Oprisor Cellars   Art & Wine

An uninterrupted and unchallengeable history reveals connections between art and wine, on all levels, from the superficial approach through senses to the deepest, most subtle emotions. 
One could endlessly discuss about wine and faith, rituals, genius, creation, poetry, saints or demons, about the way art and wine cross tracks in key moments of both personal and global history.
But the following reading is not about historical excerpts, not about anthropological symbolism. We simply wish to tell a story about a miracle – the meeting between special people, an unseen piece of Earth and an infinite desire to improve our work from one day to the next.
We began to write this story the first time a few of our wines could not be sat in any existing category. Wines that speak beyond flavor and taste, wines that address mainly to the hearts and minds of those who meet them, wines of such complexity and so many nuances weaving altogether in an unspeakable harmony that we just could not pass along with other wines on dusty shelves.
There is a threshold – beyond it, everything that mankind may manufacture is no longer an artifact, but art, be it about complications of timepieces, decorations in architecture, fine tapestry or wine. That what was supposed to be a wristwatch, a home, a chair of a glass of drink rises above its own status and, without losing its intended function, becomes a symbol, impossible to duplicate, brought to the world a unique piece or limited edition.
The wine turned into art found a natural bind to plastic arts. We linked our destiny with landmark people in the world of arts, in order to launch an unprecedented project, intimately connecting wine to drawing, painting, sculpture and photography.


Our first limited edition in the Art & Wine collection was Erotikon, with labels designed by Ciprian Paleologu. Erotikon also marks the birth of several relationships that consequently built into today's team of the Oprisor Cellars, as well as some premieres for the market.
First of all, following our desire to educate the market on the concept of ageing wine at home, the wines were released while still extremely young and green, with an impressive ageing potential. Those who had the patience and who admitted that wine is a living being and has its own ages are now starting to discover and understand the way the passing of time leaves its mark in the evolution of wine. 
Launched in the early fall of 2008, gathering some of the best fruits of the exceptional 2007 harvest, these wines started to approach their maturity plateau in the first days of 2010 and will reach their full expression sometimes near the end of 2011 and beyond.
Second, Erotikon was the collection that brought together two wine creators that would change forever the face of Oprisor wines: winemaker Veronica Gheorghiu, the one who extracts the highest expression the grapes and the oak barrels have to offer, and oenologist Liviu Grigorica, the alchemist who knows exactly how to make the perfect blends. The two professionals are authors of all the wines included ever since in the Art & Wine collection.
It was also the first meeting between Ciprian Paleologu and Oprisor, in a project that provided the artist with a full freedom of expression. The outcome has stirred – as expected – controversies between purists and modernists, the labels being described in every possible way, from simple erotic art to pornography. Still, only few voices mentioned that Erotikon is was the first wine collection on the Romanian market (and still is, within the limits of the few remaining bottles) that suggested a contemporary view over a classic theme – the connection between wine, art and erotica. From the nostalgia for the womb, through brutal, raw, purely physical sex and, to complete the circle, to the magic of birth and the repositioning of one's self in the middle of a family, the Erotikon labels describe the landmarks of each individual. One may find here Freud's development stages – oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital), or literature's main steps: ardent love, flesh lust, mature passion and the all seeing eye of the wise.

Erotikon Merlot
As its label already announces, the Merlot is one of the grapes able to produce the widest flavor and taste variation range, from one piece of land to its neighboring parcel or from one year to the next. The head returning to the once-known womb – a reflection, changing actors in of one of Nichita Stanescu's greatest lyrics, to embrace you within my ribs, so I wanted – in more than the simple nostalgic remembering of the amniotic peace. The gesture, equally built out of tenderness and submission, on one hand, and invasion and appropriation, on another hand, discusses both an offering (a sort of  prends-moi entierement ) and a separation statement, departure, rupture. The same conflicts are to be found beneath the label, inside the bottle.
The contradictory nuances in the wine (green forest moss vs. spices, red berries vs. coffee etc.) are not placed on different platters of a weighing machine, but work together in order to build into a complete, balanced, full wine, with smooth passages from the beginning to the end of the flavor range. The integration of tannins was almost complete at the beginning of 2010, creating expectations of silky / velvety touches in the year to come. Still lively and young, the wine has a spicy start, doubled by darker flavors. As it opens up, the balance changes to a friendlier side: the scent becomes more shiny, sometimes with sharp accents, with the taste and aftertaste evolving towards smoked plums, oak, vanilla and cocoa.

