cricova wine cellar in moldova
Handpicked by IWSC
The historic 120-kilometre cellars at Moldova's Cricova winery, one of the country's award-winning producers
Wine Handpicked by IWSC 4 August 2021

10 of the best Moldovan wines

With a deep-rooted history of winemaking and some of the world's largest cellars to boot, it's worth clueing up on Moldovan wine and the best bottles to try
Introduction and recommendations by
IWSC Judges

Moldovan wine doesn’t yet have the same recognition as wine being made by the country’s European neighbours, but vines have been grown in the former Soviet republic for thousands of years, back as far as 3,000BC.

In the early years of the 20th century, Moldova was one of Russia’s most important sources of wine, but the effects of war, as well as import bans imposed by Moscow, had a hugely detrimental effect. Now, the country’s wine industry is working hard to sell its wares around the world, with a new generation of winemakers focusing on quality not quantity.

As well as the classic international grape varieties, Moldova is rightly proud of its indigenous varieties such as red grapes Feteasca Neagra and Rara Neagra (blended with Georgian variety Saperavi to great effect in IWSC Silver winner Domeniile Davidescu Rara Neagra-Saperavi 2018), and white variety Viorica.

The latter was one of three recipients of an IWSC Gold Medal in the 2021 competition. The IWSC judges were full of praise for Viorica de Purcari 2020, with its aromatic notes of jasmine tea, spiced orange peel and lime, while the sparkling Cuvée De Purcari Brut 2018 wowed with its tropical-fruit character and rich mouthfeel. Purcari is an estate with an illustrious history – nearly 200 years ago, Emperor of Russia Nicholas I decreed Purcari to be the first ‘specialised’ winery in the region.

wine fountain at millesti mici winery in Moldova
This bright and gaudy fountain is at Moldovan winery and tourist attraction Mileștii Mici, also home to the biggest wine collection in the world

Each bottle in the Moldovan wine category was separated into type, such as red, white or sparkling. They were also all judged blind by some of the finest palates in the business. The group was chaired by Masters of Wine Sarah Abbott and Alistair Cooper, assisted by sommeliers including Gymkhana’s Valentin Radosav and 67 Pall Mall’s Terry Kandylis, as well as buyers such as Freddy Bulmer of The Wine Society and Harriet Kininmonth, director of wine buying at Enotria.

Some of the wines coming out of Moldova are first rate, and if you’ve yet to try them, you could be pleasantly surprised. Here are 10 top Moldovan wines to check out.

HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?

Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

More from Club Oenologique

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.

Have you joined The Collection yet?

Get access to all our back issues via our free digital archive – and enjoy the best rate on a magazine subscription