Along with Feteasca Neagra and Feteasca Alba, there’s another Feteasca growing throughout Eastern European wine regions. Feteasca Regala grows widely in Romania and Moldova. Of all the Feteasca varieties, you’re most likely to encounter this white grape. The name roughly translates to royal maiden, as Feteasca means maiden and Regala means royal, hinting at the popularity of this rare variety. Well, rare outside of Eastern Europe. Though it’s becoming easier to find in wine shops and supermarkets depending on where you live.
The Variety: Feteasca Regala
While Feteasca Regala proliferates vineyards in Romania and Moldova, it’s most heavily concentrated in Dealu Mare and Transylvania regions of Romania. Feteasca Regala can withstand extreme temperatures during summer and winter. Consequently, the variety thrives in the continental climate of these countries. This grape struggles to grow in extremely dry, drought conditions and requires ample rainfall. Yet the variety is highly susceptible to botrytis and fungal disease, so it demands careful attention in the vineyard.
The first written mentions of Feteasca Regala date back to the 1930s. The lineage of this variety has mixed opinions. Some say its’ parents are Feteasca Alba and Grasa de Contari. Others believe the variety is an offspring of Francusa and Leanyka. Feteasca Regala rose to prominence under the communist regime because it was suitable for mass production. Additionally, this variety also grows in Hungary and Slovakia.
In the Glass
Feteasca Regala yields dry, fresh, and aromatic white wines. They tend to be richer in flavor than Feteasca Alba wines with flavors of tropical fruits, green apple, roses, and delicate florals. These wines are typically light bodied unless they’ve undergone oak aging. In the case of the latter, Feteasca Regala wines have good potential for aging. You’ll find both still and sparkling styles available.
The Winery: Kazayak Vin Winery
Founded in 1958 in the south of the Republic of Moldova, Kazayak is located at the same altitude as Bordeaux. Coupled with the mild climate and clay soils, Kazayak attracted a company of French winemakers called Ron Amivin. The French winemakers re-established the winery on the site of the original property, naming their new project Kazayak Vin.
The Wine: Kazayak Vin Winery, Feteasca Regala, Moldova 2018
Wines of Moldova generously gifted me this bottle of Feteasca Regala. Check them out if you’re interested in exploring Moldovan wines in the U.S. and for more resources on the unique wine heritage of this country.
A brilliant, medium intensity, yellow-green color in the glass, this Feteasca Regala bursts with aromas of green apple, pineapple, baby’s breath flowers, quince, and Bosc pear. Medium bodied on the palate with medium acidity and similar flavors with more lemon and orange citrus coming through.
The Wine Pairing
Pair Feteasca Regala with vegetable, seafood, or white meat dishes. This is the perfect match for scallops basted in citrus butter, roasted zucchini or bell peppers stuffed with goat cheese and herbs, a chicken salad sandwich or warm pitas with grilled chicken and tzatziki.