In recent years, Moldova has positioned itself as the new Mecca of wine in Europe. The viticultural tradition of the country, its hundreds of cellars and excellent quality of its wines are sufficient reasons for the capital city, Chisinau, to become the headquarters of the World Conference on Oenological Tourism of the WTO. Below are some of the reasons why Moldova is the new mecca for wine lovers.
Why are Moldavian wines in high demand?
Wine production in this small country located between Ukraine and Romania is not a recent occurence, in fact Moldova has been a wine producing country for more than five thousand years. Even during the Soviet occupation of the region, the best wines of the entire USSR were produced in this often forgotten corner of Europe.
Moldova houses wineries that boast hundreds of miles of underground tunnels filled with aging bottles of wine. The famous Milestii Mici winery, for example, not only produces some of the most celebrated wines in the country, but has broken the Guinness world record as the largest winery in the world, having more than 150 miles of underground tunnels with more than two million bottles of wine in its catacombs.
Small artisanal wineries have also settled in the country, taking advantage of the benefits of the region to produce wines of excellent quality.
What are the must-see wineries during a visit to Moldova?
Among the largest and most traditional wineries, Milestii Mici and Cricova are must-sees. Their underground tunnels, filled with bottles, are so large and extensive that they are usually traveled by car. In these wineries the most popular wines of the country are produced and house private collections of local labels from all over the world for various celebrities. Vladimir Putin celebrated his 50th birthday in the basements of Cricova and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry keeps his wines there.
When choosing a more modern wine cellar to visit that offers both the benefits of the production of the new world, in conjunction with the hospitality services of international contemporary wine tourism, Chateau Vartely is highly recommended. The tasting menu of local delicacies paired with the best labels of the house is an excellent opportunity to discover the wide culinary culture of Moldova.
And finally, if you visit Chisinau during a business trip and do not have much time, you can find a wine shop called Carpe Diem in the capital where you can taste the best wines of the country, recommended by an expert staff, ready to share everything they know in a fluent and comprehensible English, something that is difficult to find in the smaller towns of Moldova.
What are the best wine strains in Moldova?
The most traditional varieties are the Rara Neagră grape for red wines and the Fetească Albă for white wines. For example, the favorite wine of Queen Elizabeth II is the famous Negru de Purcari, which was originally produced with Rara Neagră, however, it now contains a delicate blend that includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Saperavi. When choosing the most successful international strains, wines produced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir are at the top of the list, in addition to the excellent sparkling wines of the region.
Visiting Moldova and touring its wine cellars is truly fascinating. Its wines are excellent, its wineries are exciting and its wine history is really interesting and is a good alternative for tourists who already visit the traditional oenological destinations of the continent such as France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. ■