Negru de Purcari 2020

Producer: Château Purcari
Region: Stefan Voda
Appellation: Purcari
Country: Moldova
Classification: PGI
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Saperavi, Rară Neagră
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 14%
Soil: Black sand loam on top of limestone
Farming Practices: Sustainable, 30% of vineyards undergoing organic conversion
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Cellar Profile

After 600 years of contiguous planting, Château Purcari started bottling under its iconic label in 1827. In 1878, Negru de Purcari, a blend featuring the indigenous Rara Neagra, was awarded a gold medal in a blind tasting at the Paris World Expo. Most believed it to be an exceptional new Bordeaux. This is not surprising, as the wine regions of Moldova sit at the same latitude as Bordeaux, their soils are similar and they share a lot of similar climactic conditions. At the turn of the century, the winery replanted 250 ha of vineyards, refreshing and retraining the vines with an eye towards crafting fine wines instead of the large volumes of inexpensive wines demanded by Moldova’s former largest export partner, Russia. During the replanting, care was taken to bring back the indigenous Rara Neagra and white Viorica grapes that had largely been ignored, for decades, in favour of French varieties. Château Purcari was the most awarded winery in the world in 2022, amassing a stunning 333 international awards including a Platinum medal and “Best in Show” at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Approximately 30% of the winery’s vineyards are currently undergoing organic conversion.


Although Moldova can trace grape cultivation back to 2800 BC, it remains a little-known country for wine production. Château Purcari is located in Stefan Voda, in the southeastern part of the Republic of Moldova, considered the best of the country’s four regions for crafting fine wines. Here, well-drained, mineral-rich, red clay and loamy soils sit on top of limestone slabs. The Purcari subzone of Stefan Voda lies between the Dniester River (500m away) and the Black Sea (60km away). The region has low rainfall and enjoys 320 days of sun a year. Warm breezes coming off the Black Sea help mitigate the formation of mildew or fungus from early morning fog. Over 75% of all vineyards are planted on slopes, which helps capture the right amount of sunlight during the day to offset cool evening temperatures. Despite its proximity to the sea, the climate is considered Moderate Continental, with a lot of similarities to Bordeaux, France. The region boasts a large number of indigenous varieties including Viorica, Rară Neagră, Feteasca Neagră and Feteasca Alba, Red grapes account for almost 60% of plantings, but aromatic whites also play an important role in the region’s winemaking traditions.


Château Purcari has 250ha of plantings of both indigenous and international grape varieties on its Estate vineyards. Replanted in the early 2000s, the vines are starting to produce incredible fruit. Sustainably-farmed on red loam soils laden with mineral content, the winery takes advantage of the long, dry growing season and cool nights to harvest grapes that have high levels of sugar, full phenolic ripeness and balancing acidity.


Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to demonstrate a handful of common character traits: deep color, good tannin structure, moderate acidity and aromas of blackcurrant, tomato leaf, dark spices and cedarwood. This classic Bordeaux varietal is particularly suited to blending, adding structure, power and notes of dark fruits. Saperavi is one of the oldest grapes still used in modern winemaking, tracing its roots back thousands of years to Georgia, where it is still the dominant variety to this day. It is a teinturier, meaning the pulp and juice are high in anthocyanins and are pink. Generally, the juice from red/black grapes is clear, with the colour in your glass coming from skin contact during the winemaking process. Saperavi is a high acid varietal but its thin skins and large berries do not impart astringency or high tannins. Rară Neagră, also known as Băbească neagră, is a thin-skinned grape native to Romania and Moldova. It generally gives lighter-coloured wines with medium weight and good acidity.


Hand-harvested fruit is vinified separately in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts. After a short period of aging, the wines are blended and aged for 18 months in French oak barriques before bottling.

Tasting Notes 

The benchmark wine for the winery, this robust red gives heady aromas of black plum, cassis, tobacco leaf and Asian spices. The palate is rich and full-bodied. Flavours of plum, blackberry, cassis and mocha are framed by structured tannins and good acidity. A long, haunting, primary fruit-driven finish makes this a memorable wine for sipping on its own, or for pairing with a good steak, root vegetable stews or barbecued ribs.