The taste of Moldovan wine is not really very western. These are very acidic wines with little bouquet that are heavily oxidised. Efforts to change this are underway with support from The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and France.
The basic grapes used are the native Feteasca Alba, Rkatsiteli, and Saperavi. Feteasca provides a very fruity white with a nose of peach and apricot though without the required freshness. Rkatsiteli stands out because of its spicy and floral bouquet combined with a pleasing freshness. Saperavi are blue grapes that provide red wine with backbone and a greater potential for ageing. In addition to the native grapes mentioned, Moldova also makes wide use of French grapes such as the white Sauvignon, Riesling, and Aligote. Aligote is a grape from Burgundy that is only occasionally used in quality wines such as Aligote de Bouzeron.
In Moldova though Aligote plays a major role because of the high acidity. Moldovans are crazy about ten year-old fully oxidised Aligote wine. There are also excellent sherry-type wines made from Aligote, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Rkatsiteli. An unusual wine that is certainly not inferior to sherry is sold in Moldova under the old name for Jerez of Xeres (which is strictly forbidden outside of Moldova).
The best whites are made by the Englishman Hugh Ryman, working with the cooperative of Hincesti. These are an excellent full and powerful Chardonnay that is rich and fruity, and a Rkatsiteli which is very fruity and exceptionally pleasant. The same HincestiRyman also make very acceptable Merlots and Cabernets. Very good reds are made either wholly of Cabernet Sauvignon or with the addition of Saperavi, such as the Rochu and Negru which are very similar in style to an excellent Bordeaux red.
|Several sparkling wines are also produced here though most are so highly oxidised that little pleasure is to be derived from them. The rare undamaged and still fresh examples though are of very good quality. Most observers consider it obvious that Moldova has a great future.|