The red-wine Fetească is a resurgent Moldovan variety, producing good-quality wine mainly in Romania.
MAIN SYNONYMS: Coada Randunicii (Romania, Republic of Moldova), Fetyaska Chernaya (Ukraine), Pasareasca Neagra (Republic of Moldova), Poama Fetei Neagra (Republic of Moldova), Schwarze Madchentraube (Romania).
ORIGINS AND PARENTAGE
Fetească Neagră, literally 'black young girl', is an old variety thought to have originated in the historical region of Moldova (including today's Republic of Moldova and Romania's eastern Moldova region), where it has been traditionally cultivated. Ot then spread west to Transylvania and Hungary. Contrary to Roy-Chevrier's (1903a) hypothesis, Fetească Neagră is not a colour mutation of FETEASCĂ ALBĂ, as evidenced by DNA profiling (Ghețea et al. 2010). Fetească Neagră shows significant biodiversity, with at least four distinct types (Dejeu 2004), suggesting it is relatively old.
Like FETEASCĂ ALBĂ, Fetească Neagră has often been said to have been domesticated from local wild grapevines by the Dacians but there is no evidence so far.
Very vigorous, mid budding and mid to late ripening. Compact bunches of thick-skinned berries. Resistant to drought, cold winter temperatures (to -22 °C/-8 °F) and botrytis bunch rot but susceptible to powdery mildew.
WHERE IT GROWS AND WHAT THE WINES TASTE LIKE
Fetească Neagră is indigenous to what is now the Republic of Moldova. However, it was not planted during the Soviet era and it more or less disappeared. Nevertheless, producers such as Cricova, Equinox, Et Cetera, Purcari and Chateau Vartely began replanting the variety in the late 2000s.
Fetească Neagră produces some of the Romania's best reds from the 1,088 ha (2,689 acres) planted mostly in the eastern Moldova region in and in Muntenia in the south. They are typically dry and full-bodied with intense, complex spicy aromas, both red and black fruit, especially ripe plums, and tannins that become velvety as they age. The variety has some similarity to BLAUFRANKISCH and can easily be over-oaked. Some semi-sweet and sweet wines are also produced, particularly for the domestic market. Recommended producers include Prince Știrbey, SERVE and Vinterra.
Ukraine's official vineyard statistics record approximately 1,600 ha (3,954 acres) in 2009 but they do not distinguish between the various varieties of Fetească.