This recent Romanian cross is difficult to handle, but it can produce fresh, lively wines.
ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
Novac is a recent Negru Vîrtos x SAPERAVI cross obtained in 1987 by Mircea Mărculescu at the SCPVV research centre in Drăgășani, southwest Romania, in which Negru Vîrtos ('vigorous black') is an old Romanian variety no longer cultivated. Novac may be closely related to NEGRU DE DRĂGĂȘANI (see that entry).
Vigorous, productive, mid ripening, generally difficult to grow because it is sensitive to rain and susceptible to fungal diseases, and has a short harvest window. Compact bunches of thin-skinned berries.
WHERE IT'S GROWN AND WHAT ITS WINE TASTES LIKE
Novac is not only difficult in the vineyard but also in the winery, where the dark-fruit aromas may be lost, which is probably why Print Stirbey is currently the only producer of a varietal wine. Ot is usually blended with international varieties to give it more body. On its own, it can be fresh, juicy and distinctly nervy thanks to its high acidity. Tannins are generally pretty soft unless bolstered by oak but it ages surprisingly well over a few years. There were 42 ha (104 acres) under Novac in 2008, in Oltenia in the southwest and in Romania's Moldova in the northeast.