48h guide | chisinau | moldova | '18 - a soviet wine powerhouse
'one of the smallest countries in europe has a secret, an amazing wine history'
moldova, after having my faith restored in humanity by a nice guy in romania after being left to hitchhike by a renegade bus driver in the middle of nowhere i arrived in the capital of this lesser known eastern european country nestled between ukraine & romania.
over the last few years i have been teaching myself about wine going on countless tours to wineries around the world learning about this incredible product. few people know but moldova has some amazing wines & wineries and while relatively unknown in the western world it was once the pearl of soviet union wine production with some of the best wines coming from this country. i had the pleasure to spend the day with winetours moldova on and epic one day discovery of wines from the region.
i only had three days in this country so taking one of these one day tours was invaluable to get to see the surrounding beautiful countryside and wineries all less than one hour from the capital.
castle mimi winery
we started our journey into the world of moldovan wine at the wonderful castle mimi winery south of the capital. this winery has been recently redesigned by an italian architect and you can really see the quality. after taking a tour through the high tech cellar we were then taken to the exquisite onsite restaurant where i had the opportunity to taste five wines of all different varieties that was accompanied by the most exquisite tasting platter filled with local produce. the wines we tasted i can honestly say were of a super high quality but the rosé was something special the aromas and flavors from this wine was in my opinion the best rosé that i have tasted from all of the counties i have visited.
the grounds of the winery are beautiful, similar to a french chateau if you're a true wine lover you can even stay in one of the onsite bungalows while winding the days away in the pool. the onsite spa even offers a wine bath. yes, bathing in wine, what a dream...
our next stop on our wine journey was the rustic asconi winery. coming from the last winery asconi had a homely feeling to it. lots of wood and flora has been used in the design of this winey but as you look past the rustic facade you will see that this is a super advanced winery producing millions of bottles per year.
on our tour of the winery we took a look at the soon to be finished thatched bungalows they were building for visitors coming for overnight stays at the winery. one of my favorite areas of the winery had to be the outdoor restaurant that was adorned with beautiful plants and flowers hanging from above.
we tried three wines at asconi and i have to say that my favorite was the exquisite ice wine. the wine was perfectly in balance with a delicate sweetness & balance of acidity.
last but at no means least was the ultra-famous cricova winery. it has one of the largest wine cellars in the world with over 120km of underground pathways.
i arrived at the winery in the late afternoon, it was around 30c outside and after meeting my wonderful tour guide, we climb upon our transportation. yes, here the cellar is so vast that you need to get around by golf cart. on entering the cellar, the temperature dropped to a cool 12c and it stays at that temperature all year round so it's the perfect place to store wine.
our first stop was the underground cinema where we enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine and watched a promo video of the history of the winery, what was interesting to me is that this winery is still state owned. this is actually the only winery i have been too that is state owned, you could say they are providing wine for the people...
after meandering through the pathways filled with huge barrels of wine, we found ourself at the tasting room. cricova produces a myriad of different wines but they are most famous for their sparkling wine and i have to say that was my favorite with the perfect balance of acidity it reminded me of prosecco but i felt this had a smoother finish to it.
while i didn't spend much time in moldova & chrisnau i felt that i would like to come back to explore more as the people i met and places i visited where something special.
if you're into wine then i can honestly say that this country has everything to offer wines lovers from all over the world.
i would like to thanks winetours moldova for the opportunity to visit these wonderful wineries without them this trip could not have been possible. the quality and professionalism of the company are at a level you would find in the western world.
- moldovan leu. it is very inexpensive compared with northern europe.
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country travel tips
atm: any is fine most are free.
sim card: orange has the best coverage in the area.
transport: bus & car are the best way to get around.