Welcome to the very first edition of World Wine Travel, a writing group in the spirt of the French Winophiles, Wine Pairing Weekend, and Italian Food Wine Travel. Many of the writers who collaborate in these groups made a move to focus on wine travel, expanding our coverage around the world. Our first stop: Moldova.
We embark with guides: Wine of Moldova and Vinconnexion in October to celebrate a special event, Moldova National Wine Day October 3rd and 4th.
According to Lynn Gowdy at Savor the Harvest, our host this month: “Traditionally, the event takes place on the Chişinău-based Great National Assembly Square and in Moldovan wineries on the first weekend of October, just after harvest. The festival celebrates not only Moldovan winemaking traditions, which date to the 15th century, but also culture and traditional foods.”
So it’s a crazy year, and those of located in North American won’t be able to visit Moldova right now, but my curiosity drove me to plan a trip.
A glance at Google Flights (not as generous now with travel restrictions) offers me a few flight options from O’Hare International Airport, the cheapest is on Turkish Airlines. While it takes a while to get there, it’s under $1,000 and offers a day layover in Istanbul. Could be fun.
Triple the cost, and I could have a seat on Austrian Airlines with a quick stop in Vienna. Or I could get on Lufthansa, with quick stop in Frankfurt before boarding Air Moldova to KIV, Chișinău International Airport.
Once in Chișinău, there are some cool hotel options. Again, I know that travel isn’t normal now, but my search on Trip Advisor (which I limited to highly rated and five star) revealed several gorgeous options for well less than $200. The top spot, Berd’s Design Hotel, has rates for under $150. Plus, it earned the Travelers Choice 2020 award, has a spa and an Italian restaurant on site.
Trip Advisor also offered recommendation for interesting wine tasting options. While I’m sure it’s possible to just try a few wines, these Moldovan properties have doubled down on cool adventures and lasting hospitality.
Moldovan Food and Wine
2020 hasn’t allowed me to realize this trip, but it did offer me the opportunity to taste and cover wine from Moldova.
A First Taste of Wine from Moldova | Read it on L’Occasion
In a very WOW style, Moldova has the following:
- The largest wine cellar in the world
- The largest wine collection in the world
- Underground galleries so large one can drive through them
- And underground wine city
- A wine industry employing 250,000 people
- 140 wine companies
- A claim to the largest density of vineyards in the world, which covers nearly 4% of the territory
The wines have an interesting selection that leans on indigenous grapes, with international grapes sprinkled in. For this discovery session I explored the following mix and I doubt that anyone needs an explanation about which are native and which aren’t:
A white wine: Viorica | Suvorov Viorica 2018
A white wine: Fetească Albă | Castel Mimi Feteasca Alba 2018
A red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec | Rosu de Purcari 2015
A red wine: Saperavi, Fetească Neagră, Merlot | Radacini Saperavi Feteasca Neagra Merlot 2018
For more on the wines of the region, including video resources, check out my previous post on Moldova Wines.