Moldova’s best wines: part 4, wineries I-N

Vinuri laloveni

Vinuri Ialoveni was first founded in 1857. The company makes a range of different wines as well as spirits. They work with a number of local and international varieties and own over 1,500 hectares of agricultural land in the Codru region.

Vinária Ialoveni Sec Vin Pelicular 2013
16% alcohol. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Aligoté, aged for 1.5 years in large oak barrels. Aromatic nose with honey, apples, a touch of fino sherry character and some sweet bready notes. The palate is fresh, spicy and tangy with a strongly savoury edge, some bitter notes, citrus peel, tangy apples, saltiness and a long sweet and sour finish. Very distinctive and hard to categorize. Closest in style to a biologically aged sherry, but with some richness. 89/100

Vinária Ialoveni Tare Vin Pelicular 2013
17% alcohol. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Aligoté, aged for 1.5 years in large oak barrels. Amber in colour, this is spicy, warm and a bit woody, with a touch of sweetness and complex old furniture and raisin notes. It’s really complex and harmonious and shows balance and complexity. A really lovely fortified wine, finishing sweet and toasty with crystalline citrus fruits and a touch of apricot. 92/100

Imperial Vin

Website: Imperial Vin

Significant 15 000 ton winery founded in 1977 in the south of the country. Owns vineyards in three zones: Antonesti, Vilcele, Haragis. These wines have very striking packaging, which some may love and some may hate.

Imperial Vin Grape Angel Viorica White 2020
13% alcohol. This is bright and pure with lovely focused citrus and pear fruit, as well as some grapey character, and a slight pithy bitterness on the finish. This is fruity and pure, and works really well. There’s a slight saltiness too, which is appealing. 89/100

Imperial Vin Grape Angel Chardonnay Fetească Albă White 2020
13% alcohol. Lively and fruity with a slight tartness and sourness on the finish, that acts as a nice foil to the grapey fruit, with some pear and mandarin detail. Lovely balance here with a nice stoniness under the fruit, finishing dry. 88/100

Imperial Vin Grape Angel Merlot Rara Neagra 2019
14% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in French oak. Vivid and sleek with a good concentration of ripe berry and blackcurrant fruit. Has a bit of spicy structure, with a touch of oak, but the main theme is ripe, supple fruit. Lovely weight and balance here, in a modern style. 89/100

Imperial Vin Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2018 Valal Lui Traian
14% alcohol. This has a clay amphora on the label, but was aged for a year in oak barrels. It has a vibrant nose of ripe raspberry and cherry fruit with some cinnamon and clove spiciness. The palate shows a mass of sweet, ripe berry fruits with some noticeable spicy oak character. Dense and modern, with lots of pure sweet fruit bounded by the oak. Ambitious, but a little oaky at the moment. 88/100

Imperial Vin Nero de Hanaseni Cabernet Sauvignon Fetească Neagră Semi-Dry 2018
15% alcohol. Deeply coloured. Alluring sweet blackcurrant and blackberry jam nose. Concentrated and rich with amazing pure, dense fruit, supported by some spicy tannins, and finishing sweet. Rare to find an off-dry red like this, but it is really well made and quite delicious, with great concentration and lovely fruit purity. I really like it. 93/100

Vinăria Javgur

Vinăria Javgur Mariage Rosé 2020
13.5% alcohol. Traminer Roz and Pinot Gris. Sweetly fruited this is a textural rosé with a bit of colour. Soft, smooth flavours of ripe pear and red cherry, with a bit of peachy richness. Dry with lovely depth of fruit. 88/100

Vinăria Javgur Mariage Blanc Viorica & Pinot Grigio 2020
13.5% alcohol. Lovely density of fruit here which combines some canteloup melon, table grape and a touch of grapefruit. Has rich texture but finishes quite fresh. Very attractive and well balanced. 90/100

Vinăria Javgur Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
13.5% alcohol. Aged for 9 months in French oak. Lovely pure, plush blackcurrant fruit with nice structure and texture. This is rich and opulent but well balanced with luxurious fruit supported by some oak. Modern but delicious. 91/100


A partner winery to Suvorov-Vin, both owned by Surovov-Vin, with 500 hectares of vines in Stefan Voda in the south of the country. These wines are made from grapes that come from Valul Lui Traian.

