Moldova’s best wines, part 3: wineries D-G

Vinăria DAC

DAC Balada Duro 2019
13% alcohol. 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Fetească Regală, 15% Chardonnay. This is fruity and lively with nice citrus, pear and baked apple notes. Fruit-driven and expressive with some ripeness and a bit of melony richness. Nicely textured. 89/100

DAC Rosu Domnesc 2017
14% alcohol. 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 30% Fetească Neagră. Aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. This is sweetly fruited and supple with lovely berry fruits taking centre stage. Very luscious and fruit-driven, but has a sense of freshness and the oak is hidden away nicely. It’s fully ripe, but stays in balance. 90/100

Denovie Group: Casa Petru, Château Denovie, Eva

This group has 350 hectares of vines and is a major player.

Casa Petru MMXV Frumoasa Neagră 2018
14% alcohol. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Saperavi, Fetească Neagră. Sweetly aromatic, slightly baked nose with stewed plums and olives. The palate is ripe, sweet and slightly jammy with plums and baked apple notes. Oxidative in style. 82/100

Casa Petru Feteasca Fetească Neagră 2018
13.5% alcohol. Juicy and bright with lush sweet cherry and berry fruit, with some ripeness. Has rich strawberry and olive character adding extra dimensions on the palate, with lushness but also a bit of grip. Very ripe but still balanced. 88/100

Chateau Denovie Noir de Denovie 2013
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Saperavi that spends three years in oak. Very grandly packaged with thick wax over the capsule. It’s very mellow, ripe and smooth, with all the tannins tamed by the ageing regime. Has lush sweet fruit with blackberries, blackcurrant and cherry, but also some nice spicy structure. Pretty refined and quite stylish in a traditional mould. 91/100

Chateau Denovie Rouge de Denovie 2013
13.5% alcohol. Grandly packaged. Aged for three years in oak, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Fetească Neagră. Concentrated but refined with lovely sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with some mid-palate richness and refined tannic structure. This is smooth and concentrated with a mellow personality and a bit of chalkiness under the fruit. Impressive. 93/100

Chateau Denovie Rouge de Denovie 2015
13.5% alcohol. Aged for three years in oak, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Feteasca Neagra. There’s a slightly herby edge to the nose, and also a bit of appley oxidative character, as well as bold sweet fruit, mellowed somewhat by time in oak. Nice concentration and some freshness, but I’m not keen on the oxidative notes. 86/100

Divus/Domeniile Vornicieni

Domeniile Vorniceni Viorica 2020
13% alcohol. Beautifully clean, fruity and grapey on the nose with some bright citrus notes. The palate is fruity and a bit pithy with nice brightness and a subtle bitter note on the finish that’s really appealing. A stylish crisp dry white with the emphasis firmly on the fruit. 90/100

Domeniile Vorniceni Feteasca Regala Private Estate 2020
12.5% alcohol. Bright, pure and fresh with lovely fruit: cherries, pears and some table grape, with a citrus peel pithiness on the finish. A lovely pure, fruit-driven dry white in a modern style, this works really well. 89/100

Divus Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Saperavi Red 2018
14.5% alcohol. Lovely broad fruit driven nose with a chocolatey richness to the sweet black fruits. The palate shows great concentration, with lush, sweet blackberry and cherry fruit, together with some cedary spice from oak, and a wall of ripe fruit. Soft tannins here. Very modern and ripe, but really well made in this style. Will win a lot of friends. 92/100

Doina Vin

With 200 hectares of vines, Doina Vin is based in the Codru region. The winery dates back to 1875, but has been renewed by the Bors family who took it over in 2002.

Artitude Chardonnay Muscat Sauvignon Blanc Riesling 2017 Codru
12.5% alcohol. This is full yellow in colour and has bold, textured pear and melon fruit with nice depth to it. Rich and broad but balanced, with some honeyed richness. 88/100

Perla Neagra Alb de Colectie Chardonnay White Demi-Sec 2020 Codru
15% alcohol. This is bold and richly fruited with sweetly fruited pear, baked apple, peach and honey notes. Has a very rich texture with some sweetness on the finish. Nice pure fruit. Rare to find an off-dry Chardonnay, but it works quite well. 86/100

Artitude Rose Vin Rosé Demi-Sec 2020 Codru
13% alcohol. Full orange pink colour. Sweet and fruity with a strawberry jelly character. Nice purity of fruit with pear, watermelon and cherry notes. Rich and off-dry, this has a lot of appeal in this style. 87/100

