Moldova’s best wines, part 2 – wineries A-C

Agrici Winery

Founded in 1958 and then modernized in 2000 with state-of-the-art equipment. This is the winemaking arm of the former state winery Milestii Mici, and was privatised in 1997. This is a family owned business headed up by Efim Agrici, and Agrici is their family brand based on 76 hectares of vines in the Codru wine region.

Signature Series Feteasca Neagra 2018
13% alcohol. This is plump, ripe and sweetly fruited with attractive, lush blackcurrant and raspberry fruit. Modern and really well made, this offers sweet, pure fruit with some supporting spicy notes. Very attractive with lush dark fruit the main theme. 91/100

Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon Feteasca Neagra 2018
13.5% alcohol. Really attractive with sweet ripe blackcurrant fruit as well as blackberry and some cherry freshness. Ripe and lush with purity, and a nice green hint that blends in well with the fruit. A lovely wine combining sweet fruit with freshness. Very appealing. 92/100

Signature Series Merlot Feteasca Neagra 2018
13.5% alcohol. Sweetly aromatic nose with blackberry, prune and a hint of tobacco leaf. Ripe and quite sweetly fruited on the palate with a hint of raisin as well as bright black fruits. It’s very ripe, but still has freshness and purity of fruit. Lots to like in this distinctive, modern wine. 90/100


A family run business founded in 1994, Asconi Winery is located in the village of Geamana, Anenii Noi. Initially it began without vineyards, but since 2005 they have amassed 550 hectares of vines, all within 10 km of the winery. They were the first to machine harvest at night, and have a state-of-the-art winery. Almost all their wines are exported, but they abandoned the Russian market after the 2006 embargo.

Website: Asconi

Asconi Sol Negru Fetească Albă 2020
12% alcohol. Floral and aromatic with bright grapey fruit and some citrus overtones. The palate is clean and bright with nice fresh fruit, showing some grapey richness and then a bit of pithy bitterness on the finish. Really well made. 88/100

Asconi Sol Negru Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Codru
12% alcohol. Slightly sweaty aromatic nose with bright citrus fruit and some passionfruit and honey notes. The palate is crisp and focused with pure bright citrus fruit and just a hint of green. Modern and well made, with lots of fruitiness. 87/100

Asconi Sol Negru Fetească Neagră 2016
14% alcohol. 24 months American oak. Juicy, bright and berryish with some cherry and plum notes as well as a bit of spiciness. It’s rounded and fruity and quite sweet. Appealing stuff. 87/100

Asconi June Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Fetească Neagră 2020
13% alcohol. Fruity and rounded with nice sweet cherry and plum, as well as some blackcurrant. Lovely direct fruit here: it’s pure and supple, with no over-ripeness. This is really well made and shows great fruit purity. 90/100 

Asconi Penumbra Fetească Neagră-Merlot-Syrah 2018
14% alcohol. 18 months in French oak barrels. Ambitiously packaged in a heavy bottle. Brooding sweet blackcurrant fruit on the nose with some spicy overtones. The palate has dense, rich fruit with nice purity, but also quite a bit of spicy oak. Well made in the international style, but a bit too oaky at the moment. Some will love it, though. 89/100

Atú Winery

Husband and wife team Victor and Vlada Vutcarau founded Atú Winery in 2016, and it was Moldova’s first urban winery. 17 hectares of vines planted to local and international varieties such as Fetească Albă, Viorica, Fetească Neagră, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, Codrinschii, Saperavi, and Pinot Noir. The winery is in Chisinau. Their main business is owners of the largest grapevine nursery in Moldova.