Erotikon Shiraz
A label with raw sexuality, relating to an excess beyond self losing. The metaphor of selflessness comes through the metamorphosis of one's parts, reproducing altered sensory homunculi. The sexual act is generic, pure, obvious and beyond interpretation. It happens outside the world, and not against it, as some said. It doesn't hide, it doesn't bear any polite shame, is pure act, pure cortex pleasure.
The story of the two characters of different breed – the blue and the red – may remind of the story of a love at first sight between the Shiraz grape and the Oprisor land. It was explosive, and anyone can taste the effects.
The expression developed here was overwhelming: round and velvety wines, strong, almost athletic silhouette, waltzing around in circles, from sharp, alarming notes to comforting roundness, from spices and sun-dried tobacco leaves to leather and cocoa, from soft red berries' juice to hard, smoked marmalade. The years that passed since its birth (2007) made it all fall into a coherent shape, but far from a linear phrase. The wine does not start in a place, to end in another. All scents co-exist from top to bottom, in a permanent enter/exit stage movement, replacing each other until the dance is over. Only at that very moment, the shape may be somehow described, in very little words: subtle attack, round, almost fad body, spicy finish with a lost sweet note.

Erotikon Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet of the Erotikon collection was both the only wine to be tasted on the spot and the wine with the most ageing potential, remaining in a fresh and green area while its siblings almost reached maturity. 
Its imperial stature is not an accident, since the Cabernet is one of the high-performance grapes in the Golu Drancii geographical area, making wines with a strong ageing capacity and an unequaled expressiveness. Its label, telling a story about the family life, symbolizes the miracle of birth, the new life developing in a new body. For Oprisor, the Cabernet is the elder son, the heir to the throne. 
Three years after its birth, the Erotikon Cabernet Sauvignon is at the beginning of the maturity plateau, which will continue up to 8 years. With great varietal character, which may place it in line with any great Cabernet of the world, the Erotikon excels in length, both olfactory and as taste. It behaves in a similar manner as the Shiraz, starting almost rough and rapidly compensating with roundness and velvety sensations. The flavors range from mineral notes to flesh, red fruits, black berries and to bell pepper, cocoa, mint and clove.


One story says that a great Chinese emperor demanded his best artist to draw the most beautiful dragons one has ever seen. Paid with a fortune and after years of study, his best painter returns to the palace one day and draws two lines, a yellow one and a green one, on each side of the emperor's throne. The furious emperor condemns the painter to death but, before the sentence is executed, a dream convinces him to visit the cave where the painter had practiced. As soon as he enters the cave, he sees the most beautiful dragons anyone has ever seen, more beautiful even than in his dreams. Those were the first the artist had painted. Week after week, drawing after drawing, the dragons are simplified, until there is nothing left, but the yellow and the green line. Of course, the painter is released and generously paid.
The Fragmentarium story does not involve kings' treasures or cruel sentences, but has a lot to do with the profound simplicity that Sorin Ilfoveanu's labels created for this collection. The artist draws his memoirs, taking snapshots of key moments in the human existence. His characters are drawn away from the world and forced to look within themselves, reminding about the loneliness humans feel in front of major truths. It took decades for Sorin Ilfoveanu to get to the point where he can tell a story in just a few lines, an angle or a magic auxiliary – the cat, the bird, the musical instrument.

As a living being, the wine does not have the same expression twice, its interior mechanism dictating stages of evolution, stagnation, integration or collapse. Just as Heraclitus' river, in which you cannot step twice, each sip is in itself different than the previous and the next. For all those who love and understand wine, the Fragmentarium edition was created so that it would allow large breaks – from six months to several years – between opening and tasting the four bottles of the collection.
At the beginning of summer, in 2010, Fragmentarium still holds a few elements of young wine, although its expansive complexity betrays its age. Born out of an alchemic combination between Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir, the wine arranges tens of nuances, from dark, herbal, slightly earthy and smoky tones to sharp spices, all rounded up and submitted to a strong and round center, with coffee, cocoa, blueberry and blackberry notes. The aftertaste is huge, long and harmonious, unveiling the wine's ageing potential until 2020.