Kazayak Alb de Kazayak 2019
13% alcohol. A blend of equal parts Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc and Aligoté. Fresh and juicy with a pithy edge to the pure pear and melon fruit, as well as a touch of grapiness. Has a juicy, zesty finish. Fruity and bright. 87/100

Kazayak Roze de Kazayak 2019
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Orange/pink colour. Nice pure direct cherry and plum fruit with some citrus brightness. Has good acidity and nice fruit intensity, and it’s quite dry. Impressive. 88/100

Kazayak Rosu de Kazayak 2018
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Fetească Neagră, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweetly aromatic with ripe strawberries and red cherries. Juicy and bright on the palate with nice sweet fruit and a slight savoury, stony twist. Lovely ripe fruit with a nice sour cherry twist on the finish. 87/100

Kazayak Negru de Kazayak 2019
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Saperavi, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Lovely density here: sweet and ripe with cherries and plums, with some blackcurrant depth, too. There’s a bit of grip here, and a juicy twist on the finish. This shows lovely fruit quality, combined with nice structure. 91/100

Land of Basarabia

The winery began life in 1865 but fell into disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was resurrected in 2015 by the Ganea family. Based in Stefan Voda in the south of Moldova.

Land of Basarabia Sinn Riesling Late Harvest 2019 Stefan Voda
12% alcohol. Lively, bright and quite intense with a citrus fruit core, some yellow plum, and a touch of sweetness offsetting the high acidity. Juicy finish. 87/100

Land of Basarabia Original Avensa 2018 Satul Rascaieti
14.5% alcohol. Unoaked. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Feteasca Neagra and Saperavi. Sweetly aromatic, slightly stewed berry fruits nose with a touch of raisin. Ripe, sweet berryish palate with the lush fruit countered by a bit of spicy grip. A very ripe, rich style of wine with some appeal. 87/100

Land of Basarabia Plesso Reserve 2018 Stefan Voda
14% alcohol. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, unoaked. Fresh, spicy, grippy and juicy, combining lush sweet berry fruits with a soft-textured mid-palate and then some structure on the finish. Very appealing with nice depth of fruit. Lively finish. 89/100

Land of Basarabia Barrique Gold Merlot 2017 Stefan Voda
13.5% alcohol. Aged 12 months in French oak. Supple, fresh and rounded with open, sweet cherry and berry fruit supported by some well managed spicy oak. This is a ripe wine that’s really appealing and well made. It’s softly but adequately structured and this frames the supple fruit very well. 90/100

Land of Basarabia Silver Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
13% alcohol. Aged in oak for 12 months. Concentrated with ripe but balanced blackcurrant and berry fruit. The oak integrates really well with nice savoury spiciness and sleek, polished fruit. In a really good place now, this is quite classy, in a ripe, refined mould. 91/100

Maurt/Bacio di Bolle

Based in Nisporeni in Codru, this winery began life in 1996. They have 25 hectares of vines but buy some grapes in.

Maurt Bacio di Bolle Grande Cuvee Brut Vin Spumant Brut 2019
12% alcohol. 70% Chardonnay, 30% Glera. Charmat method. This is fruity and lively with a rich grape, pear and citrus fruit core and a touch of sweetness. Lots of flavour and texture here, with the emphasis firmly on the fruit. Has generosity and boldness, and is really tasty. 89/100

Maurt Bacio di Bolle Gold Edition with 23ct Gold Flakes 2019
12% alcohol. 70% Chardonnay, 30% Glera. Charmat method. Brightly fruity with compact pear, peach and citrus fruit, as well as some grapey richness. Nice purity here and good acidity: it’s really delicious in a fruit-forward manner, with nice crispness on the finish. Stylish and distinctive, and great fun. 90/100

Migdal-P/Château Cojusna

Owners of 240 hectares of vines, and one of the country’s largest exporters.

