Moldovan Wine is Ready for the Spotlight

A vineyard in Moldova
Niromaks / Getty

Moldova is said to have the greatest density of vineyards in the world. Out from under Soviet-era restrictions, the fruits of those vines are seeing modern life.

Archeological evidence shows that wine has been produced in this landlocked country for around 5,000 years. Today, about 250,000 people, or 6% of the country’s population, are employed in viticulture. Post-Soviet Russia was the main import market for Moldovan wines until embargoes in 2006 and 2013 prompted the tiny country to up its quality and sell its most valuable commodity to other European nations and the U.S.

Travel Off the Beaten Path in Eastern Europe's Wine Country

Moldova is now home to almost 277,000 acres of grapevines spread across four wine regions. The quantity of white grapes grown is more than double that of red, with the country’s vines bearing more than 30 different grapes, including indigenous varieties like white Fetească Albă, and reds Fetească Neagră and Rara Neagră.

In addition to other Eastern European grapes like Rkatsiteli, Furmint, Traminer and Saperavi, international varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir are also grown here. While indigenous grapes are sometimes vinified alone, they’re often blended with other varieties, and red blends tend to include Rara Neagră, or simply consist of more common combinations like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Small amounts of rosé are made as well.

Recommended Bottles

Purcari 1827 Rara Neagră: An indigenous red grape cultivated here since Roman times, this version has plum and chocolate flavors with velvety tannins.

Fautor 310 Altitudine Merlot-Rara Neagră: Following the fashion of blending native and French varieties, this offers black cherry notes and a smooth finish.

Castel Mimi Fetească Albă: White grapes outpace red ones here, and local varieties like the one used in this bottling, lead the pack. Expect lemon, apple and peach flavors.

Gitana Autograf Chardonnay: This hand-harvested Chardonnay boasts flavors of apple pie and lemon with a creamy finish.

Purcari 1827 Rosé de Purcari: Made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a touch of Rara Neagră, this wine helps satisfy the ongoing thirst for rosé.

Published on October 16, 2019
Topics: Wine and Ratings


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