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After Bessarabia was joined to Russia, a decree of the land's authorities, issued in 1827, created the first specialized winemaking company in Purcari. As early as 1847, during an agricultural exhibition held in Bessarabia, Purcari wines showed fine expression, and tasters were impressed by its delicate bouquet and dense, full taste. Thus, this wine, Negru de Purcari, was awarded its first gold medal. Then in 1878 the Purcari winemakers brought their wines to the Paris World Exhibition. During the closed-doors wine tasting session, the majority of the jury gave preference to a dry, densely colored red wine, thinking that it was a new brand from the famous Bordeaux region. They were surprised to learn that the beverage came from an unknown village called Purcari, situated on the river Nistru. Negru de Purcari thus earned the highest form of recognition on the international stage by being awarded the Gold Medal.
More recently, in 2003, these famous Purcari wines were re-established when the Vinaria Purcari Company took over management. The chief purpose of creating this company was to revive the production of unique, historic wine blends, such as Negru de Purcari and Rosu de Purcari. The production facility in the Purcari area was rebuilt, where the quality of the soil and the climate create ideal conditions for viticulture, with proven results. The Purcari production facility was fully revived and upgraded, and the old cellars, built as far back as 1827, were renovated. Today the cellars are among the oldest and most famous in Moldova. The Purcari estate is one of Moldova's showcase attractions.
By April 2006, Vinaria Purcari won 27 awards at various specialized international contests and wine tastings.
Ancient traditions of grape growing and winemaking in Moldova's southern viticultural area known as 'Purcari' lay at the origin of today's modern wines as those made by 'Vinaria Purcari', located in the vicinity of the Purcari hamlet. The winery overlooks the vineyards on the gentle, rolling hills below.
Vinaria Purcari was founded only recently in 2003. But from the onset it has been the company's aspiration to evoke the true revival of the region's unique wines called 'Negru de Purcari' and 'Roşu de Purcari'. Both dry red wines are made by blending together different grape varieties according to age-old traditions.
On the approach, Vinaria Purcari is architecturally noticeable. The estate's buildings and surroundings have been deliberately erected in the image of a modern French château. It represents the results of the Purcari restoration project that safeguarded and pays tribute to the legendary winery that occupied the Purcari terraces since the early 19th century. The new Purcari winery, however, is a larger, modern wine estate equipped with state-of-the-art grape receiving and winemaking facilities.
Vines, whose ancestry was traced back to the 19th century, when foreign settlers such as count Hermanson were active, have meanwhile been uprooted and replaced by carefully selected clones of predominantly international grape varieties.
The original wine vault dating back to 1827 has been restored to its former glory and is now the oldest wine cellars of Moldova. It is here, in the estate's underground galleries, that visitors get a taste of Purcari's bottled history. Visitors can witness a vast collection of wines from the Purcari region. Some samples date back to as early as 1948.
The estate also features guest quarters for overnight stays and various amenities.
Modern winemaking equipment such as temperature controlled stainless steel vessels is used and incorporates equipment from Italian companies such as of Gai, Cosme, Arol, and Podovan. At Vinaria Purcari oak fermentation and maturation takes place in 5,000 French oak barriques of 225 liters each and in 14 traditional 200-year-old Krasnodar oak vats of 20,000 liters each. Red wines are matured for at least one year, and white wines usually for 6 months.
While archaeologists have uncovered sites in Moldova that trace winemaking back to the fourth millennium BC, wine production started in the 19th century, when the province of Bessarabia, parts of which are now incorporated into the Republic of Moldova, became the leading wine producer of the Russian Empire.
The wines of Purcari first amazed at the Bessarabian agricultural exhibition in 1847, and thirty years later Europe was startled at the Paris Exhibition in 1878 when a second gold medal was awarded to 'Negru de Purcari'.
Thanks to the glitter of gold medals won at the European competitions, Purcari wines adorned the dinner tables of the world's greatest rulers, such as Russian Emperor Nicolai II, the English King George V and Queen Victoria. The Soviet rule claimed ownership of the making of Purcari wines under its secret patronage and de facto made Purcari the brand of the USSR. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the production of Purcari wines was stopped for more than 10 years.
Most of the Moldovan wineries and vineyards are located in the grape growing areas of southern and central Moldova, at the same latitude as the famous wine region of Bordeaux in France. The climate is moderate continental, though.
Purcari is blessed with its own micro-climate. The elevated Purcari region is 120 to 160 meters above sea level and blessed with warm winds from the Black Sea, which is only 60 km away. Fog may set in from over the Dniester River (situated 500 meters from the estate's vineyard), as the warm stream of air protects the vines in winter and favours the gentle ripening of the fruit throughout summer.
The well-drained, rich calcium soil, combined with a perfect climate for grape cultivation, provides a favourable environment for the production of outstanding wines, especially red wines which reflect the organoleptic typicity of Purcari.
Vinaria Purcari produces one million bottles of wine each year. The wine portfolio of Vinaria Purcari now consists of five dry, mono-varietal red and white wines and also one red dessert wine. Recently another two dry red wines, 'Negru de Purcari' and 'Roşu de Purcari', each one a blend of two or more grape varieties, have been added to the selection.
The list of brands includes:
- Cabernet Sauvignon de Purcari
- Merlot de Purcari
- Pinot Noir de Purcari
- Chardonnay de Purcari
- Sauvignon Blanc de Purcari
- Cahor de Purcari – red dessert wine
- Negru de Purcari
- Roşu de Purcari
'Negru de Purcari' and 'Roşu de Purcari' have already been in sale since autumn 2007. Both dry red wines are a blend of different grape varieties and the new vintage. According to tradition they need to mature in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years.
Purcari's red wines are meant for aging. The wine bottles are sealed with quality natural cork and packed lying down in special horizontal gofro-boxes containing 6 bottles each. In such conditions the white wines can be preserved for 3–5 years and the red wines up to 15–25 years.
At present,[when?] Vinaria Purcari is collaborating with key export partners in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Poland, Israel, Romania, Germany, Luxembourg, Japan and Turkey.