The smallest country of the former Soviet republics - with excellent conditions for growing grapes. This benefit has been enjoyed since ages. Archaeological discoveries in the area of Florești and Naslavcha - pointed to the oldest traces of grapevine in the area of Moldova, dating back to 2,800 BC.
Today, this small country encompasses about 112,000 hectares of crops and the production of wine is one of the state’s most important economic sectors. The vast majority of wine produced is sold abroad.
Moldova's climate is mild, perfect for growing grapes - with short and mild winters, warm summers and long autumns. The landscape is basically flat, some gentle slopes are typically covered in vineyards. Most of them are located in the central and southern part of the country. The best subregions for wine are Romanesht, Chumai, Khinchesh, Krikova, Mileshtii, Mich and Purkar.
The predominant crops in Moldova are so-called international varieties: Chardonnay, Riesling, Silvaner, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Gris. There are also slightly less popular - Aligoté, Rkatsiteli or the local Fetească Albă. In addition, one can find a handful of American hybrids like Isabela or Lidia – those are used to produce cheap wines in dry, semi-sweet and sweet versions. There is also a lot of crop varieties resistant to disease and cold, obtained by the Grapevine Institute in Chișinău. Some white wines worth mentioning are: Luminitsa, Legenda, Muscat de Ialoveni, Riton, and red: Negru de Ialoveni and Rubin Tairovschii.
Of particular note is a native, almost ancient Moldovian variety - red Rara Negra. Due to its distinct character it is used in blends, but varietals are also produced (in the old days it was the most important component of the famous European wine - Negru de Purcari).
In Moldova, there is a large production of classic sparkling wines. The country is not short of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - very widely used for production.
For centuries, one of the most famous Moldovan wines has been Kagor. It is a sweet, (usually) red fortified wine. It is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Rara Negra. Often accompanied with black currant, wild berry jam, spicy chocolate or slightly earthy hints.
You may encounter the following terms on the labels:
Sec - dry, Demisec - semi-dry
Dulce - sweet, semidulce - semi-sweet
Vin de calitate superioara - quality wine, with "appellation"
Spumant natural (or clasic) - sparkling wine made using traditional methods.