Moldova’s best wines: part 5, wineries P-V

Podgoria Vin

Podgoria Vin Genesis Viorica 2020
13% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. Highly aromatic with table grapes and green tea notes. Fleshy, bright, grapey palate with some bitter oily notes on the finish. Attractive with lots of generous fruit. 86/100

Podgoria Vin Fetească Regală 2020 Valul Lui Traian
12% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. Fresh, grapey and bright with juicy citrus and table grape flavours. Crisp and clean, but with some pithy structure to the exuberant fruit. 87/100

Podgoria Vin Libera Wines Chardonnay 2020
12% alcohol. Aged for 2 months in French oak. Fruity and bright with a stony edge to the citrus and apple fruit, as well as some subtle spicy notes from the limited oak contact. Clean and well made. 84/100

Podgoria Vin Genesis Saperavi 2018
13% alcohol. Aged for 16 months in French oak. Deeply coloured, this is a vividly fruity wine with sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit and a bit of grippy structure. Very fresh and fruit-driven, with masses of drinkability. The approachable, fruity, fun side of Saperavi. 88/100


A relatively new winery established in 2003, Poiana is based in the village of Ulmu, in Codru. No herbicides or pesticides used in the vineyard.

Website: Poiana Winery

Poiana Winery Fetească Albă & Feteasca Regală 2020         
13% alcohol. No oak ageing. This is bright and a bit pithy with some lychee and table grape character. Lemons and mandarins and nice fruit purity. 87/100

Poiana Winery Fetească Albă 2020
13.5% alcohol. No oak ageing. Light and expressive with sweet pear and table grape notes. Has some zesty lemon, too. Appealing and easy with good fruit purity and a fresh finish. 86/100

Poiana Winery Fetească Neagră 2019
13.5% alcohol. Aged for 12 months in French and American oak. This is really nice, with fresh pure cherry and plum fruit with nice berry brightness. Has a bit of grip. The main theme is lovely pure, direct fruit and it’s really well made. Such crunchy freshness. 91/100

Poiana Winery Rezerva 2018
13.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi, Merlot, Fetească Neagră, aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Nice substance here: it’s a dense, fruit-driven red with blackcurrant, cherry and raspberry fruit with a bit of tarriness and also some fine spices. Very stylish with lovely purity and structure. 92/100

Poiana Winery Recolta Tarzie 2019
12% alcohol. Muscat Ottonel, Traminer. Sweet, unctuous and grapey with lovely fruit, lots of sweetness, and good acidity. This has amazing purity and presence, and the sweetness and acid are in good balance. Unctuous and textured with a long slightly spicy finish. 92/100


One of Moldova’s best known wineries, Purcari dates back to 1827 and is in the Stefan-Voda region. There are four drinks producers in the Purcari group, including the Bostavan winery as well as Purcari itself. The winery started again under the current ownership in 2003 after a short break, and they have 260 hectares of vines. The Freedom Blend celebrated 20 years of freedom from the Soviet Union, and was first made in 2011.

Purcari 1827 Pinot Grigio de Purcari 2020 Stefan Voda
13% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. Lively and intense with good acidity on the finish. This has appealing spicy citrus fruit with some melon and pear notes. Really attractive with some finesse. 88/100

Purcari Rosé de Purcari Nocturne 2020 Stefan Voda
13.4% alcohol. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Rară Neagră, fermented in stainless steel. This is very stylish with a subtle creamy edge to the bright citrus and cherry fruit. It’s dry with some watermelon and spice notes on the finish. 88/100

Purcari 1827 Rară Neagră de Purcari 2020
13% alcohol. Fresh and supple with bright cherry fruit and a touch of raspberry. Lovely fruit purity here with a touch of redcurrant. Nice purity of fruit and massive drinkability. A lovely wine. 90/100       


