Stories and Wines

Wine year in review

When I look back on the past year, I can’t help but think of all the moments that have left their mark on our lives, beautiful moments or not, which are a set of memories as we would never have expected to have. When I returned from Austria in March and all the madness started, I would not have thought that 2020 will be a completely different year, a year that will mark our existence and that we will definitely talk about for years to come.

I think the hardest moment for me was not to have the freedom to see my friends and family, to participate in the beloved wine tastings and wine events where we saw each other with pleasure and enjoyed beautiful moments together with other wine enthusiasts. It was a time to reflect though upon what we have right now and what we can lose, what we can achieve in the future and what we can do to make things happen.

This is a slightly different post as I will include moments and parts of articles written by me this past year, a short review about wines and the time spent with them during my first pandemic.

“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.”  Benjamin Franklin

Turning to the wines because this article is actually about them, I want to introduce you to some of the ones I had the opportunity to taste during these past months. And because the wine unties through stories and enchants our taste buds, the evenings in the garden, with social distancing of course, made time fly and now here we are on the beginning of a New Year.

Spring always starts for me with wines from Antonutti vineyard in the Friuli region of Italy. One of my favourites that I really enjoy every time is the Cabernet Franc. It stands out with its bright ruby red color, with notes of red fruits and herbaceous notes and on the palette a persistent long lasting after taste, a perfect balance that makes this wine ideal when enjoyed with friends.


The wine of conversation is of course on my list this year. The Cuve Visan Rose from Gramma is without a doubt one of my rose favorites. A blend of Fetească Neagră and Merlot, with subtle notes of strawberries and raspberries and a fresh and velvety aftertaste ideal for a hot summer or even for spring evenings, when the sun begins to be more indulgent with us. It always reminds me of the beautiful visit to the winery and the hospitality of the Olteanu family.


“If we sip the wine, we find dreams coming upon us out of the imminent night” – D. H. Lawrence

We return to beautiful Italy, more precisely in the Marche region to taste the Marotti Campi wines. It was the first time I had the opportunity to taste and enjoy them and I hope that the year 2021 will open again the possibility for us to travel because I really want to visit this winery in the region of Marche, to explore this dreamy countryside, the wines, the winery and its stories. It is a historic area that stands out with its two local varieties, Verdicchio and Lacrima, ancient and valuable grape varieties.

Albiano is obtained from 100% Verdicchio and stands out with its beautiful straw yellow color with slight green iridescence. The notes are subtle but well outlined we will notice the peach, green apples, jasmine and mineral notes at the end, it is dry, tasty and fresh.


We pass in the area of ​​rose wines belonging to the same winery, Rosato from Marotti Campi is obtained 100% from the Lacrima variety  with its beautiful color, a pale pink rose and notes of wild strawberry. Fresh and fruity on the palette, but delicate and well balanced in terms of acidity.


From the range of red wines belonging to the Marotti Campi winery we tasted Orgiolo. Obtained from 100% Lacrima, this wine is spectacular. Harvesting is done manually in small crates at the end of September, followed by maceration on the skin for 10-14 days, aging in small oak barrels for 12 months, followed by bottle aging for another six months. It is a full-bodied wine with an intense ruby ​​red color, with notes of pepper, black fruit and oriental spices.

Marotti Campi also impressed me with Xyris, a partially fermented must, sweet and fragrant, perfect for the summer evenings that will come next year. You can feel the grape on the palette, which makes it tasty and velvety and the intense and purple color makes you feel like you are in the Marche region, where Marotti Campi cultivates these grape varieties and carries on the tradition.


„My only regret in life is that I did not drink more wine.” – Ernest Hemingway

In August we had the opportunity to taste the wines belonging to the Thienpont Family in The Bordeaux area of France.  As a family originally from Flanders, they have dedicated their passion for wine to turning the magical liqueur into an emblem of this area since 1981 when it actually began the transition from production-oriented viticulture to one of excellence, which is maintained also today, and since 2009 and until now Nicolas Thienpont with his father have managed to become an appellation for the Francs Côtes-de-Bordeaux area.


“Wine is like love. It urges you to get lost in passion, to get lost in a dance of love, it makes you want more and makes you want to enjoy it in the right company. French wines have a special feeling and I wish you, the reader, to have the opportunity to taste Nicolas Thienpont’s wines to feel the magic of sunny France in a wine glass.”

„We are all mortals until the first kiss and the second glass of wine” – Eduardo Galeano

The most beautiful moments are the ones we share with our loved ones while enjoying a good wine and serving dishes that will delight our taste buds and make us think of the beautiful and sunny Italy. We had the great pleasure in September to enjoy the wonderful wines belonging to the two wineries, Antonutti and Collefrisio, together with the dishes prepared with passion by chef Antonio, in the Buongiorno – Cucina Fiorentina kitchen. The wines which I have already talked about in several posts and stories need to be tasted for those who did not yet have the chance.

The last event of the season was the launching of my personal concept, Wine Stories with Ileana Bocu. Unfortunately due to the Covid which ruined most of our moments this year we had to cut it short for now and reschedule future events for next year, when I truly hope to be able to relaunch these series of private evenings with stories and good wines, to spend endless and memorable moments with wine enthusiasts and friends.

2020 ended for me with some really good wines, but that is something that I will reveal next year as a new chapter will hopefully begin. For now I will close this chapter with a quote about fate, „Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.

Pics and text by Yle Balaceanu

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