Quiet, walking slowly on one of the most beautiful roads. A certain melancholy, specific to the autumn and the place. A warm, golden light that captures everything with it and creates thousands of small, discreet sparkles around. The most beautiful colors, vivid and at the same time so warm – red, yellow and green, all together. Harmony. The feeling that time stands still, again and again, that not a minute of your life passes by stepping on the path that opens a world to you, beyond the gate. Well-being, in every image, feeling, emotion, sound and taste. Earth and people.
We arrived at Tohani Mansion, today Apogeum Mansion. We delight our eyes in the sweet light of September and imagine that we have entered the gate of an old mansion in Tuscany. That’s how we feel. We are surrounded by the natural tranquility of the place, its simplicity, the distant charm and peace.
We learn that it was one of the residences of Prince Nicolae, the brother of King Carol II. The fourth child of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria lived a beautiful love story with Ioana Dumitrescu Doletti, the daughter of Iorgu Dumitrescu from Tohani. The two married on October 28, 1931, violating the Statute of the Royal House, the ceremony taking place in Tohani. Here Prince Nicolae and Ioana Doletti lived a beautiful period. And today Apogeum Winery keeps the original page from the civil status register, where both of the signatures appear.
Apogeum Mansion was taken over and after an intense restoration process, it was inaugurated in the autumn of 2018, receiving the name after the winery where the appreciated and valuable Fetească Neagră is produced.
Pages of history, vineyards, old buildings and new dreams
Today Apogeum Mansion offers the most beautiful experience, among pages of history, vines, old buildings and new dreams. The simple walk through the courtyard of the estate becomes an incursion in time, to the days of the past. The Small Mansion, in which we were also accommodated, inaugurated in 2021, offers 14 rooms decorated with simple details, in a relaxed and subtle style, offering at the window the image of the vineyard, the old trees and the most beautiful sunsets. The Mansion, with 5 rooms and a royal apartment, really takes you to the 1930s, through architectural details, furniture and accents, even if the style of decorating the rooms visibly adapts to the present time. But we notice the preservation of the old style, original objects and authentic pieces in the common spaces, especially in the restaurant, place of elegant tableware, chandeliers, portraits of members of the Royal House, a fireplace that burns beautifully in the cold season and a fantastic view over the vineyard, where we had the chance to see one of the most beautiful sunsets.
Outside, a lot of green to explore, swings and benches to rest every thought, a beautiful terrace overlooking the whole vineyard, a place to take a long break and spend by a fire burning in the evenings of autumn, spring, summer, of course accompanied by Feteasca Neagră, the only wine produced here, on the domain.
The value of a special and rare wine
”Precious and noble, Apogeum is a unique wine, obtained by 2000-year-old methods from an old vineyard, specially arranged and cared for, located in one of the best wine-growing areas in Romania – Dealu Mare. Apogeum carries a strong emotional and personal charge. A signature wine, this Fetească Neagră awarded on four continents is the culmination of the lifelong work of Virgil Mândru, the owner of APOGEUM Winery. ”
The production is small (5-6 tons/ha), being harvested manually. Here you will discover, in the historic winery, clay amphorae and grape selection systems, natural yeasts, manual reassembly of musts, slow, long-lasting fermentation-maceration, aromas of plums, magiun, berries, blackcurrants. Feteasca Neagră rests in barrels for 24 months, then another 12 months in glass, which means, according to Apogeum specialists, elegance, maturity, explosion of flavors – oak, vanilla, chocolate, coffee – soft, velvety tannins, the value of a special and rare wine. So don’t miss the tasting and the wine cellar tour.
We enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner on the beautiful open terrace of the estate or right next to the vineyard, enchantingly smelling the parfume and flavor of the remaining grapes, among which the light of the most beautiful autumn entered as in a dream. The view also tempts you to enjoy, to take more breaks than usual, to eat slowly, with all the senses and especially with the soul: delicious appetizers including baked peppers with cheese or zucchini with local tzatziki, baked potatoes with butter and meat prepared and cooked just right. Feteasca Neagră accompanied the menu, enjoying at the other lighter meals the white wines from Valahorum portfolio – a project that offers to the public the Romanian wines of Dealu-Mare area and even more, Apogeum, Mierla Alba, Tohani Romania, Mennini and La Salina being the wine cellars in Valahorum portfolio.
… That’s how we found, in us, Apogeum Mansion and Winery
Dealu-Mare, an ideal area to enjoy, discover, live, feel some of the most appreciated wines of this country, in Buzău and Prahova counties, on the southern PART of the Istrița hills. We definitely recommend a tour of the wineries with tastings, to fully enter the atmosphere of the place: Apogeum – mansion and winery with royal history, Mierla Albă – artisanal winery, which produces a blend of Fetească Neagră and Merlot called Mierla Albă, with a label that we love, Tohani Romania – one of the most recognized local wine producers, with over 100.000 bottles of collection wines, Crama Mennini – with an emblematic Negru of Drăgășani, signed by the Italian Paolo Mennini, and more far away, La Salina Winery – near Salina Turda, in an area with a tradition in viticulture and white wines since the Roman Empire.
The wine, its place, the wineries and mansions where all its magic and story takes place have so much to offer. Every glass of wine that is revealed in your body, soul and spirit, communicating you stories, people, times, days, seasons, rains and sun. The houses with history, which shelter so many worlds, tastes, moments, events, emotions, the cool stone and the wood that keeps you warm, the good hosts, the carefully matched tastes and the sunset, especially the sunset … That’s how we found, in us, Apogeum Mansion and Winery – simple, intense, soothing and tasty.
“I love Feteasca Neagră because it resembles the Romanian people so much: something that very few believe in yet hiding a huge potential. Fifteen years ago, when I set out to obtain the best Fetească Neagră, people considered me a crazy romantic. What was the status of Fetească Neagră back then? A low-end local variety that nobody expected anything from. Yet I continued to work and believe in it. Today, it is with immense joy that I sign APOGEUM, a Fetească Neagră in its fifth year, created in the heart of Dealu Mare region, from a 50-year-old vine. With recognition and medals on three continents, APOGEUM is produced in a unique way in Romania, in ceramic amphoras located on the former estate of Prince Nicolae of Romania. I dedicate this wine to the Romanian people, to its hidden genius; and I also dedicate it – I must admit – to my stubbornness.”
Apogeum Mansion and Winery, Gura Vadului, Prahova County