Purcari Negru de Purcari 2019
14% alcohol. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Saperavi, 5% Rară Neagră, aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Heavy bottle. Deeply coloured. This is intense and dark with concentrated blackcurrant fruit and nice cherry freshness. Lovely depth and intensity here: a really sophisticated modern wine with lovely purity of fruit. Sleek and modern, but has good structure. Potential for development here. 93/100

Purcari Freedom Blend 2019
14.5% alcohol. 65% Saperavi, 20% Rară Neagră, 15% Bastardo. This is ripe and sweetly fruited with nice sleek blackberry and cherry notes, as well as some liqueur-like richness. It’s rich and modern with lots of sweet fruit and a slight saltiness on the finish. 90/100


Based in the Codru region, Rădăcini is a winery with a strong export presence including the UK and USA. It sells wines under a number of different brands.

Metier Brut Rosé 2020
12% alcohol. 55% Pinot Grigio, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, traditional method, aged on lees for 9 months. Very pale pink in colour. Fresh, fruit-driven and lively with bright citrus fruit and a hint of apple. It’s an unusual blend but it works well. Very fruity and pure, with good focus. 89/100

Rădăcini Blanc de Cabernet 2020
12.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Charmat method. There’s a slight green hint here with sweet cherry and pear notes and some grapey richness. Very fruity with a touch of sweetness. 85/100

Rădăcini Ampre Viorica Chardonnay Riesling 2018
13% alcohol. 80% Viorica, 10% Chardonnay, 10% Riesling. Fermented in stainless steel. Aromatic with some citrus and sweet grape notes on the nose. The palate is quite rich and fruity with nice grape and pear character, and a bit of depth. Attractive and fruit driven. 87/100

Rădăcini Fiori Fetească Neagră Syrah 2018
13% alcohol. 55% Fetească Neagră, 45% Syrah. Aged for 6 months, 80% in French 225l barrels. Fruity, floral and expressive on the nose with red cherries and strawberries. Fresh, fruit-driven and expressive on the palate with lovely red fruits and a touch of spice. Lovely balance here, and very drinkable. 90/100

Rădăcini Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Syrah 2016
13% alcohol. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Syrah. Aged for 24 months in French oak. Very polished and stylish, with blackcurrant, plums and cherries, and a fine sheen from the delicately spicy oak. This is elegant in style, with ripe sweet fruit and well judged oak and structure. Savoury hints of spice and leather in the background. 91/100


Based in Stefan Voda, Sălcuța was formed in 1995 and is a family-run winery with 400 hectares of vines.

Sălcuța Eno Riesling & Traminer 2020
13% alcohol. 70% Riesling, 30% Traminer, fermented in stainless steel, semi-dry. There’s a bit of sweetness that rounds this wine off very nicely, showing off its broad, sweet pear and apple fruit. Clean, pure and attractive with some nice spiciness on the finish. 87/100

Sălcuța Winemaker’s Way Pinot Gris 2019
13% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel, lees ageing for 1-3 months. Fresh and bright with nice rich texture. Has pear and apple with some nice depth. Has some melon notes, too. 87/100

Sălcuța Winemaker’s Fetească Albă 2020
13% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel. This shows bright, intense fruit with melons and pears and a bit of spice and lychee. Very fruity and expressive. 88/100

Sălcuța Epizod Chardonnay 2019
13.5% alcohol. Fermented in stainless steel, aged on the lees for 3 months, aged in French oak for 6 months. Concentrated fresh pear and apple fruit with a touch of peachiness. Bold and fruity with a hint of coconut and vanilla in the background. Shows nice presence and freshness, with a good marriage between the bold fruit and oak. 88/100

Sălcuța Epizod Fetească Neagră 2018           
13.5% alcohol. Aged for 24 months in French oak. Focused, fresh cherry and raspberry fruit with a nice sleek fruity character. Shows good acidity and a lick of oak spice that integrates well with the direct fruit. Lovely pure crunchy fruit is the key here: really stylish and direct. 93/100


Suvorov-Vin and Kazayak-Vin are both owned by the same company. Suvorov was formed in 1998, and makes wines from grapes that come from Stefan-Voda and Valul lui Traian.

