We are uncorking Moldova. Where is Moldova you ask? In Eastern Europe, just north of the Black Sea, Moldova is nestled in between Ukraine & Romania. This former Soviet state is rapidly becoming a prominent player in the world of wine. The Moldavians take wine really seriously, according to their constitution, wine is recognized as food. Wine is an integral part of the Moldavian culture.
The wines of Moldova may be new to me but Moldova has a rich and long history of winemaking. The history of wines in Moldova starts in 3000 BC, while the first vines were recorded here 7000 years BC. Ancient petrified grapes seeds and amphorae from 2800 BC have been excavated.
Moldova Wine Terroir
Landlocked Moldova has a unique topography with hills, plateaus, plains, rivers and streams. Its moderate climate and influences from the sea, provide for a long growing season. Its terroir is ideal for grape growing. An interesting fact is that Moldova is on the same latitude(46º-47º) as many other prominent wine regions, like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.
Moldova produces more wine per capita than any other country. 3.8% of the land or 112,000 hectares planted to vines. There are 30 grape varieties that are cultivated in Moldova, with three main wine regions; Valul lui Traian (southwest), Stefan Voda (southeast), and Codru (central).
Moldova Grape Varieties
International varieties are a part of the viticulture of Moldova along with local indigenous grapes. 70 % are white varieties (Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Aligote) and 30% are red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Saperavi). Winemakers are talented, passionate and authentic, focusing on indigenous varieties like Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Feteasca Neagra, Rara Neagra, Plavai, Viorica, etc.
Wine is an integral part of daily life in Moldova, as is evident in their wine scene, in bars, restaurants, and most notably their incredible cellars. Their colossal underground cellars are world-renowned and recognized by the Guinness. Wine cellars are also prominent in all homes.
Moldovan Wines To Try Now
Cricova Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut
Cricova is the biggest and one of the most impressive wine cellars from Europe. Their history starts in 1952. The history of “Cricova” Winery became a part of the Moldovan national history because of being instrumental in a matter of development and assertion of the wine-growing sector inside the country, as well as spreading its fame abroad.
Their pride is a sparkling wine produced according to the French classic method -“Méthode Champenoise”, discovered by the reputable monk Dom Pierre Perignon and the remarkable still wines that are famous in the whole world.
Pinot Noir crafted based on the Methode Champenoise with second-in bottle fermentation for a minimum of 24 months. Elegant with fine bubbles, light yellow straw color, delicate aromas, fruitiness and fine minerality of the taste. Very balanced and light on the palate. Excellent on its own and a great companion to oysters, red or black caviar, cheeses and walnuts or almonds, but also pairs well with more complex dishes like pasta or risotto.
Traditionally, Viorica is a female name in Moldova, and also the traditional name for violets. This wine is called Viorica because it is made from the indigenous Moldovan grape by the same name. The wine has great fineness, opening up with primarily floral aromas, then evolves into remarkable flavors of muscat. It has rich tastes and medium body, with an elegant aftertaste of fresh grapes. It is well balanced with a well-defined taste of freshness. It pairs perfectly with fish, white meat, and summer salads.
Chateau Vartely Indvido Saperavi 2017
According to the winemaking standards of the Old World and the New World, Château Vartely is a fairly young winery that has managed in a short period of time to become a company emblematic of its country.
A dry red wine, of the famous Georgian variety Saperavi, makes Individo Saperavi an appreciated wine. Bold and extractive, with elegant shades of oak, the wine wins you over with its fruity aroma of blackberries, cranberries and spicy notes. The wine is aged for 12 months in barrels. This Saperavi pairs well with lamb kebabs, hard cheeses, and oyster mushrooms.
Written by: Rupal Shankar