Moldova: Bubbles, Red Blend, and …Pizza? Yes! #WinePW

Who is the eleventh largest producer of wine in Europe and in 2014 the twentieth largest wine producing country in the world?

Tiny Moldova!

While most of the wine from Moldova is exported, very little lands in the United States; instead it heads to Russia. Once part of the Soviet Union, Moldova is surrounded on three sides by Ukraine and Romania to the west, hugged by Romania. While landlocked, its continental climate is moderated by the massive Black Sea located nearby — and which also makes it suitable for wine grapes.

While wine from grapes grown in Moldova may be new to you and me, they’re not new to the region. The fossil record indicates that grapes were growing in Moldova 6-15 million year ago. In 2800 BC, grapes were cultivated, and winemaking began there 4-5000 years ago making it one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions in Europe.

 

 

Given an opportunity to sample wine from Moldova with our colleagues from the Wine Pairing Weekend group of wine writers hosted by Jeff Burrows of FoodWineClick!, Sue and I quickly said yes! Read Jeff’s informative invite post here. For this month’s #WinePW, we wrote about a sparkling wine from an indigenous grape and a  red wine that’s a blend of two well known international grapes, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Following Sue’s research, we chose to pair the wines with thick crusted Moldovan inspired pizzas.

Sparkling Wine Menu

  • Oysters
  • Sushi platter
  • Shrimp salad
  • Moldova Inspired Strawberry pizza (recipe below)

Red Blend Menu

  • Cheese plate
  • Moldova Inspired Meat pizza (recipe below)

Cricova – Crisecco – Vin Spumant Brut ALB
12.5% alcohol SRP $20
Sample for my review consideration.
100% Fetească Albă

Fetească Albă is a white grape native to the region that’s used primarily for sparkling wine. About 2200 acres of this grape is grown in Moldova. This sparkling wine is made using the tank method where the secondary fermentation is accomplished in a tank. Located in the Codru region, where the winery has 75 miles of underground caves. This video below features four wineries in Moldova including Cricova.

Color:  Bright lemon yellow, large perlage

Nose: Light perfume of white flowers, citrus flowers, tuberose, bee pollen, nicely floral,

Palate: Fizzy, foamy, nice and dry, apple up front, tart citrus at the back of the palate almost like a lemon lifesaver, finish is nice and clean

Pairing: Peach flavors when paired with oysters; the oyster brings out beautiful fruit profiles in the wine. Nice with the shrimp, and very nice with shrimp in the salad. Sue thought it would be very nice with egg rolls. While it was nice with a salmon sushi roll, I preferred it it with the salmon sushi where it brings out such peachy fruit in the wine. Tuna sushi however, brings out a lemon quality in the wine. Sue loved the wine with the ginger on the sushi plate. I didn’t believe it and had to try it for myself. She was right, it works so well we started imagining how to use the wine for a ginger infused cocktail. We always think of bubbles as being a great party wine and this is no exception. It is very food friendly. With the large pelage, it holds the bubbles for a while ensuring it continues to stay fresh for quite some time.

An unexpected pleasure was how well the sparkling went with the savory pizza.

I really had a hard time deciding which of these two wines was better with the savory pizza. They were both fantastic together in their own ways. The fruit pizza was also perfect with this wine. They complimented and contrasted each other in different ways.

2015 – Castel Mimi – Rosu de Bulboaca – Barrique
14% alcohol SRP $20
Sample for mt review consideration.
70% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon

Read all about Castel Mimi’s remarkable “Phoenix” story from Jeff Burrows who visited August 2019.

Visit the Castel Mimi website here.

Color: Very dense, Garnet, brickish rim

Nose: This wine has all of the earthy elements that you think of when you think about Merlot. Sage eucalyptus, forest floor, gaureague, there is a meatiness to the wine as well, a bit of licorice, this wine has a very heady nose, Sue detected cayenne pepper, chocolate, and pepper and fruit. Sue has a recipe for spicy rhubarb chocolate brownies and kept saying that this wine smelled just like the brownies. There is a bit of vanilla as well.

Palate: Smooth velvety tannins, this wine is a smooth operator. Being a 2015, everything has integrated nicely.  Cherries and herbs that glide across the palate with a very pleasant lingering silty clay like finish. I don’t know how much longer one would want to cellar this wine. We both got the impression that this is a drink now, enjoy now wine.