Kazayak Viorica 2019 Stefan Voda
13% alcohol. Highly aromatic with grapey richness and some lime oil brightness. The palate is fresh and a bit zippy with crisp citrus notes and some grapiness. This is vivid and focused with a pithy finish. 87/100

Kazayak Feteasca Regală 2019 Stefan Voda
12.5% alcohol. Lovely intensity of bright fruit here. Lemons and pears, with some grapey richness. Has lovely depth and energy. Terpenic and delicious with nice fruity focus. 88/100

Kazayak Merlot Rosé 2020
13.5% alcohol. Pale pink orange colour. Has a creamy edge to the apple, pear and cherry fruit. Has some green herby notes too. Tinned strawberry on the finish. 82/100

Kazayak Fetească Neagră 2019
12.5% alcohol. Juicy, bright and berryish with nicely focused, fresh fruity character. Has a bit of spicy tannic bite. Very easy and drinkable. 86/100

Kazayak Malbec 2019
12.5% alcohol. This is berryish and bright with just a hint of red apple on the nose. Fruity and fresh with easy drinkability. 85/100

TeWā Wines

‘TeWā’ translates to ‘Time will tell’ in Maori. The winery was started by two female winemakers who worked in both Napa Valley and New Zealand before setting up their own project in the Stefan-Voda region.

TeWā Fetească Neagră 2019
14.5% alcohol. 20% of the wine aged for 8 months in Transylvanian oak. This is fabulous. Elegant, pure sweet red cherry and berry fruits with a really smooth structure and fresh acidity. Very pure and well defined with freshness and a lovely bright fruit presence. Fine grained structure and perfectly integrated oak. Everything here is in place: it’s modern-styled, but perfectly executed. 95/100


The Timbrus Purcari Estate wines are made by Spanish oenologist Manuel Ortiz. The Timbrus winery is based in the village of Purcari, in the Stefan-Voda region, and was formed in 2013 by Spanish investors. Timbrus vinifies both international and local varieties, and the wines are all fermented with native yeasts. There are 150 hectares of vines, planted in 2009 to high standards. Winemaker and co-owner Manuel Ortiz hails from Spain.

Website: Timbrus Purcari Estate

Timbrus Traminer 2020 Stefan Voda
13% alcohol. No oak ageing. Minty, fresh and bright with lovely ripe citrus fruit and some pear drop notes. Lively and detailed with good acidity and a real finesse to the bright fruit. A lovely, expressive, detailed wine with a really nice texture. 91/100

Timbrus Viorica 2020 Stefan Voda
12.5% alcohol. No oak ageing. Very fresh and linear with a nice texture to the cherry, grape and lemon fruit. Has a fine spiciness under the fruit with lovely purity. Beautifully put together with intensity, brightness and elegance. 91/100

Polifonia Note #1 2018 Stefan Voda
14% alcohol. 51% Merlot, 37% Fetească Neagră, 12% Saperavi. Aged for 12 months in Romanian oak. Lovely fresh, pure, seamless black cherry and blackberry fruit with lovely smooth tannins, bright fruit and a fleshy texture. This is very stylish and modern, and beautifully put together. 92/100

Timbrus Saperavi Oenologist Reserve 2016
14% alcohol. Aged for 24 months in French oak. Fresh, supple, ripe and polished with lovely vibrant cherry and blackberry fruit, with some nice texture and a bit of spicy bite on the finish. Lush and fresh with great focus and well integrated oak. Lovely stuff that should age in interesting ways. 94/100

Timbrus Saperavi 2018
13% alcohol. Aged for 12 months in American and Romanian oak. Fleshy and bright, this has a lovely berry fruits core with some aromatic black cherry lift and supporting spicy oak (which is well in the background). Lovely fruit intensity and freshness, and well managed tannins. Nice direct style with drinkability but also structure and acidity. 93/100

Tomai Wine Estate (Tomai Vinex)

Tomai Vinex is a sizeable 10 000 ton winery located in Valul Lui Traian. The winery dates back to 1903, but the current operation began in 1997.  the company Tomai Vinex itself was established in 1997.

