Chateau Purcari 1827
When you’re enjoying a glass of your favourite wine, it can be easy to forget the journey it took to reach your table. We’re not talking about your walk to the local post office to pick it up or the seamless delivery to your door that we offer. Think about where that beautiful glass of wine first originated.
Long before the online store, before the distribution warehouse, before the fermentation process and even before the grapes were picked from the vine. The work that goes into your favourite tipple starts at a winery. Some of those can be traced much further back than you think.
One of the very best wineries of Moldova is the Purcari Winery. We are incredibly proud to feature many of their best wines right here on this site and we thought you’d like to know a little more about them. Let’s take an even bigger step back, starting right back to the 12th century.
That was to be the beginning of the nascent Moldovan wine industry. Of course, back then, it wasn’t so much an industry as a natural opportunity between the small village of Purcari and the neighbouring Agon Zograf Monastery.
They both share space in the Ștefan Vodă region of Moldova, which just happens to have the perfect climate for viniculture, areas of land that are especially fertile for growing grapes. At around 120 metres above sea level, the region benefits from warm winds from the nearby Black Sea. This warm stream of air protects the grapes in the winter and helps ripen them in the summer. The soil is also rich in rubidium, which is what gives their wine it’s rich intense purple colouring, much like wines from Bordeaux in France. This connection isn’t a one-off.
In 1827, Nicholas I, then the Emperor of Russia, issued a special decree that gave Purcari the status of the first specialised winery of, what was then known as Bessarabia. Two decades later, they received their first gold medal for their wine at the Agricultural Bessarabian Fair.
Over time, and because of the similarities with the soil in the Bordeaux region, settlers in the area entered into partnerships with the monastery to cultivate the grapes growing there. In fact, during the Paris World Expo in 1878, French experts mistook a Purcari red for the latest Bordeaux wine. It had, instead originated thousands of miles away on the banks of the Dniester River. It was Purcari’s first international award, but it was to be far from their last.
The history of Purcari, like that of many other wineries across Europe, felt the impact of the two World Wars that soon followed. It wasn’t until 1950, following the restoration of their award-winning production processes, that Purcari became what we recognise today. Not surprisingly, the fall of the Soviet Union also had an impact. The winery, like many things, was under the control of the Soviet government, so when that fell, production stopped for a decade. It restarted in 2003.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Chateau Purcari recognised the need to look forward and not back. They continued their long-held wine-making traditions, but married them with thinking for the new century. They replanted 250 hectares of vineyards, rebuilt the old cellars, renovated their facilities and installed state-of-the-art technology. They didn’t forget their past.
The original wine vault that dated back to 1827 was restored and is now considered to be the oldest wine cellar in Moldova. In 2010, they launched their first white wine, a beautiful Pinot Grigio to complement their stunning range of reds. Not content with that, 2012 saw the launch of their own range of ice wine, derived from frozen Muscat Ottonel and Traminer grapes. The future for Purcari is now as colourful as their past.
To honour their rich history with the French, their wines are still aged exclusively in French oak barrels. The ageing process for their wine varies from between 6 to 18 months, depending on the grape. This allows them to become rich in tannins and aromatics, allowing you to enjoy the aromas of wood, chocolate and vanilla notes on your palate.
Purcari is now Moldovan’s most prestigious exporter of fine wine. They still produce the award-winning Negru de Purcari, Rosu de Purcari and Alb de Purcari, all available right here on the site and they are all worthy of any occasion.
From humble beginnings, Purcari wines now reach 25 markets all around the world and we at The Vino Market, are honoured to be one of them. The vines replanted at the start of the 21st century are now reaching maturity and the quality of their wines is showcasing just how good Moldovan wine is. The Purcuri wines we sell are of the highest quality and, given its rich history, we think you’ll agree that the best wines come to those that wait, however long that may be.