Rara Neagră: The Versatile Grape Variety with 80 Aliases and High Yields

Rara Neagră is considered to originate from the Nicoreşti vineyards in Galaţi County, Romania, as a direct descendant of wild vines. From this region, the variety has migrated in all directions, establishing plantations in southern Moldova and Vrancea. Rara Neagră is also known by other names such as Poama Rară, Băbească Neagră, and Serexia. In total, it has approximately 80 different names in various regions around the world.

“It is a highly productive variety, yielding very large quantities per hectare, up to 15 tons in good years and an average of 8-10 tons. Rara Neagră grapes are medium to large-sized, conical, with rare and non-uniform berries, and an average sugar content of 180 grams per liter. The variety is susceptible to frost but relatively resistant to diseases like downy mildew and phylloxera, though it is sensitive to powdery mildew and gray rot,” says Gheorghe Nicolaescu, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture at UTM.

Rara Neagră wine has a ruby-red color, medium to high fruitiness, and a light body, thanks to its moderately high tannins and acidity for a red wine. This indigenous wine variety can easily compete with internationally renowned wines.

Image Source: Gheorghe Nicolaescu

“In terms of aroma, it showcases both red fruit notes – sour cherries and dried plums – as well as floral tones such as violets, peonies, and irises. Taste-wise, the wine is light, with notes of red fruits supported by considerable acidity, with a subtle, delicate, lingering finish. Rara Neagră is structurally and aromatically similar to varieties like Pinot Noir, Cadarcă, Zweigelt, Gamay, St. Laurent, or Blaufrankisch,” the expert explains.

From the same grapes, a genuine Rose Rara Neagră is produced.

“It’s a distinct production method – the Saignée method, which involves extracting 25-30% of the must from the fermentation tank and refilling it with new must. This results in a light rosé wine. Even when aged in oak barrels, this wine is recommended to be consumed within 5 years of bottling,” the viticulture doctor adds.

In the Republic of Moldova, Rara Neagră is grown on nearly 190 hectares of vineyards. Most plantations are in the Cahul district, followed by Ştefan Vodă and the autonomous region of Gagauzia. Due to its susceptibility to frost, Rara Neagră is not cultivated in all northern regions of the country.


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