Pairing:  Extra aged sharp cheddar becomes milk chocolate with the wine. Loves aged gouda, and salt cured olives. This  wine can handle and tame strong cheeses, salty cheeses, and cured meats: a perfect partner for a cheese plater. When looking into the food of Moldova Sue discovered a Moldovian pizza. She did not follow their recipe completely, mainly because they use pork on their pizza, so she put her own twist on the pizza. Moldovian pizza is oblong instead of round. They use egg as the base instead of cheese. She made an oblong pizza, elimated the egg opting for fresh mozzarella cheese instead because that is what we had, and using quality pork Italian sausage instead of pork cubes and sprinkled the top with sautéed prosciutto.  It turned out so nice and went perfectly with the wine. If we had more of this wine in our glass we would have tasted it with our strawberry pizza, but it was so good there wasn’t any left. We can only imagine how well it would have gone with this wine.

We are both so pleased with the wines we are ready to seek them out. Such great values. The wine and the menu this evening were perfect. We really hit it out of the ball park tonight.

Sue’s Organic Pizza 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Organic whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 4 cups Organic unbleached all purpose flour,
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water 110 degrees
  • 2 Tablespoons Plus 1 teaspoon Olive oil
Directions
  • In a bowl mix 1 cup Wheat flour and 3 cups unbleached flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
  • Add water and 2 T olive oil.
  • Mix until it comes together into a ball. If the dough is to sticky, add more flourI until a firm ball is formed.
  • Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
  • Pour remaining oil onto a  large glass or ceramic bowl to coat.
  • Place the dough into the bowl and turn so it is coated with oil.
  • Cover with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled in size approximately 1/2 to 1 hour.
  • Cut dough in half and knead lightly and let rest on floured surface for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Form dough on a baking sheet to desired shape and thickness. In Moldova, Sue’s research found the crust is typically very thick.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Top with pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella and desired toppings. In Moldova, Sue’s research indicates toppings are typically pork sausage; we did half with spicy and  half with mild Italian pork sausage.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Learning more about wines from Moldova and what to pair with them by checking out the articles by my Wine Pairing Weekend colleagues. You can chat with us live on Twitter at 11am EST/8am Pacific Saturday July 11 by following the hashtag #WinePW.  Cheers!

Suggested Twitter Discussion Questions from host Jeff:

  • 11:00 am ET // 8am Pacific
    Q1 Welcome to the #WinePW Wines of Moldova Discovery. Where are you tweeting from? Introduce yourself, share a link to your blog. Visitors too!
  • 11:05 am ET
    Q2 Let’s start with today’s subject. What did you know about Moldova and the wines of Moldova prior to our event? #WinePW
  • 11:10am ET
    Q3 Moldova is a small landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Did you uncover anything interesting in your research for the event? #WinePW
  • 11:15am ET
    Q4 Our thanks to Wines of Moldova for the generous samples! Tell us about the wines you received. #WinePW
  • 11:20 am ET
    Q5 Outlawed during the Soviet era, Moldova’s local grapes are making a comeback. Did you receive a wine from these grapes? What did you think? #WinePW
  • 11:25 am ET
    Q6 Could you describe Moldovan Wine Character? Old world in style? New world? Unique? #WinePW
  • 11:30 am ET
    Q7 Did you pair your wine w/ food? Did you choose a regional food or a creative pairing of your own? #WinePW
  • 11:35am ET
    Q8 How did your pairings go? Are there things you’d try in the future or anything to avoid? #WinePW
  • 11:40am ET
    Q9 Moldova is working to become a wine destination. Did your experience with these wines increase your interest in visiting? #WinePW
  • 11:45am
    Q10 Moldovan wines are not widely distributed in the US. What are your thoughts or suggestions for approaching American audiences with these wines? #WinePW
  • 11:50am
    Q11 Open comment time, any thoughts or discoveries you’d like to share? #WinePW
  • 11:55am
    Thanks again to Wines of Moldova for providing samples for our exploration! #WinePW

10 thoughts on “Moldova: Bubbles, Red Blend, and …Pizza? Yes! #WinePW

  1. I’m so interested to try one of their Sparkling wines, and such interesting wines overall. The pizza looks tasty and looks like the bubble were a great combo with the sushi.

    Liked by 1 person

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