Moldova Mash-up: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World


Moldova Mash-up: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World

Yep, you read that right: wines from Moldova! When our Wine Pairing Weekend wine writing group was offered samples, I said “Da!” (which means “yes” in Moldovan, which is a language very similar to or possibly even exactly the same as Romanian, but probably v. similar to Russian, too.)

I received three bottles, and I. MEAN! The Moldovans know how to make some excellent wines! I’m going to tell you about them and some food pairings that worked – and some that were just plain God-awful, too, because you know me – I’m full service!

But First: Where in the World is Moldova?

images-2Moldova is a land-locked country in Eastern Europe, between Romania and Ukraine. For centuries, Moldova was the scene of seemingly constant invasions and annexations, being tossed between Romania and Russia like a rag doll. But in 1991, Moldova proudly declared its independence, as the dissolution of the Soviet Union was underway.

With a population of 2.6 million, the country is named after the Moldova River, and is sadly, the poorest country in Europe. But happily, it’s on its way up with its wines! Moldova has 360,000 acres under vine and grows 50 different varieties of grapes, including a the native white grape, Viorica, and the red grape, Saperavi, which has made a name for itself in Georgian wines. Moldova also grows many international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Most of their wine is exported to Romania, China, Russia, Czech Republic and Ukraine, but happily, some of it is now making its way to the U.S.

Let’s Get Sippin’!

IMG_5259Suvorov (that’s the name of the producer) Viorica 2018 –This is one of Moldova’s native grapes. The wine unleashes a tidal wave of lime and lemon curd aromas, followed by honey, peach nectar, ripe cantaloupe and an alluring, subtle funk of beeswax. It is medium-bodied and somewhat creamy (which I think comes from aging on the lees). Oh, it is  so good! And it clocks in at, like, $10 a bottle! Look for it on Winesearcher.

Food pairings: A friend and I were nibbling on some Parmesan shards but when we tried that cheese with this wine? Ack! Horrible. Blech. So I pulled out an aged white cheddar. Now we’re talkin’! The flavors of the wine, combined with its slightly rich texture, means it wants to be paired with something that has a bit of fat to it. The robust white cheddar was excellent, and we decided that Prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe would be a HUGE homer as well (sadly, I had cantaloupe, but no Prosciutto. And even tho I thought for a hot minute about subbing salami for Prosciutto with melon, I wisely said, ‘Liz, no! That would be gross.’) The other two dishes we think would be amaze-balls with this wine: chicken piccata and ceviche. (Not together!)

IMG_5268Chateau Vartely Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Well, well, well … the Moldavans are positively crushing it on Sauv Blanc. This is a perfectly balanced wine, gushing with bright lime zest, lemon peel and subtle floral notes. Excellent acidity plays well against the sunny fruit notes and it’s a wine you could drink all day. Find it on Winesearcher $15.99 is the SRP, but looks to be a bit less at some U.S. retail outlets.

Food Pairing: So you know how sometimes you just make a spastic pasta mish-mosh because you need to use up things in the fridge? Yeah, well, that’s what happened here, and while not pretty – it was freaking delicious. Penne with caramelized onions and green beans. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but it was GOOD! The umami of the onions and the freshness of the green beans worked with the citrusy notes of the wine and you know what? I’d make it again! I think this wine would also be dreamy with sautéed shrimp in garlic butter.

IMG_5275Gitana Winery Lupi Rizerva 2016 – Hello! We’ve got a big, bold red blend here that could easily stand up to its cousins in California or Chile. The wine is 55 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 percent Merlot and 25 percent Saperavi. The wine is not shy with its black cherry, chocolate-covered dried cranberry and spice notes. Oh, wait … here’s some mocha pulling up a chair to the table. And some dried violets just knocked on the door, too. There is a lot going on in this wine! It’s one of those wines that you could have your nose in the glass for 10 minutes trying to identify all the aromas!  And the tannins definitely make their presence known, though not in an obnoxious or over-done way. And the oak influence is strong, as well.

6C10E80A-C353-4476-92EC-246474D7018D Food pairing: There is, I think, only one food pairing made for this wine and that is meat, with a side of meat and meat on top! I’m thinking specifically of beef, but a nice leg or rack of lamb could definitely work, as could some juicy pork sausages.