Atú Viorica 2019
14.5% alcohol. No oak ageing. Lovely aromatics: very grapey and terpenic with pear, table grape and some herbal hints. The palate is clean, flavourful and very fruity with rich grapey notes and some bitter pithy characters adding freshness, as well as a hint of mint. Very lively and intense. 90/100

Atú Codrinschii Saperavi 2019
14.5% alcohol. 30% Saperavi, 70% Codrinschii. No oak ageing. This is floral and vivid on the nose with cherry and raspberry fruit. It’s deliciously vital on the palate with a mass of fresh, crunchy, sleek blackberry, blackcurrant and raspberry fruit. Lovely primary fruit here: this is really delicious and bold, and has great balance. 94/100

Atú Calibru 2018
14% alcohol. 45% Fetească Neagră, 45% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. 12 months in oak. This is very polished and distinguished, with well integrated oak providing support to the sweet blackcurrant and berry fruit. Good concentration and purity here, with some spicy structure. Has good ageing potential: a lovely wine. 93/100


Based in Nisporeni in the Codru wine region, this winery has a sparkling focus.

Aurelius Glera Extra Brut Limited Edition 2019
12% alcohol. Charmat method. Lively fruity nose with pear and a touch of baked apple. The palate is fresh, pure and lively with nice weight of fruit, a touch of sweetness and lovely volume and purity. Really impressive. 89/100

Aurelius Brut Nature Rose Limited Edition 2019  
12% alcohol. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, Charmat method. Attractive pale pink in colour. This shows bright cherry and pear fruit with good acidity and a hint of herbs in the background. Nicely balanced with good focus to the fruit. 87/100

Aurelius Chardonnay Sauvignon Traminer White 2020

12.5% alcohol. Brightly fruity on the nose with lemons and pears and a touch of fennel. The palate is pure, fine and fruity with nice pure lemony fruit as well as a touch of grapey richness. Has lovely balance and purity, finishing with a hint of mint. 90/100

Aurelius Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Feteasca Neagra 2018

14% alcohol. One year aging in oak. Sleek, aromatic blackcurrant nose leads to a lush, quite rich palate with appealing ripe fruit and appropriate structure, with just a touch of oak. Nice modern wine with lovely balance and impressive fruit intensity. 91/100

Aurelius Feteasca Neagra 2018
14% alcohol. A little lighter in style, with appealing plum and cherry fruit. Nice ripe, slightly curranty palate with fine spices. Rounded and sweetly fruited, this is a lovely balanced red with fine herbal hints and a spicy finish. Lovely stuff. 92/100

Aurvin/DK Intertrade

A 10 000 ton winery in the south, in the Valul Lui Traian region, with 200 hectares of vineyards.

Aurvin Reserve Pinot Grigio 2020
13.5% alcohol. Rich and fruity with some tangerine, pear and table grape fruit notes. There’s a tiny hint of cooked egg and cabbage in the background, and some stoniness on the finish. 81/100

Aurvin Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2020
13% alcohol. Lots of flavour here. Melon and pear, with a touch of citrus. A ripe expression of Sauvignon with emphasis on its tropical fruit character. Has a freshness to the finish. Nice weight here: a very fruity wine. 88/100

Aurvin Reserve Chardonnay 2020
13.5% alcohol. There’s a cabbage edge here to the fresh pear and green apple fruit. Some green hints. A fruity style. 83/100

Aurvin Reserve Merlot Rose 2020
13.5% alcohol. Pale pink in colour with nice sweet pear and cherry fruit. Has some table grape character, too. Some stony notes on the finish. Nice fruit here. 87/100

Aurvin Reserve Merlot 2020
13.5% alcohol. Some spicy notes on the nose, which shows vivid black fruits. Very fruity and berryish on the palate with nice bright black cherry and blackberry fruit, just a hint of appley oxidative character lurking in the wings, and some spicy chocolatey, clove-scented savoury framing. Impressive fruit. 87/100


Organically certified, run by the Basavin family for 40 years. Based in the Stefan-Voda region, they have 250 hectares of vines.

