Wine Adventure anyone? Ever hear of Moldova? Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine in Eastern Europe. The country has a rich and long wine history, the first known grapevines dating back to 7000 BC and winemaking around 3000 BC. It has the highest density of vineyards globally, with plantings of international and indigenous grape varieties. Some of the world’s largest wine cellars are in Moldova, including the cellars at Milestii Mici – registered in the Guinness Book of World Records with over 1.5 million bottles of wine. What better way to explore Moldovan wines than to taste and pair them with a savory cheese crostata.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is traveling virtually to Moldova. Jeff from FoodWineClick is our host and arranged for wine samples from Wine of Moldova. Don’t miss more adventures on Moldovan wines from the group at the end of this post. And join us for our Moldovan wine chat on Twitter, Saturday, July 11th at 11:00 AM ET using hashtag #winepw to follow the conversation.
Fast Facts About Moldova’s Wine Industry
- In 1812 Moldova became part of the Russian Empire. The wine industry flourished until phylloxera hit at the end of the 19th century. The Moldovan wine was further damaged with two World Wars.
- Under the Soviet Union in the 1950s, vineyards were re-established, and inexpensive bulk wines were produced for the Soviet market.
- With the fall of communism in 1991, Moldova gained its independence from the Soviet Union.
- In 2006 Russia accounted for 80% of Moldova’s wine exports. The relationship ended in 2006 when Russia imposed an embargo on Moldovan wines and again in 2013.
- After the two Russian embargo’s, Moldova’s wine industry pivoted, seeking new export markets and producing wines of quality vs. quantity.
- Today Moldovan wines are sold in 63 countries with the majority exported to the European Union markets.
- There are 128,000 hectares (316,295 acres) of total vineyards.
- Grape varieties are 85% European, 10% Black Sea Basin, and 5% Local
- 70% are white varieties such as; Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Aligoté
- 30% are red varieties such as; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Saperavi
- Local varieties include; Rara, Neagra, Feteasca Neagra, Feteasca Alba, and Viorica
- There are three Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Moldovan Wine Regions; Codru, Valul lui Traian, and Stefan Voda
Disclosure: the wines were provided as media samples. All opinions are my own.
Pale lemon-green in color. Aromas of lime zest, nectarine, blossom, and wet stone. On the palate, dry, with medium body and medium (+) acidity. Refreshing flavor notes of lime, white grapefruit, and wetstone. A round smooth mouth feel with a lingering lime finish.
Pale yellow in color. Aromas of white cherries, rose hips, lemongrass, and bell pepper. On the palate, dry with medium body and medium(+) acidity. Flavor notes of white cherries, apricots, bell peppers, and minerals with a medium finish.
Medium ruby in color. Pronounced aromas of violet, plum, toast, vanilla, and sweet cherries. On the palate, dry with medium(+) body, medium(-) tannins, and medium acidity. Flavor notes of ripe plum, cherries, and vanilla.
Savory Cheese Crostata Paired with Moldovan Wines
The cheese crostata was a perfect appetizer to pair with the three Moldovan wines. The crisp acidity of the two white wines cleansed the palate from the rich cheese of the crostata. While the overall weight of the wine and crostata were in balance. The red wine was a match for the crostata’s earthy leeks, kale, and swiss chard. The wine’s smooth tannins mirrored the luxurious texture of the cheese.
Savory Cheese Crostata
for the dough
- 1-1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4-6 tablespoons ice cold water
for the filling
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, halved and thinly sliced (about 3-1/2 cups)
- 1 bunch Lacinato Kale, de stemmed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 bunch Rainbow Swiss Chard, de stemmed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 3 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1-1/4 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1 cup Gruyère cheese
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lemon, zested
to make the dough
- In a food processor, combine the flour, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Add the butter cubes and pulse machine on and off until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Slowly add 1/4 cup of ice cold water and pulse until the dough is crumbly but comes together when squeezed. Add additional water if the dough is too dry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Form into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or up to three days.
to make the filling
- In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and leeks. Sauté for about 10-15 minutes or until onions and leeks are just golden and soft. Add the kale, swiss chard, and garlic . Sauté until the greens are wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk for about 1 minute until a paste forms. Slowly add the milk and continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in one cup of Parmesan and the Gruyère cheese. Whisk until the cheese is melted and incorporated. Stir the greens into the mixture until well mixed.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly flour a clean surface or nonstick pastry mat. Roll the dough into a 15-inch round. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Pile the greens filing in the center of the dough leaving a 2-inch border around all the sides. Fold the border into the filling, pleating and gently pressing down as you go. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese over the crust of the dough. Bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden and the mixture is bubbling. Cool slightly and then zest fresh lemon peel over the top. Cut into wedges to serve.
More Adventures from the Wine Pairing Weekend Group on Moldovan Wines~
- Andrea at The Quirky Cork posts Cooking Out with Moldovan Wine.
- Liz at What’s in that Bottle offers a Moldova Mashup: Wines of Moldova & Foods of the World.
- Terri at Our Good Life writes about a Special Celebration and Moldova Wines.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm pairs Smoked Pot Roast with a Negru de Purcari from Moldova.
- David at Cooking Chat matches Ground Beef Chili with Red Wine from Moldova.
- Deanna at Asian Test Kitchen is Pairing Moldovan Wine with Burmese Cuisine.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass rejoices: Finally, a grill! Just in time for Moldovan wine pairing.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla offers Maidens from Moldova + Summer Suppers.
- Jennifer at Vino Travels Italy says to A Look into the Wines of Moldova.
- Jane at Always Ravenous offers Savory Cheese Crostata Paired with Moldovan Wines.
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog is Discovering Wines of Moldova.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences asks Have You Tasted Wines from Moldova? TryThese!
- Rupal at Syrah Queen posts Uncorking Moldova – Three Wines To Try Now.
- Martin at EnofylzWine Blog is Getting To Know the Wines of Moldova.
- Nicole at Somm’sTable shares Tasty Moldovan Food & Wine Explorations.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator matches Moldova: Bubbles, Red Blend, and …Pizza? Yes!
- Pinny at Chinese Food andWine Pairings puts together Moldovan Wines and Korean Sushi – Kimbap.
- Susannah at Avvinare explores Moldova – An Ancient Country with Beautiful Wines to Discover.
- Jill at L’Occasion has A First Taste of Moldova Wines
- And host Jeff at FoodWine Click! writes Cabin Pairings for Moldovan Wines.