In summary, I was really blown away by these wines from Moldova! The country that no one really seems to think about  – I mean, it’s rarely in the news, there aren’t exactly a slew of celebrities who hail from Moldova. But they know how to make some exceptional wines and I hope they are able to make some more inroads into the U.S., because I would love to be able to introduce more people to them!




Moldova Mash-up: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World 2020-09-24T12:58:04-05:00

Drinking Games: The curtain rises on Moldovan wine


There are some jobs you just can’t turn down and a film on wine pretty much tops that list for me. France, Italy maybe even California popped into my mind. Moldova certainly did not. But that’s what I love about this job. It never fails to surprise and educate.

And so off we went to Moldova, slotted in between Ukraine and Romania, it’s not your classic image of wine-growing terrain. In the capital of Chisinau the legacy of the Soviet past is evident throughout. The oppressive tower blocks are hulking grey structures on most streets.

However, venture a little further out and it all begins to look much more like the lush land of vine and grape more traditionally associated with wine production. In fact, this beautiful countryside has the highest density of vineyards in the world.

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Drinking Games: The curtain rises on Moldovan wine 2017-11-22T11:41:45-05:00

Exploring Moldova Restaurant & Moldovan Wine: Part 1


The Republic of Moldova is the least visited country in Europe as well as the poorest country in Europe. However, Moldova has been producing wine for about 5,000 years and currently exports about 67 million bottles annually. I recently wrote an article encouraging people to be wine activists, to buy and drink wines from certain countries, to help their economies thrive. “Financial support of a country’s wines contributes to the well-being of regions, countries, and producers.” Considering Moldova’s economic situation, then supporting their wine industry is more than warranted, especially considering they are producing some delicious and interesting wines.

Recently, I was contacted by Andrei Birsan, the owner of Vins Distributors, a wholesaler of Moldovan wines, and invited as a media guest to taste some of his portfolio, as well as to experience Moldovan cuisine at the Moldova Restaurant in Newton. I’ve previously tasted only a handful of Moldovan wines but my experience had been very positive. And I’d never previously enjoyed Moldovan cuisine so I was eager for this meeting…

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Exploring Moldova Restaurant & Moldovan Wine: Part 1 2017-11-22T11:14:35-05:00

Moldovan wine a welcome invasion from former Soviet Union


You already know that Russia hacked our election. What you might not have heard is how Russia has also inadvertently hacked our American wine market. And the two main culprits currently under investigation are from Agawam, the husband and wife team of Andrei Birsan and Daria Ratnikova from VinDistributors.

Daria is originally from Moscow and Andrei is from Moldova. Moldova? Is that another country made-up by our Russian-compromised commander-in-chief? Turns out, no. Moldova is a former Soviet republic nestled between the Ukraine and Romania. By some estimations, it’s the poorest country in Europe. It also turns out that Moldova is one of the top 20 wine producing countries in the world. (At least it was in 2014, according to the Food & Agriculture Association.)


For the rest of the story click here

Moldovan wine a welcome invasion from former Soviet Union 2017-11-22T10:54:37-05:00

Did You Know Moldova Makes Wine…and lots of it!


In this edition, we explore the three main wine regions of the country of Moldova, which was once the largest producer of wine within the Soviet Union. They still make a lot of wine, with nearly 112,000 hectares of vines used for commercial wine production. Would you believe that over 67 million bottles of wine are exported from Moldova each year, and that number continues to grow?

It wasn’t without a fight that Moldova began establishing themselves as a competitor in the world wine market, however. The country exported most of its wine to Russia until it was banned as a result of a 2006 conflict.

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Did You Know Moldova Makes Wine…and lots of it! 2020-07-31T16:32:22-05:00

7 Remarkable Facts About Moldovan Wine That Will Surprise (And Entice) Wine Lovers



Here are the first 3 facts:

1. Moldova Houses The World’s Largest Underground Wine Cellar

2. Moldova Has A Rich History of Quality Winemaking

3. Moldova Is Consistently Producing Award Winning Wine.

To learn all the details, read the original article on Huffington Post here.


7 Remarkable Facts About Moldovan Wine That Will Surprise (And Entice) Wine Lovers 2020-07-31T16:35:04-05:00