Top Moldovian Wines in a Masterclass by Frank Smulders MW
I am a huge fan of Moldavian wines and their promotional strategy. I was impressed when I visited five of their wineries a month ago, spending two days on the “WINEding roads” and tasting their top offers. Since that was just a sneak preview in what they can offer and included only the larger producers of the country, their National Office for Vine and Wine created a new event to win our hearts, taste buds and why not, our wallets.
Book Launch- Fine Wine by Andrei Cibotaru
Before the event started, I was happy to meet in person and congratulate my colleague, Andrei Cibotaru, who is The Wine Blogger of Moldova at Fine Wine. He launched his book “50 Great Moldavian Wines”, a non-hierarchical catalog of the best wines on the market at the present moment. This is an excellent step for the wine literature in his country which shows an openness towards the public, making the wine a trendy discussion topic and penetrating new market segments. Andrei was so kind to offer an autograph on my copy, and we even think about joint projects in the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Frank Smulders, MW
The exclusive Masterclass was presented by Frank Smulders, MW, a Dutch native with a deep love for Spanish wines, the youngest master of wine in history so far. Although relaxed and extremely knowledgeable, he took us on a 90-minute marathon of tasting and discussing almost 20 wines, one from each of the participating wineries. What I loved most about Mr. Smulders’ way of presenting was that he took the time to let us make our impression of the wine before sharing his opinions. He was critiqued by some participants for being too generous with some wines. However, I felt that his goal was to highlight the positive result of a huge effort by the wineries to change their style of medium sweet and sweet wines towards a dry, elegant style which is welcomed by the educated European, American and even Chinese markets.
A Personal Selection
Each winery had the right to choose just one sample and hope for the best reaction from the public. Such a challenge I believe it’s a huge bet, as tastes are so diverse these days, but overall it was a comprehensive selection. I am sad there were no dessert wines included, although Moldova has some wonderful examples of Ice Wine and Botrytis (Noble Rot) wines. Without further ado, here are the samples I liked, and I would buy.
This is the Moldovan replica to prosecco, produced in steel tanks from Glera grapes, with a low sugar dosage. It’s very fresh, crisp, smells like green apples and jasmine flowers. It has delicate bubbles and a medium body with just 12% alcohol, which is very well integrated.
Cricova Cuvee Prestige 2013
Created by the traditional method from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has delicate toasty notes from the long time (30 months) spent on the lees. The wine is very refreshing and has a pleasant minerality, accompanied by floral notes. A hard to beat option for Champagne fans considering the price (around 13 €/15$)/quality ratio.
This wine brings the best synergy between the components. It has the buttery notes of the oak-aged Chardonnay and the delicate hay and honey aromas of the Feteasca Alba. It is bone-dry, the alcohol is very well integrated, and it seduced me with its the roundness and the velvety feeling of the after-taste.
Since I’ve mentioned before the Saperavi from Gitana, Negre from F’Autor, Rosu de Bulboaca from Castel Mimi and Sol Negru from Asconi I will focus now on a discovery worth mentioning.
The deep red wine evokes ripe red fruits and has some vegetable notes (bell-pepper) from the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has some complexity coming from some oak – aging; it displays notes of violets and cigars. The tannins are already soft, and the alcohol is quite low for a red, which makes it easy to drink. In fact, it is not right for aging, but you can enjoy it right away. As Mr. Smulders noted, most wines are drunk within 3,5 hours from their purchasing time.
Congrats to the team from Quartz Media Productions for organizing this event.
Thank you for ther invitation.