On September 10, 2013 Russia imposed a ban on all wine imports from Moldova. In light of the embargo and to encourage people to get to know our Co-Founder’s home country, we have prepared Winerist’s Top Reasons to Visit Moldova and Drink Moldovan Wine.
If you can think of anything else, don’t forget to list it in our comments tab on the blog or share it on twitter under the hashtag #drinkmoldovanwine. We would love to hear and share your thoughts!
1. The Wine - We have been making it for thousands of years!
Did you know that the history of winemaking in Moldova dates back to at least 3000 BC when the Dacian people discovered how to make wine from grapes? This is living proof that the tradition of winemaking is in the Moldovan blood.
A few weeks ago, coincidently, we listed our top 6 wineries to visit in Moldova. From boutique wineries such as Purcari, Et Cetera and Chateau Vartely, to the grandiose cellars of Cricova and Milestii Mici (the latter holding the Guinness World Record for the largest wine collection), Moldova makes wines which are always surprising. The wines produced here are diverse, with some wineries known for making exceptional and expressive Pinot Noir, Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon. You can also discover Moldovan indiginous grape varieties such as the elegant Rara Neagra, championed by Purcari or Feteasca Alba from Vartely which is reminiscent of wild flowers. Here you will also find great Ice Wines - we made sure to bring back a few bottles for that special celebratory meal!
2. Royal Ties - Queen Elizabeth II drinks Moldovan wine and if it's good enough for royalty, it's good enough for you too.
Yes, the Queen of England has repeatedly bought Purcari's Negru de Purcari from the 1990 collection of vintage. All we can say is that she should also try some of the more recent vintages. Her majesty will not be disappointed!
Other wine connoisseurs and wine lovers have also appreciated wines from Moldova. Jancis Robinson, MW and renowned wine critic wrote about Moldova: "there is a fresh purity of fruit here that is aching to find its way to the world's wine drinkers." HeyDay Magazine added in 2007: "Moldova is a source of exciting table wine and is an exciting place creating intriguing wines."
3. Mouth-Watering Food - Have you tried placinte, sarmale and mamaliga?
The wines in Moldova are perfectly paired with delicious local food. From placinte - a thin filo pastry filled with soft cheese or sour cherries - to grilled meat marinated and cooked to perfection, there is a lot to experience. Once tasted, it’s impossible to forget mamaliga - a dish made of polenta flour, sun-shaped, prepared and served with cheese, cream and garlic sauce. Or anything really...
Moldova is also one of the few places where you will be able to buy pure, organic products from local farmers. Tomatoes and cucumbers here taste just the way they should. The country also has numerous apple, plum and pear orchards. On the way to the vineyard you will want to make a stop to buy some delicious apricots or peaches. Yum!
4. The People - Discover hospitality at its best
The Moldovans are very friendly hosts. Guests are usually invited to the Casa Mare, or the “Big House”, usually the largest room in the house, where people celebrate all the important events and family events. While in other countries it is rude to eat too much when visiting, in Moldova it is considered rude if you eat too little!
5. The Women - Half our women look like Kate Middleton, the other half like her sister.
We shouldn’t judge ourselves, but Moldovan women are said to be among the most beautiful in the world. Needless to say more!
6. Pop Culture - Where is Moldova? and Playing the Moldovans at Tennis
Moldowhat? The famous family board game Where is Moldova? has put Moldova on the map. It’s a great excuse to visit the country and impress your friends with your knowledge of Moldova. Did you know the capital is called Chisinau [pronounced: Ki-shi-now]?
Another reason why you may have heard of Moldova is of course Tony Hawk’s famous book and movie Playing the Moldovans at Tennis. It all started in 1997, when England beat Moldova 4-0 at football and Tony took a bet to play the Moldovan football team at tennis. Funnily enough, last week, England beat Moldova again 4-0. Time for a sequel Tony?
7. Eurovision - Moldova’s Musical Talent Never Disappoints
Some love it, some hate it! The Eurovision song competition is a fascinating event that attracts over 100 million spectators worldwide every year. Since its debut in 2005, Moldova has made it to the final in the contest every single year.
If you have never heard of the Epic Sax Guy or Bunica Bate Doba you have wasted your life. Well, it’s never too late.
The instrumental 30 seconds solo and dance moves of Sergey Stepanov, the saxophonist in SunStroke Project and Olia Tira’s 2010 performance, now appropriately nicknamed the Epic Sax Guy, brought us fame. The video went viral on the internet being viewed over 10 million times!
Bunica Bate Doba, which translates as Grandma Beats the Drums, was another huge hit by Moldova’s rock Gods, Zdob si Zdub. The smiling and friendly grandma beating the drums was hugely popular coming in 6th place in the Eurovision in 2005.
Unfortunately, that’s the closest we got to winning. But we keep on trying!
8. National Wine Day - Get involved and celebrate
The event, which will take place on October 5 to 6, has a new concept this year. The organisers are aiming to bring the audience and wine producers closer together through professional wine tastings, visits to the vineyards and special moments dedicated to the culture of wine, arts and gastronomy. We commend this initiative to celebrate Moldovan wine. To find more information about the National Wine Day, read our dedicated article.
Left photo: Mateusz Maluarski
And whatever you do, just remember...
Written by: Tatiana Livesey and Diana Isac, Winerist co-founders both born in Moldova.