Basavin Trei Fete White 2019
12% alcohol. 40% Feteasca Regala, 40% Fetească Albă, 20% Fetească Neagră eagra. Unoaked. Full yellow gold colour. This is richly fruited with a slight oily texture to the tinned pear, peach and melon fruit. Very rich with a touch of sweetness from the fruit (it’s dry, I think) with nice spicy bite on the finish. 86/100

Basavin Optimist Shiraz Red 2018
14.5% alcohol. 50% Syrah, 25% Fetească Neagră, 25% Rară Neagră. Deeply coloured. Rich, ripe, spicy nose with some bacon and roast coffee, as well as sweet black fruits. The palate is rich, ripe and lush, with soft tannins and lots of sleek blackberry fruit with some meaty, olive undertones. A really rich style with lots of ripeness – verging on the jammy and over-ripe – but it works. Very new world. 89/100

Basavin Argilos Rosu Cabernet Franc Rară Neagră Red 2018
14.5% alcohol. Ripe, sweet, slightly baked black fruits nose. The palate shows olive, meat and spice under the lush sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit. Very rich and intense with a touch of spiciness. Very ripe, but well made. 88/100

Basavin Fetească Neagră Cool Climate Collection 2018
13% alcohol. Aromatic nose with apples, olives and sweet cherry and berry fruit. The palate is open and fruity with an appley edge to the sweet berry fruits, with some brightness. Shows a lot of fruit but also some oxidative characters. 84/100

Basavin Rară Neagră Cool Climate Red 2018
13% alcohol. Fresh and open with sweet cherry and strawberry fruit, as well as a touch of tannic grip. A lighter-style red with nice ripe fruit, but no lack of intensity and some good structure. Lovely fruit. 90/100


A significant player, this is a 20 000 ton winery rebuilt in 2002. First wines released in 2003 and by two years later this was the largest exporter of quality wines in the country. 74 hectares in Onesti, Codru, and 500 hectares in Etulia, in the Valul Lui Traian region. Part of the Purcari group.

Bostavan 47°N Pinot Grigio 2019
13% alcohol. Clean, fruity and rounded with bright citrus fruit and a touch of grapiness. It’s juicy and very appealing, with nice fruitiness. 86/100

Bostavan DOR Viorica 2019
12.5% alcohol. Bright, primary and fruity with a juicy edge to the sweet grapey fruit. Has nice purity and concentration, with a touch of spiciness on the finish adding interest. Really nicely done. 88/100

Bostavan DOR Merlot-Saperavi Rosé 2019
13% alcohol. 90% Merlot, 10% Saperavi. Attractive pale pink in colour. Fruity and fresh with a touch of sweetness adding volume to the palate, which shows attractive pear and cherry fruit. Lovely fruit purity and freshness here, and really well balanced. Massive drinkability. 88/100

Bostavan DOR Fetească Neagră-Pinot Noir 2018
13% alcohol. 70% Fetească Neagră, 30% Pinot Noir. Lovely soft strawberry and cherry fruit here, with a touch of plum. Sweetly fruited with soft tannins and just a bit of crunch on the finish. Lovely fruit intensity with great balance, finishing soft and smooth. 87/100

Bostavan DOR Cabernet-Sauvignon-Rară Neagră 2019
13% alcohol. 60% Rară Neagră, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice fruit purity here: this has some crunchy structure under the sweet berry fruits, with smoothness and soft tannins. It’s pure, rounded and easy to drink with lush ripe fruit to the fore. Really attractive. 88/100

Carpe Diem/ Casa Vinicola Luca

The Luca family have been making wine for four generations. In 1949 under the Soviet regime, their vineyards were nationalized and the family was deported to a Siberian labour camp. The current range was launched in 2011 when the two younger generations began rebuilding the family estate. They have 10.5 hectares of vines in Codru. In 2018 they began building their own winery in Cricova

Carpe Diem Fetească Regală 2020
12.5% alcohol. Bright and lively with a slight bitter, pithy edge to the vivid citrus fruit. Nice fruity intensity here with a bright pithy character. 87/100

Carpe Diem Femme Fatale 2019
13% alcohol. 50% Fetească Regală, 50% Fetească Albă. Nice pure fruit here. Lemony with some pear notes and a touch of green apple. Nice crisp clean fruit with a soft textural midpalate and some brightness on the finish. 88/100

Carpe Diem Femme Incredible 2020
12.5% alcohol. 33% Fetească Regală, 33% Viorica, 34% Sauvignon Blanc. Fruity, bright and pithy with nice grapey richness as well as citrus brightness. Nice purity and focus with a touch of grapefruit. 87/100