Negru de Tomai 2016
13.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Saperavi. Aged in Moldovan, Russian and French oak for 6-18 months. There’s a cedary, spicy edge to the aromatic blackcurrant fruit on the nose. The palate shows intensely concentrated blackcurrant fruit with firm, savoury spicy oak notes and good acidity. Quite tannic, but the intense sweet fruit deals with the structure nicely. A really bold, vivid wine with potential for long ageing, even though the oak is quite prominent. 91/100

Rosu de Tomai Saperavi 2016
13.5% alcohol. Aged in Moldovan, Russian and French oak for 6-18 months. Concentrated, itense, deeply fruited and firmly structured, this is a powerful wine with sweet but firm berry and cherry fruit. Masses of flavour, lots of structure, lots of fruit. Should age very well, although it is a real mouthful right now. 92/100

Rosu de Tomai Merlot 2016
13% alcohol. Intense, vivid and focused with sweet cherry and blackcurrant fruit, showing admirable purity. Shows focus and presence with good structure and freshness. Superb: this has amazing presence, purity, freshness and structure. A serious Merlot. 93/100

Tomai 1903 Gold Cabernet Reserve 2016
13% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak for 18 months. This is a heady combination of dense, sweet ripe blackcurrant and cherry fruit with some spicy oak. The two integrate really well. It’s a bold wine, not shy in any way, but it really works. Should age well for a decade. Modern in style, but with plenty of structure. 93/100

Chateau Vartely

Chateau Vartely is one of Moldova’s best known producers, with 260 hectares, 150 of which are in Codru, and 110 in Valul lui Traian. The winery is a short distance north of the capital, and this was one of the new wave wineries making clean, dry, fruit-driven wines when it began in 2004. The winemaker here trained in Germany. These are sold widely in the UK and retail for c. £10 per bottle.

Website: Chateau Vartely

Chateau Vartely Individo Fetească Regală Riesling 2019
13% alcohol. 55% Fetească Regală, 45% Riesling. Bright, intense, pithy and citrussy with a nice combination of limey Riesling fruit with the terpenic grapey notes of the Feteasca. Vivid, dry, pure and intense. 90/100

Chateau Vartely Individo Rară Neagră Malbec Syrah 2018
14% alcohol. 37% Rară Neagră, 33% Malbec, 30% Syrah. Bright, juicy, berryish and full of fruity appeal. Plums, strawberries and blackberries with some curranty sweetness and then just a slight spicy bite on the finish. Very drinkable and enjoyable. 90/100

Chateau Vartely Individo Fetească Neagră 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in oak. This is fresh, sweetly fruited and supple, with rounded cherry and berry fruit, a hint of grapey sweetness and some wild strawberry. There’s also some fine spicy complexity from the oak. Open, sweet and drinkable. 89/100

Chateau Vartely Individo Fetească Neagră 2018
14% alcohol. Aged for 6 months in oak. This is fresh, sweetly fruited and supple, with rounded cherry and berry fruit, a hint of grapey sweetness and some wild strawberry. There’s also some fine spicy complexity from the oak. Open, sweet and drinkable. 89/100

Chateau Vartely Taraboste Tribut Saperavi 2017
14.5% alcohol. Aged for 22 months in French oak. Very heavy bottle. Concentrated and intense with a wall of black fruits, some firm tannins, and a bit of polish and spice from the oak. This is a really powerful, intense expression of Saperavi, but it’s very well made and has no rough edges. Could age well. 92/100

Chateau Vartely Taraboste Rosu Reserva 2016
14.5% alcohol. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot. Aged for 18 months in oak. Classically styled oak aged red with a mix of ripe blackcurrant fruit, some black cherry, and some spicy, cedary oak. Well balanced, it’s a structured wine for the long-haul. 91/100

Vinăria din Vale

A big winery with 1000 hectares of vines in the Codru region. Family owned, founded 20 years ago. Previously focusing on bulk wine, they switched emphasis to include more bottled wines, and they are exploring organics.

