In my career I’ve had the privilege of covering some of the best wineries- in the best wine producing countries in the world. Argentina, Spain, Italy, Chile, and South Africa to name a few. But none caught me as off guard as Moldova. This often overlooked country produces excellent wines with a wine producing pedigree that goes back 5,000 years. Although the grapes are largely French varieties, the cultivation methods and blends used here are distinctly Moldovan. With about 25% of this countries work force in the wine industry, it’s easy to see why this is such an amazing experience. Check out my favorite Vineyards from my recent trip with #decosperamoldova to discover the Moldovan Wine Culture.
Cricova is the standard bearer for Moldovan wine. With over 120km of underground tunnels, an underground restaurant, and beautiful reception halls, it’s easy to see the appeal. What truly makes Cricova so special is the pedigree of their wines. Politicians, celebrities, and collectors from around the world have special collections here. Including, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin, and Angela Merkel.
What I enjoyed was the drives through these massive tunnels. Looking at it from above and outside you would never guess what was down there. It reminded me of Doctor Evils secret “Lair”. Tunnel after tunnel of wine. The tour of their wine collection is interesting also when you see what the rich politicians spend OUR money on.
I enjoyed the wine tasting not only because of the wine varieties, but the excellent sommelier. I still consider myself a novice wine taster so having someone there who can explain to me the subtle nuances of their vintage was definitely appreciated. Plus he was witty and sarcastic as hell which I enjoy.
I loved Et Cetera. Not only because of their delicious red wine but because of their story and personality. From their small and vibrant tasting room, to their modest production process. This small family run vineyard really got my attention. The Luchianov family allow guest a firsthand look into what wine making is truly about. Family, friends, and fun. This place really feels like you’ve enetered someones home and life. THIS is who they are. Shout out to Alex out host and guide. Also his wife and team that introduced me to Placinta. WOW. Like flaky biscuits with cheese goodness. Perfect for wine.
I’m gonna be honest. I think I drank around two bottles of wine here so my opinion is likely a bit skewed. I lean towards a nice crisp white wine and Et Cetera has one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon’s I’ve had outside of France. This was easily my favorite wine of the entire trip.
The most awarded Winery in Europe according to Decatur Magazine Scores, Purcari lives up to a very high pedigree. As the oldest wine estate in Moldova, they are considered the defacto leader of this booming industry. With wines like Negru de Pucari and Rosu de Purcari it’s hard to argue. They consistently with awards at international competitions year after year.
I found their Vineyard industrialized. Efficient and a bit cold but definitely a high-end production. Their wine truly won me over because I wasn’t particularly impressed with the tour aspect of my visit. It was enjoyable to see up close and personal their process from bottling to shipping. I recommend their Rose and tasting menu. The food was excellent and perfectly paired with Purcari wines.
Chateau Vartely is the new kid on the block as one of Moldova’s newest vineyards, and they’ve arrived with some teeth. Not only are they a fully functional vineyard, but also a small hotel and gourmet restaurant. From an overall perspective, I found this to be my favorite Vineyard. Touring the grounds, sampling the wines, and tasting the food all combine for an experience that will truly please not only wine lovers, but foodies as well.
This vineyard truly has it all for guest. I especially enjoyed the meal and tasting menu here. To see they were still expanding the grounds is a sign of great things to come. If you have the opportunity to stay here overnight, do it. You won’t regret the experience.
Unfortunately for Moldova they’re far behind in the PR game when compared to their larger European counter parts in Italy, France, and Spain. But I’ll put Moldovan wine side by side with any I’ve had and I can assure you it stands up. I’m a wine drinker. Not a wine taster. I drink what I enjoy and Moldova has a few bottles that would always show up in my cellar. Happy drinking.
Are you a wine drinker? What’s your favorite wine and why?