Carpe Diem Fetească Neagră 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 20 months in French oak. Heavy bottle. This is open, expressive and shows sweet strawberry and cherry fruit, with a subtle spiciness from the oak. Soft and rounded with a spicy, plummy finish. Mellow and digestible, showing a bit of oak spice on the finish. 88/100

Carpe Diem Bad Boys 2018
14% alcohol. 40% Fetească Neagră, 40% Saperavi, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. Aged for 20 months in new French oak. Heavy bottle. Dense, rich and quite spicy with some cedar spice from the oak sitting under bright blackberry and plum fruit. Nicely intense with some mellowness from the barrel ageing, but also a bit of genuine grippy structure. Appealing. 90/100

Castel Mimi

Castel Mimi is a big tourist draw, located just 30 minutes from Chisinau. The winery dates back to 1893 when it was built by Constantin Mimi, the last governor of Bessarbia. He learned winegrowing in France and brought back technology and grape varieties, most notably Aligoté. During the soviet years this was for a time the largest winery in the USSR – a huge factory called Agrivin Bulboaca. The renovation of this property has resulted in a stunning hospitality venue that attracts a lot of tourism.

Castel Mimi The Governor Chardonnay Riesling 2018 Centru
13% alcohol. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Riesling. Aged for 12 months in French oak. Full yellow colour. This is quite dense with bold citrus fruit, a touch of pear, and a bit of oak spice. Dense with some structure, this is a fresh dry white with real flavour presence. It’s an unusual blend but it works well. 88/100

Castel Mimi The Governor’s Blend 2018 Codru
15.5% alcohol. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Fetească Neagră, 25% Saperavi. Aged for 16 months in French oak. Aromatic enticing floral blackcurrant fruit on the nose. The palate is rich, pure and very ripe with a spicy framing to the lush, liqueur-like blackcurrant and cherry fruit. Modern and plush, it’s quite ripe, but it works. 89/100

Castel Mimi Rosu de Bulboaca 2018
15% alcohol. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Malbec, 5% Saperavi. Aged for 12 months in French oak. Very ripe and sweetly fruited, but well made, with some spicy oak sitting under lush, pure berry fruits. A ripe, modern style of red with lots of appeal, but pushing ripeness perhaps a bit too far. 88/100

Castel Mimi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012
14% alcohol. Aged for 36 months in French oak. Sweet, slightly stewed aromatics of herbs, black tea, olives and lush berries. The palate is mellow and developed with soft tannins, a note of undergrowth and some fine herbs. A lush, smooth mature wine with some appeal, but it has gone slightly soft and mushy, and tastes a bit stewed. 86/100

Castel Mimi Ice Wine Riesling 2018
8% alcohol. 245 g/l rs. Rich, powerful and intense with apricot, lemon and some marmalade notes. Has massive sweetness, a strong citrus drive, some pithy notes and good acidity. Rich and honeyed. 90/100

Chateau Cristi

Chateau Cristi was founded in 1882 by Vladimir Cristi, and is based in southern Moldova, in Valul lui Traian.

Website: Chateau Cristi

Chateau Cristi Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2019
14% alcohol. Fermented in 225l oak and acacia barrels, aged for 5 months. Heavy bottle. Bold, rich and peachy with concentrated pear and peach fruit, some pithy notes, and rich woody, nutty characters from the oak and acacia. This has massive concentration, and a savoury spicy edge to the dense fruit with notes of clove and cinnamon. Distinctive, intense and quite powerful. Long crystalline citrus and toast finish. 89/100

Chateau Cristi Pinot Noir 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 8 months in French and Romanian oak. Heavy bottle. Sweet spicy nose with some floral cherry and plum fruit. The palate has appealing cherry and strawberry fruit with some spicy oak and good structure. Rounded and quite dense, it has good Pinot character in a bold, sweetly fruited style. Finishes dry and quite firm. 90/100

