- Published: 10 December 2013 10 December 2013
By Nick Breeze:
In the early Autumn of 2008, I found myself many kilomters beneath ground in the cellars of Milestii Mici in Moldova. Moldova, has been dubbed the "Tsar's Burgundy" as it has a long history of wine producing and, during the reign of the Tsar's, was producing wine of good quality comparable to those found further west in France.
I brought back several bottles from the trip but had thought they were all consumed long ago. It was with a mixture of nostalgia, curiosity and derring do, that I decided to open this over the weekend. It has been kicking around in various places for quite sometime, only to be unearthed during a recent house move. The saving grace, I thought, was that the cork had been sealed with wax over the top adding a greater layer of protection against oxidation from a maligned cork.
So, after an arduous traipse around both Tate Gallery's and a large glass of strong cider, the only thing left to do was sample the Negru de Purcari. The packaging is so impressive that it has to be photographed and admired. The ancient script, string, aged bottle etc, all add to the feeling that something great was about to be drunk… possibly extricated (or excavated?) from the dying Tsar's grasp, in order to be consumed in the present.
The cork shattered instantly giving me the fear. Out came the tea strainer and the jug for immediate decanting. The colour was dark but the very brick red around the edges, thinning to almost clear. I immediately poured a couple of samples for my fellow tasters to try.
The colour is deep ruby but far from opaque in the glass. The brick red meniscus indicates the age clearly and sets the scene for excitement. On the nose, straight from the jug with little breathing time, the main aroma is oak and quite a strong strawberry. Both these characters come out in the taste too. Amazingly the wine is not at all maligned. That is a great relief. I'd hate to see so much careful Harry Potter-esque packaging go to waste!!
Everyone agrees this is a tasty wine. The age makes it very delicate and reminiscent of a gentle aged Burgundy… the nickname of old is pretty spot on. We continued to taste and over the course of the next 45 minutes the wine is completely transformed. I was now becoming morose at the thought of only having one bottle. What stupidity! The aromas, matched by flavours, had developed into an intense prune with a lovely soft tannic structure. My mouth was watering with every sip.
In the words of no one but me: Ecce Vinum!
Well done Milestti Mici for producing such a tasty bottle of wine that lives up to the experience of visiting the underground labyrinthe of the 200km deep tunnels. This is delicious. I wish I had some more of the dessert wines to add to the list but I don't. Perhaps time for a return visit?
Discord in Odesa; pruning at Shabo goes on!
Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces.
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.