Chateau Cojusna Platra Fetească Albă Sauvignon Blanc Muscat 2020
12% alcohol. Open, appley, slightly oxidative nose. The palate is fruity and oxidative with some apple as well as melon and citrus fruit. It’s a little unusual and I’m not keen on the oxidative characters. 81/100

Chateau Cojusna Autentic IGP Codru Cabernet Sauvignon Rose Sec 2020 Codru
13% alcohol. This is slightly appley with some creamy notes under the fresh strawberry and pear fruit. Has nice focus on the finish. Dry. 84/100

Chateau Cojusna Autentic Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Fetească Neagră 2019
14% alcohol. Sweet, lush and berryish with ripe blackcurrant and cherry fruit. Juicy, grippy and berryish with a spicy framing to the very ripe fruit. Quite sleek and bold, with immediate appeal. 88/100

Platra Rosie Merlot Ancellotta Alicante Red 2017
13.5% alcohol. Brooding blackcurrant fruit nose with some spice and a hint of gravel. The palate is lush and sweetly fruited, but with some structure supporting the sweet fruit. There’s a wall of lovely lush ripe blackcurrant fruit here. Modern and stylish with nice balance. 91/100

Mileștii Mici

A former limestone mine that became a winery in 1969, Mileștii Mici is famous for having a cellar collection of 1.5 million bottles, making it a tourist destination. It has 200 km of tunnels, of which 55 km are used as a wine cellar. It’s based in the Codru region.

Mileștii Mici Moldova De Lux Brut NV
12.5% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in oak, this is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Fruity and aromatic with grape and lemon on the nose, and pear, apple and some melon notes on the palate. Fruity and vivid with good acidity. Slightly oxidative, but attractive. 85/100

Mileștii Mici Univers Fetească Albă White 2019
12.5% alcohol. This is fleshy and quite dense with lovely pear and yellow plum fruit. It’s quite broad and richly fruited, but there’s freshness, too. Fruit driven and satisfying. 88/100

Mileștii Mici Univers Merlot Red 2018 Codru
14% alcohol. Sweet, ripe and a bit creamy with nice ripe blackberry fruit. Has some lushness and also a bit of structure. Very ripe and appealing in a forward way. A bit of spice on the finish. 86/100

Mileștii Mici Negre de Milestii Mici Red 2011
13% alcohol. Ripe and open with some cherry and berry fruit, but also a savoury, woody edge. It tastes a bit confected and the wood sticks out awkwardly. Finishes with some sweet vanilla. 81/100

Mileștii Mici Codru Red 2009
12.5% alcohol. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot. This is mature but still has freshness with a savoury woody edge to the supple cherry and blackberry fruit. Has nice freshness with good acidity, and finishes dry. 88/100

Novak Winery (Tartcomvin SRL)

Tartcomvin was formed in 2004, and releases wine under the Novak brand name. They process up to ten thousand tons of grapes a year, and work with both international and local varieties, including the very rare Alb de Onitcani. The winery is based in the Valul Lui Traian region. Andrey Novak trained as an economist and the core of the business has been bulk wine, but since 2016 they have produced bottled wine from their newly renovated winery.

NOVAK Floricica 2020
11% alcohol. Very distinctive with a jelly and table grape nose, as well as a touch of vinyl. The palate is fresh and bright with a pithy edge to the sweet grape and citrus fruit. Lively and intense with tangy acidity. Such an unusual wine, and quite attractive with it. 88/100

NOVAK Fetească Albă 2020
10.5% alcohol. Fresh, tangy and bright with a grapey edge to the crisp fruit. Has pith, herbs and a bit of grip. Boldly fruity, dry and refreshing, with real personality. 89/100

NOVAK Alb de Onitcani/Rcatiteli 2019
13% alcohol. 60% Alb de Onitcani, 40% Rcatiteli, aged for 6 months in French oak. Powerful, boldly fruity and quite rich in texture with herbs, table grapes, a touch of melon and some appealing pear fruit. Has a faint hint of cabbage, but this works well in the context of the rich fruit. Lots of personality to this rich white wine. 90/100

NOVAK Muscat Ottonel Orange Wine 2020
12.5% alcohol. Muscat Ottonel macerated on the skins for 1 month. Floral, sweet, peach and pear fruit on the nose with a bit of grip. This is grippy and detailed with pith and pear, and some marmalade hints. Very attractive. 90/100

NOVAK Rară Neagră 2019
14% alcohol. Juicy and bright with more red fruits than black. This has just a hint of reduction, but also lovely focus. Raspberries, red cherries and plums with good acidity. Supple and very drinkable. 91/100