The Unnamed

The second collaboration between Oprisor and Ciprian Paleologu resulted in a double experiment. We rejoiced when the wine lovers proved they accepted it without hesitation. The story of the wine is that it has no pre-determined story. Ciprian Paleologu creates three characters – The Woman, The Beast and The Child – and lets them find their own lives, the writer of their destiny is each owner of the bottles. Adam was rising above the other living beings by naming the livestock, the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. Paleologu's characters remain generic, their universal character makes them ingredients for all the yarns of the world. The owner of the collection has both the freedom and the inherent obligation to create a story. 
The essence of the experiment is described by the artist in the authenticity warranty that comes with the box: Everything you may think about the marvels in this box can not be doubted. The thoughts are to be shared with those close to you, to be kept in care (…). Look carefully at the stories on the labels, try to understand them, be part of it, be The Beast, be The Woman, be The Child, one after another…. 
The black box containing the Unnamed collection is sealed in a black box that tells a story about the things-of-which-we-do-not-speak and about those-whose-name-we-shall-not-speak – namelly the collection of magic, spells and fierce creatures that form the world of fairy tales. Opening the cover of the box is not an easy task. Hopefully, the effort this demanded will postpone the opening of the box, giving the wine more time to age, to evolve. Ideally, the black box is forgotten in a corner of the attic, to be re-discovered by accident, when opening it would be just like finding some trasure or a time-box full of memories.

Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The same varietals that created Fragmentarium, but in other proportions, with another intention and another perspective. Instead of wine for meditation, The Unnamed suggests wine for cosmogonical delirium. It is impossible to approach such a bottle and not give in to the temptation of the game – to create your own tale. The taste itself tells an endless story that demands more attention, more care, more study. Each drop brings a new note to the surface, nuances rise to cover former dominating nuances, then withdraw to complete them. The nose is complex and wide, as a Venetian carnival where there aren't two identical masks or a circus gathering all the characters from 1001 Arabian Night.
From the raw, juicy fruits – red, black and sour cherries – to the core of apricot's kernel, to nuts and blueberry jam notes and flashes of mint and eucalyptus, all rounded up in a fleshy, bloody, a bit dark and hard to describe flavor. In the glass, the wine speaks more than an hour after pouring, telling ancient tales. Still, the audience doesn't grow weary: as time passes and the wine opens up, its flavors are increasingly young and refreshing – red fruits and mint grow stronger until they take over, without turning the wine into a simple, straight forward one, rather shining the sort of light that only deepens the mystery.

The Paleologu Box

The most complex artistic concept launched until now on the wine market and the most flavored project in the arts' world – this is how the Paleologu Box can be described in just a few words. The project is a peak in the relationship between art and wine. In this collaboration, the wine and the art are no longer two entities, but parts of a whole. The wine IS art and the art IS wine.
The Paleologu Box is the hammer used by one of the artist's most encountered characters (the Hammer-man). It is an art object introduced to the world as part of the Traumatic Area exhibit, where the hammer is one of the tools used in an universe of mankurts, actors and promoters of trauma, a place that forces each human to assume his share of the blame.
Traumatic Area – the Paleologu Box is the sixth stage in a 48-year long artistic plan that will eventually find its end in the Omodrom, the completed work of the Corrective Research Institute. The Omodrom will correct people, cleanse them of their gluttony, hatred, sloth and other weaknesses, as the exhibit's book explains. Obviously, the target of the project is not the Omodrom itself, but the Perfect Human, brought back to innocence, to the Paradise-like cleanliness. The perfection as target is an utopia, naturally, but – since it's not the destination, but the road that matters – the steps towards such a goal can bring nothing but improvements, a permanent evolution, a re-definition of each moment in a manner able to make progress plausible.
The collection is made of 3,862 bottles that may eventually reach wine lovers. Among these, there are 33 hammer-boxes, which include 6 magnum and 1 double-magnum bottles, dedicated to the polarities that mark our existence – youth / old age, power / weakness etc. These boxes will circulate following their own destiny, choosing their own owners. Each box carries an original Paleologu drawing, an original digigraphy and a key. If the boxes, or at least some of them will ever meet, they will write a different story…

