA TIMIȘ EXPERIENCE sec 2013, Casa Timiș (Cabernet Sauvignon & Fetească neagră)
  • CASA TIMIȘ FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2020, Casa Timiș
  • CUPIDO CUPAJ ROȘU demisec (fără an de recoltă menționat), ANNWINE
  • CUVEE ALEXANDRU Cabernet Sauvignon sec 2017, SERVE
  • CUVEE GULILAUME sec 2021, SERVE (Pinot Noir & Fetească neagră)
  • DUH ROȘU sec 2019, Domeniul Bogdan (Fetească neagră & Merlot & Shiraz)
  • EPIPHANIE Fetească neagră sec 2019, Via Viticola Sarica Niculițel
  • EUFORIA FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ demisec 2022, Cramele Cotnari
  • CUVEE ROȘU GRAMOFON WINE sec 2020, Gramofon Winery (Fetească neagră & Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • LA ȚIGĂNCI FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ demisec 2020, Velvet Winery
  • LA ȚIGĂNCI FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2022, Velvet Winery
  • LEGIO RESERVE ROȘU sec 2020, Domeniile Ostrov (Cabernet Sauvignon & Fetească neagră & Merlot)
  • MAGNUS MONTE Fetească neagră sec 2021, Crama Ceptura
  • MĂIASTRU MERLOT demisec 2021, Crama Oprișor
  • MISTER S EDIȚIE LIMITATĂ sec 2021, Crama Ferdi
  • NASUL CAVALERULUI sec 2018, SERVE (Merlot & Fetească neagră & Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • NOBLE 5 ROȘU sec 2020, Budureasca (Shiraz & Merlot & Fetească neagră & Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir)
  • ORIGINI CABERNET SAUVIGNON sec 2020, Budureasca
  • ORIGINI RESERVE sec 2018, Budureasca (Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot & Shiraz)
  • PATIMA DUPĂ MATEI Fetească neagră sec 2020, Crama deMatei
  • PĂTRAR SHIRAZ sec 2018, Domeniul Bogdan
  • PELERIN MERLOT sec 2016, Domeniul Drăgași
  • PRINCE MIRCEA NEGRU DE DRĂGĂȘANI sec 2021, Domeniile Vinarte
  • PRINCE VLAD FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2021, Vie-Vin Vînju Mare
  • PRINCE VLAD CABERNET SAUVIGNON sec 2021, Vie-Vin Vînju Mare
  • ROSTURI ROȘU sec 2020, Crama deMatei (Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon & Fetească neagră)
  • SELECTION FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2018, Villa Vinea
  • STRUNGA Fetească neagră sec 2020, Strunga Winery
  • VALEAEDEN FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ sec 2017, Crama Valeaeden
  • VALEAEDEN MERLOT sec 2018, Crama Valeaeden
  • VAST ROȘU sec 2020, DAVINO (Cabernet Sauvignon & Fetească neagră & Merlot)
The complete list of medaled wines can be found here.

Credit photo & video: Călin Stan

Carmina Nițescu & Winesday App

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