Artitude Fetească Neagră Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Red 2017 Codru
13.5% alcohol. A sweetly fruited, ripe, easy red with lots of soft, smooth berry fruits and some fine spiciness. The tannins are soft and the fruit is very ripe. Has a bit of crunch on the finish and there’s a juicy quality to the fruit. 88/100

Artitude Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Pinot Noir Red 2016 Codru
13.5% alcohol. Juicy and berryish with a nice sour cherry twist on the finish. Lots of sweet berry fruits here with good balance and a bit of crunch. Has a hint of stony mineral character under the fruit. Very drinkable with lovely fruit. 90/100

Domeniile Davidescu/Fabrica de Vinuri Slobozia Mare

Domeniile Davidescu Aligote Muscat Ottonel 2020
12.5% alcohol. Highly aromatic and fresh with sweet pear and melon fruit on the nose as well as some grapiness. The palate is fresh, clean and fruity with nice citrus pith notes adding a little bitterness to counter the sweetness of the grapey fruit. Has a nice soft texture but finishes bright and zesty. 88/100

Domeniile Davidescu Fetească Neagră Malbec 2017
13.5% alcohol. Six months in French oak. Bright berry fruits nose with some wood smoke, spice and clove notes adding savoury interest. Lovely bright berry fruits dominate the palate, with some richness and also a touch of spicy oak and some bacon fat/meatiness. Lovely clean bright fruit here with a nice savoury, structural twist on the finish. 88/100

Domeniile Davidescu Rară Neagră Saperavi 2018
13.5% alcohol. Six months in French oak. Bright, vibrant fruit dominates. Sweet cherries and berries, with a nice texture. Quite lush and rich, with a savoury, spicy woodsmoke framing to the fruit, and a touch of bacon savouriness on the finish. Nice direct fruit here. 89/100

Equinox (Crama Domnească)

Equinox is a small winery with 5 hectares of vines in the Nistru valley. Organic farming. First plantings, 2002 – first wine released 2006. Certified organic since 2013.


Equinox 5 Elemente 2018
14.5% alcohol. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Rară Neagră, 17% Syrah, 15% Malbec, 8% Carménère. Aged for 28 months, 25% in new Romanian oak and 75% in used American and French oak. A really stylish oak aged red with a beautiful harmony between the sweet, ripe blackcurrant and berry fruits, and the spicy oak, with notes of vanilla and tar meshing well with the fruit. Has nice intensity and purity with a lovely open quality to the fruit. 92/100

Equinox Trei Crai 2018
14.5% alcohol. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Malbec. Aged for 18 months, 50% in used Romanian, American and French oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel tank. Mellow and sweetly fruited with some cedar spice and tobacco leaf, as well as warm, ripe cherry and plum fruit, a touch of blackcurrant and some undergrowth notes. Very appealing, in the style of a Rioja Reserva with a marriage of sweet oak and ripe fruit. 90/100


Fautor is based in the southern region of Valul lui Traian. It’s one of Moldova’s most awarded wineries. It was fully modernised in the mid noughties, and has 350 hectares of vines. The winery was purchased by the Diaconu-Croitoru family in 1997, and they began buying vineyards in 2003. Now they have a sizeable 350 hectares. The first Fautor wines were released in 2010.

Fáutor Blanca Cuvée 2020
12.5% alcohol. 90% Albarino, 10% Fetească Regală. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel. Bright and focused with a hint of apricot, some bright citrus fruit, and nice purity and acidity. There’s some structure here as well as good acidity, and there’s a real density to the fruit. Very stylish. 90/100

Fáutor Fumé Blanc 2018
13.5% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in new French oak barrels. This is a Bordeaux-style oaked Sauvignon with some grapefruit and smoke notes, a touch of cedar, and nicely taut citrussy fruit. It’s quite sophisticated and the oak has integrated well, and I think this could develop nicely in bottle. Stylish if a little stylized. 90/100

Fáutor Vivienne Cuvee Rosé 2020
12.5% alcohol. 24% Syrah, 22% Tempranillo, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 16% Fetească Neagră. A few hours of skin maceration. Temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel. Pale pink in colour, this is a stylish rosé with delicate citrus fruit, a hint of mandarin and some subtle cherry notes. Finishes dry. 88/100

