September 9, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.