Tony L’s Bin Ends – Albastrele Cabernet; the Moldovan ‘WhiteRed’!!?

In the heat of the evening with our fish, I certainly liked this crisp but substantial white made from red Cabernet grapes. White-Red? Press your grapes fast, before the colour seeps out of the skins. Not always possible or simple, but in remote Moldova it works well in certain years.

We actually rented a plane – first time ever – to get to Moldova the first time in 2002. Ludicrous cost and wouldn’t do it now … but the alternatives looked risky. And we wanted to impress. Well … they turned out the City Band and the Agriculture Minister for us at Chisineu and we were chauffeured all around by big guys bulging ominously in grey suits … especially in the armpit area … not usual in our business. Apparently we were targets in a dangerous place. And of course it’s got worse now. But over the years we’ve got to know our producers well. Lovely people. Not dangerous. Today they are sheltering hundreds of refugees.

Moldova has lovely dark, black, rich soil and agriculture seems to be doing well

Not everybody knows where Moldova is. it’s on the western border of Ukraine and the poorest country in Europe, which hasn’t stopped Russia trying to grab bits of it.  

Mind you the air is crystal clear, and there is no pollution. The roads are empty too, but there is lovely dark, black, rich soil and agriculture seems to be doing well … in a pre-war sort of way. Geese flock everywhere, and the horse seems to be the main rural form of transport. Organic? … all over your boots. The silver lining on their poverty is … no chemicals; they can’t afford them.

But they do have at least one state-of-the-art winery … Italian built … and necessary for clever winemaking like this. Their Cabernet red is nice and delicate (this is a cool wine region, similar to Burgundy), but this Cabernet white is a remarkable – and very rare – demonstration of winemaking skill.  

Conversation Wines? Over the next few days I will write about six of our most interesting, less-well-known wines, from strange places, (this is #2, you can read about the first here) and offer you all six as a mixed case. Come with me … Fly By Wine. No airport chaos. 

About Tony Laithwaite

Tony Laithwaite, founder of Laithwaite's, whose passion for wine is still going strong!

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