Hammer-man reports for duty and slams you over the forehead. It's the only explanation for the brutal and dazzling attack, which launches strong notes earned from Cabernet Sauvignon and Dornfelder grapes. But just as the Corrective Research Institute will eventually succeed in cleaning humans of their burden of inhumanity, the Feteasca Neagra and the Shiraz step in to heal the initial shock and to correct the abusive approach of the two heavyweight ingredients. After a few sips – all cannot be described from the first taste – and after the liminality levels of perception are re-arranged, the wine is redefined, re-composed, as its parts get into a natural order, as pieces of a puzzle. Black berries, black tea and black cherries dominate in the beginning, followed by smoked plum, a strong velvety sensation and caramel notes, just to explode in the end in dark chocolate, pure cocoa, with some fatty sensations. The aftertaste follows the same logic – very, very long, with few, but expressive Asian spice notes.


Erotic tales, refinement and sensuality, losing one's self in the other's lust. Sherpium (pronounced as serpium) is the collection bought forth by Cristina Garabeţanu as a trip within the depths of one of world's main mysteries: the Woman. The line approached in the mystery exploration is the fine border between flesh and sensual, between carnal and spiritual, between the rebellious Lilith and the housewife, Eve (who has done more? Who was evil, who was good?).
The temptation theme is half visible, half hidden in the name: Sherpium comes from Serum, Snake (rom.: şarpe) and Opium. A potion that cures and charms, as the snake can both offer the damnation apple or drip curing venom in Asclepius' cup, bringing the dead back to life and healing the incurable. Everything drowns in opium smokes, the substance that always asks for more.
The wine itself sits closed in bottles reminding of ancient perfume phials. Along with the postcards that reproduce the labels, Sherpium becomes an overwhelming complex of feminine attributes, seducing erotica, both cruel and tender. The moment captured by each label it that fraction of an instant when everything is possible, the body itself oscillates between offering and teasing, it is the moment of decision, the moment of realization that may lead to contemplation as well as to appropriation. Woman described by a woman…

Sherpium Tãmâioasã Româneascã
The tease in striptease defines this wine, despite the religious name of the grape (tãmâie = incense). Teasing means showing, promising, provoking without giving. The wine promises to be classic, in total agreement with other wines made out of the same varietal, it pretends to offer the psychological comfort of memory, by remembering the same dominant aroma. But it turns out to be anything, but a classic. 
The scent soon becomes explosive, with all the Tãmâioasa main notes (white flowers, pollen, incense), surprisingly doubled by an exotic dimension – bananas, mango, pomegranates and a slight mineral dust.
Is not your everyday Tãmâioasã in taste, either. The excess of sugar has disappeared: sweet sensations remain at hand, but in a concentration that doesn't overtake the taste of juicy pears, white cherries, fat grass and dried flower petals.

Sherpium White Cabernet Sauvignon 
A true surprise, in a natural development of the polarized concept of the collection: white-vinified Cabernet Sauvignon. An inversion building on the cycle of womanly games - inside / outside, shape / idea, woman-body / woman-mystery.
The notes of red wine are present discretely, but almost hidden to senses, covered by dry hayricks, dust, brambles, dried leaves and petals, notes rather found in Petit Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. These red notes gain weight in the taste, where white plums and summer cherries take over and shyly indicate that the wine could have / should have red. The long and fresh aftertaste bring relaxation after the disturbance caused by the first contradictions that sent the tasting memory hiking in the fields of oenological experience. Eventually, the one who tastes forgets the intriguing flavors and falls into sweet abandon.

Sherpium Merlot
The game of switching from soft selflessness to cruel domination belongs to the Merlot of the Sherpium collection. A wine that seems at first glance to be coherent, then loses order, just to express seducing incoherence, and then return to a more logical track. Just as a long-term relationship, the Merlot is rather a series of solved problems than a smooth, easy-going, easy-to-understand construction.
It looks green, but has facets of mature wine. When you almost bet on its maturity, it reveals its ageing potential and once again see it as a fresh wine. In fact, it is just like a precocious child, who wants to say many things at once, therefore brings out front a plethora of nuances, tones and notes. The nose is a competition stage for well ripped cherries, tomatoes and bloody notes, as taste – it hesitates between green plums, dark chocolate and dried strawberry jam. The result is seducing, with a long, spicy and a bit acid aftertaste, a sign that its maturity is to be expected after 2010. Still, being governed by a feminine principle, it may evolve under different laws.