Website: Vinaria din Vale

Vinăria din Vale Rosé Motive 2020
12.8% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon. This pale-pink rosé is softly textured, pure and fruity with appealing pear and strawberry fruit. It has a really nice mouthfeel and a finely spiced finish with smooth fruit. 88/100

Vinăria din Vale Fetească Neagră Motive 2018
13.5% alcohol. Has some spicy framing to the sweet berry and cherry fruit nose. Cherries, blackberries and a touch of spice with a tarry savoury edge. Nice smooth fruit with a bit of structure. Nice fruit here. 87/100

Vinăria din Vale Fetească Neagră Premium 2017
13.5% alcohol. Aged in French oak barrels for 6 months. There’s a tarry, spicy edge to the plush, sweet blackberry fruit here. Has a sweet, lush quality, but it’s not over-ripe. Juicy with some grip on the finish. 88/100

Vinăria din Vale Saperavi & Malbec 7 Coline NV
13.5% alcohol. Saperavi, Malbec. Aged in French oak barrels for 3 months. There’s a very subtle rubbery reductive edge to the focused black cherry and blackberry fruit. Lovely intensity of fruit here: ripe, plush and expansive. Backed up with some spicy oak and a touch of tar and chocolatey richness. Forward, ripe and quite impressive. 88/100

Vinia Traian

Vinia Traian is the southern Valul Lui Traian region. They have an impressive 2000 hectares of vines.

Vinia Traian Riesling 2019 Valul Lui Traian
12.5% alcohol. Lively, juicy and citrussy with a grapey edge and some orange peel notes. Nice fruity style with a juicy finish. 86/100

Vinia Traian Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé Demisec 2019 Valul Lui Traian
14% alcohol. Bright orange/pink in colour, this is a rich, jellyish rosé with sweet strawberry jelly fruit and a touch of grapey richness, with nice sweetness. Well balanced in a forward, fruity style. 86/100

Vinia Traian Merlot 2017 Valul Lui Traian
13.5% alcohol. Deeply coloured. Sweet and berryish with lots of fruit. Juicy black cherries and some blackberry, with soft tannins and nice freshness. Berryish and bright with lovely fruit. 88/100

Vinia Traian Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2017 Valul Lui Traian
13.5% alcohol. Aged in American oak for 12 months. Concentrated and forward with layers of spicy oak and sweet blackcurrant fruit. Quite supple and well balanced, with some nice tannic structure under the plush fruit. Well balanced and the fruit soaks up the American oak really well. Has freshness as well as rich fruit. 90/100

Vinum Estate

Vinum is a family-run company established in 2017. The winery’s origins, however, date all the way back to 1806.

Vinum Estate Fetească Regală 2019
12.5% alcohol. No oak ageing. Full yellow colour. A rich, ripe expression of this white grape with a peachy edge to the sweet grape and melon fruit. Has good concentration with some heady aromatics and a long, flavourful palate. 90/100

Selection Vladlen Uzhakov Chardonnay Light Barrique 2018
12.5% alcohol. Aged in French barriques for 5 months. Heavy bottle. Ripe and sweetly fruited with lush pear, baked apple and melon fruit, as well as some peach. Has good concentration with nuts and honey. Very rich, finishing slightly sweet. 89/100

Selection Vladlen Uzhakov Fetească Neagră Light Barrique 2018
13% alcohol. Aged in French barriques for 5 months. Heavy bottle. Sweetly aromatic nose with cherry and berry fruits as well as some wood spice and green herbs. The palate is sweetly fruited and lush with a green edge to the smooth, liqueur-like berry fruits. Lots of flavour here, with nice purity and a focus on the fruit. 91/100