Moldovan Wine, It’s Mighty Fine

For such a little country, Moldova has a heck of a lot going for it. Orheiul Vechi, a beautiful ancient monastery, a great restaurant scene in its capital city, Chisinau, and even it’s very own breakaway communist republic, Transnistria. How many countries can boast that, huh? The best-kept secret about the country though? Moldovan wine.


Now if truth be told, I’m not much of a wine drinker – I’d rather go with vodka, cider, or cheap, apparently terrible, Korean beer. But when you tell me a particular area is known for its wine then, well, it’d be rude not to partake in a glass. Or a bottle. It happened when I visited Znojmo in the Czech Republic, and it happened again with Moldovan wine. Several times.


There was a supermarket just down the road from my hostel in Chisinau, Trotter’s Den, which luckily stocked a large selection of Moldovan wine, none of which were more than £4. That’s right. Top quality Moldovan wine for four pounds, people. Four pounds! Given the price, well, it’d have been downright rude of me if I hadn’t imbibed the local nectar. However be warned – wine stops being sold at 10pm, and Moldovan beer is nowhere near as good as Moldovan wine.


Moldovan wine - Buket

Wine in a beer mug? What can I say, I’m all about class.


So, where to start with Moldovan wine? Me and my dorm-mate, Jason, a primary school teacher living in San Diego, opted for a brand called Buket, a variety labelled ‘extra red’ and chosen because of the eastern European-ness of the label. I mean you have to start somewhere, and why not the bottle with the prettiest label? Since we were devoid of wine glasses in the hostel, we drank out of beer mugs and chatted with a really nice couple from Nottingham who regaled us with tales of their trips to Belarus and Pakistan.


Moldovan wine - Purcari

Turns out wine is even better with fresh, fresh olives.


I really wanted to go and tour one of the vineyards around Chisinau, but Jason left after a couple of days and you need at least three people for the vineyard tours – I wasn’t going to cut it as a soloist. But I wanted to keep on drinking more sweet, sweet Moldovan wine. What to do? After a split second careful deliberation, I decided to get pissed enjoy wine responsibly on my own and in the hostel. Yes, Moldovan wine is that good – the French guys staying in the same dorm as me even, without much reluctance, admitted that Moldovan red wine is better than French red wine, but they maintained that French white is better than Moldovan white.


Moldovan wine - Cricova

And then I added cheese. CHEESE!


Throughout my week in Moldova, I purchased three more bottles of wine, one each from the big name Moldovan wineries – Purcari, Cricova, and Milestii Mici, which has an underground wine city that stretches for 250km and is home to over two million bottles of wine – a Guinness World Record. So really, one bottle of wine from them wasn’t even a splash in the glass. I mean, they probably didn’t even want that many bottles of wine, so really I was doing them a favour. Pucari and Cricova are probably sick of Milestii Mici boasting about its world records, so of course I had to partake in a bottle of each. You know, so they felt special as well.


Moldovan wine - Milestii Mici

And then I added crackers. CRACKERS. Paprika crackers.


So, for three nights, I drank wine in the hostel by myself. One night I watched Jeremy Kyle videos and saw the eyebrows of the Japanese guy on the bed across from me raise more than once. Another night, I decided to relive the Red Wedding from Game Of Thrones. Seriously – do not watch it if you’ve been drinking. It makes the whole ordeal ten times worse. I bought olives. And cheese. And crackers. And got rather merry by myself, without giving a flying hoot what anyone else thought.


I’m not going to go into the different notes of the wine. I don’t know any terminology from the world of viticulture. But I can tell you that Moldovan wine is cheap, made me cheerful, and most importantly, is absolutely delicious. Moldova is worth going to for its wonderful wine alone.


So there you have it, folks! Now I want to hear from you! Are you much of a wine drinker? Have you ever tried Moldovan wine before? Which country makes the best wine, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below, or shout out on Facebook or Twitter.

19 Responses to Moldovan Wine, It’s Mighty Fine

  1. Edna says:

    I’ve got some Moldovan cognac my colleague gave me for my birthday. I’ll totally share with you… (hint hint, come visit me!)

  2. Liz B says:

    I have no idea if Slovenian wine and Moldovan wine are similar (and they probably aren’t as Slovenia is closer to France than Moldova but they are both eastern European so you never know) but I recommend the former AND you can buy it in the UK. Cheaper to buy it in Slovenia though as it’s getting a bit fashionable in the UK. Apparently the French taught the Slovenians to make wine, which is why it is so good – maybe they taught the Moldovans as well, who knows? I ended up at a wine tasting in Slovenia a couple of months ago and the two main producers seemed to be called Jeruzalem Ormoz and Puklavec (I took photos of my favourite bottles, my memory of the evening is a little hazy).

  3. Richard says:

    I went to a Ukrainian restaurant in Krakow and had Moldovan wine there and still remember it to this day as being one of my favourite ever wines. Don’t tell your French mates, but it was white…
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  4. Kerry says:

    Sometimes you just have to drink a lot and watch Game of Thrones, Tom. That’s called life and I think you can feel happy with the choices you’ve made. (I NEED TO FIND SOME OF THIS WINE)
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  5. Helen says:

    You had me at ‘and then I added cheese’. I often choose a new wine by a cool label, real winies would hate me. Although I don’t know how you found the guts to watch the red wedding. It’s so fresh in my mind, I think I am still in shock.
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    • Haha thank you, Helen! I choose wine like I choose books – if the cover intrigues me, I’ll go for it! I keep re-watching the Red Wedding, along with the scene where Daenerys finally gets her army and reveals that she can speak Valyrian. I LOVE that scene.

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  7. Hogga says:

    i wouldn’t kick it out of bed

  8. Cricova has an underground wine city too (not quite as vast as Mileste Mici, but still vast; and like Mileste Mici, it’s an easy day-trip from Chisinau), and I took a tour of it. It was pretty cool — street names like “Strada Cabernet” and “Strada Sauvignon.”
    Harvey (H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke) just posted Country no. 30 on my World Karaoke Tour: mayhem in MoldovaMy Profile

  9. Well, I was on my own in the sense that I didn’t come with anyone else. (The tour company that I booked through provided me a private driver to get me there from my hotel in downtown Chisinau.). But once you get to the winery, you’re thrown together with the other visitors who’ve booked the tour in the same time-slot (I had my hotel call to reserve; I would have done Mileste Mici but that one was already sold out for the day, and it was the only day I had available). The winery has to drive groups of people on the tram when they take you down underground on the subterranean streets.
    Harvey (H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke) just posted Country no. 30 on my World Karaoke Tour: mayhem in MoldovaMy Profile

  10. Heather says:

    I absolutely loved Hungarian wine so will be adding the Moldovan variety to my must sample list.
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