Monday, August 1, 2016

Meeting Moldova

I was very excited to receive some Moldovan wine samples. Though I had never tasted any wines from the country, I had heard from numerous people "in the know" that these were going to be wines of interest. Moldova is located in southeastern Europe between Romania and Ukraine in the Black Sea Basin. It has a compelling story in the world of wine history.

Ancient artifacts discovered in the area prove that wine has been made in the region for over 5,000 years. Over the many centuries, a sophisticated wine industry developed including designated micro-zones for wine production by the early 1800's. Though the region was well-known throughout Europe as a source for premium wine, its history and reputation were not respected by everyone. Moldova lost numerous vineyards during Mikhail Gorbachev's anti-alcohol crusade before declaring its independence from the USSR in 1991.

For the last 25 years, Moldovan winemakers have been hard at work rebuilding and revitalizing the industry. There are now 276,000 acres of vineyards planted to both local and international varieties. Indigenous varieties include Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Feteasca Neagra, Rara Neagra, Plavai and Viorica. The historic wine regions have been reinvigorated and the government is now working to promote and protect the quality of the country's wine.

I appreciated my tastes of Moldova, I will be on the lookout for more.


Tasting Notes:

Vinaria din Vale Feteasca Alba 2013 - Fresh fruity aromas and mouthwatering, juicy flavors of grapefruit, peach and pineapple with a savory note and a bit of nuttiness in the long, dry finish. Elegant, interesting and affordable. The grape's name "feteasca alba" translates to "white maiden". The grape is indigenous to the region but it is not heavily planted. The vineyards are in the historic Valul lui Traian located in the southwest of Moldova. I served it with grilled shrimp over pasta with a light asiago sauce.

Chateau Purcari "Rosé de Purcari" 2014 - This bone-dry rosé was
fresh and fruity with raspberry, apricot and grapefruit with a slightly tart but pleasant finish. It is a blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and Rara Neagra. This wine comes from the historic Stefan Voda sub-region located in the southeast of Moldova. Dry and fresh, Provencal in style, it is all you could want in an easy summer wine, I enjoyed it with pizza.