Fáutor Aurore Rară Neagră 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in French and American oak barrels. This shows lovely juicy red cherry and redcurrant fruit with a bright, supple personality. The oak adds some spicy depth and hints of resin and tar, but doesn’t get in the way too much. It’s really attractive, and would perhaps be even better with less oak influence? 91/100

Fáutor Negre 2017
14.5% alcohol. 51% Fetească Neagră, 49% Rară Neagră, aged for 12 months in new French oak barrels. There’s lovely fruit here, and it has swallowed up much of the new oak. Bright cherry and raspberry fruit, with a touch of blackcurrant. Has some sweetness and opulence, and shows great purity. The spicy oak is well integrated, but makes its presence felt on the finish. An ambitious wine that should age well, but needs time to integrate. 92/100

Gitana Winery (Vinăria Țiganca)

Vinăria Țiganca (Gitana) is located in the Valul Lui Traian region, and dates back to 1953. In 1999 it was bought by Svetlana and Petru Fulgher, who modernised it and equipped it with the latest winemaking technology, and then in 2009 the Gitana brand was created. The winery has 360 hectares of vines and it works with both international and local varieties.

Gitana Winery Mănăstirea Rohrbach CRU 2018
14% alcohol. Riesling, aged in oak barrels for 9 months. A hillside vineyard replanted in 2001. Late harvested in November. Rich and intense, this is a dry Riesling with amazing concentration and finesse. Limey and spicy but with real finesse and structure. Mineral, layered and fine. This has purity, intensity and concentration and is really fine. 95/100

Gitana Winery Autograf Fetească Regală 2019
13.5% alcohol. Aged for 6-12 months in 225l barrels. Lovely fruit here with pear and melon, a touch of table group, and a bit of pithiness. Notes of tangerine and green apple. Nice fruit here: there’s some brightness but also some depth. 91/100

Portret de Gitana Cabernet Rară Neagră 2019
14% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Rară Neagră. No oak ageing. Fresh, pure and supple with red cherries, plums and raspberry, with a juiciness to the fruit, as well as a touch of tannin and pepper. Lovely fruit quality here. 92/100

Gitana Winery Rară Neagră 2018
13.8% alcohol. Aged for 10-12 months in 225l barrels, followed by 2 years ageing in large Krasnodar barrels. Concentrated and direct with lovely sweet cherry and berry fruits, as well as some fine spiciness. There’s nice structure and well integrated oak. Vibrant and complete with layers of sweet fruit. Modern but serious, finishing spicy and direct. 93/100

Gitana Lupi Rezerva 2016
14.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Saperavi. Aged for 24-36 months in 225l barrels, followed by 2 years ageing in large Krasnodar barrels. Tarry, dense and spicy with a potent mix of sweet blackcurrant fruit with some spicy new oak. The oak dominates a little, but there is impressive fruit intensity here. Very modern and perhaps a little forced. 90/100

Gogu Winery

Gogu Winery was initially Ilie Gogu’s hobby winery. He started making a bit of home brew wine in 2006. In 2011 the rules changed and small wineries could market their own wine, and so he grew things, building his own winery in 2014. It’s based in Causeni, in the southern region of Stefan-Voda. It’s a white-variety focused project, but he makes some reds too. He has 3 hectares of vines, but is planting more vineyards.

Gogu Winery Viorica 2020
13% alcohol. Low temperature fermentation for 2 weeks. Fine, bright, grapey and linear with some grapefruit pith notes. Very expressive with good acidity and a lovely texture: this is a very fine expression of Viorica. 91/100

Gogu Winery Metafora Orange 2020
13% alcohol. Muscat Ottonel fermented on the skins for 2 months. Amber/gold in colour. Intriguing nose of mint, green tea, fennel and some barley sugar. The palate is dry with a bit of tannic grip and some fresh citrus and pear fruit. Has a hint of green apple too. This is interesting, and a tiny bit austere although it would be great paired with the right sort of food. 90/100

Gogu Winery Metafora Alta 2018     
13.7% alcohol. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Saperavi, 20% Fetească Neagră, aged in new French oak barrels for 16 months. The spicy, woody new oak makes an imprint on the brooding black fruits nose. The palate shows lovely pure blackcurrant fruit with nice freshness, some sweet berry and cherry notes, but currently the new oak is imparting a strong presence. 89/100