Chateau Cristi Merlot 2017
14% alcohol. Aged for 10 months in 225l French oak, new and second use. Heavy bottle. This is a sophisticated oak-aged Merlot with good density of sweet berry and cherry fruit with well integrated oak supporting the structure. Smooth tannins here and nice intensity. Has some structure, but everything works together in harmony. Polished and modern but very good. 91/100

Chateau Cristi Cuvee Rouge Royal 2016
13% alcohol. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Malbec. Aged in 225l French oak, new and second use. Heavy bottle. Floral, fresh red berry and cherry fruit on the nose with a fine spiciness and nice hints of leafy greenness. The palate is fresh and supple with a nice leafy undercurrent to the sweet plummy fruit. Lovely balance and structure here. Polished but with good balance and potential for development. 91/100

Bravoure by Chateau Cristi Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz/ Fetească Neagră  2017
14.5% alcohol. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 10% Fetească Neagră. Aged for 12 months in 225l French oak barrels, second and third use. Heavy bottle. This is beautifully balanced with a fine leafy edge to the refined, mellow blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. There’s a sweetness to the fruit and the oak is really well integrated, taking a back seat, allowing the ripe, fine fruity notes to dominate. Has a fine spicy finish. 92/100

Crama Mircești

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Crama Mircești Fetească Albă 2020
13% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. Aged on the lees for 4 months. Fruity, inviting and sweetly aromatic with sweet citrus and pear fruit, with a touch of mandarin richness and some table grape and lychee. Lovely pure fruit with great balance. 90/100

Crama Mircești Riesling 2020
13.5% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. Aged on the lees for 4 months. Lovely weight and purity here with yellow plum and citrus fruit, a touch of sweet pear, and a bit of pithiness on the finish. Lovely concentration and freshness, and really delicious yellow and citrus fruits. 91/100

Crama Mircești Bardul din Mircesti Cuvee Rouge 2018
15% alcohol. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Saperavi, aged for 24 months in new oak barrels. Has a heady aromatic blend of cedary, spicy oak with intense black fruits. Notes of tar, pine and dill. The palate is concentrated with nice dense black fruits, with smooth tannins and lots of fruit. There’s some alcoholic warmth, and the oak shows less on the palate than the nose. It’s very ripe, it’s quite oaky, but it’s also well balanced in this style and finishes with more freshness than you might expect. 91/100


The Cricova winery, founded in 1952, is famous for its enormous cellar, which was dug out in the 15th century as a limestone mine. It has one of the largest wine cellars in Europe with 1.3 million bottles of wine. The winery has over 600 hectares of vines, both in central and southern Moldova. Cricova was the first Moldovan winery to produce traditional method sparkling wines back in the 1950s. It’s 15 km from the capital and is a popular tourist destination. Production is around 10 million bottles a year of which the majority is sparkling wine. Half a million bottles a year are hand riddled.


Cricova Alb de Onițcani Brut 2018
13% alcohol. Dosage 9 g/l. This shows ripe pear and apple fruit, with a nice rounded fruity personality, finishing with some lemony bite. Lovely purity and depth here with plenty of flavour and nice freshness, as well as just a touch of balancing sweetness. 88/100

Cricova Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut 2016
12.5% alcohol. Pinot Noir. Dosage 5 g/litre. This is fresh and focused with lovely pear and cherry fruit, with a citrus brightness and good acidity. Stylish, pure and linear, this has lovely fruit presence. 89/100

Cricova Pinot Grigio Prestige 2020
13% alcohol. No oak ageing. Zesty and bright with mandarin, lemon and pear fruit as well as a hint of grapey sweetness. A clean dry white with a slight stoniness to the fruit. Very appealing. 84/100

Cricova Fetească Neagră Ediție Limitată 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 12 months in Romanian barrels. Open and sweetly fruited with a slight appley edge to the berry and cherry fruit. A tiny bit oxidative, but very fruity and smooth, and has some appeal. 84/100

Cricova Vin Virgin 2015
14% alcohol. Merlot, aged for 12 months in Hungarian oak. Heavy bottle. Brooding sweet, open blackberry and black cherry nose with some savoury, cedary oak and notes of cinnamon. Dusty tannins on the finish. 86/100