A new Moldovan selection signature variety, Alb de Onitcani, has come into existence in Moldovan winemaking credit for the Novak family and their winery Tartcomvin (Novak Winery experimental microvinification). The varietal wine with the same name Alb de Onițcani, 2016 made a sensational entrance on the market in 2017 and gave the winemaker Andrei Novak a creative pursuit theme. He developed several quite interesting blends based on the Alb de Onitcani variety.
Andrei Novak got interested in the topic of assemblage in winemaking for the first time, when he visited a German winery, where he saw 22 types of Riesling-based wines – from sparkling to ice wine. Mightily surprised, he thought: “Why not continue experimenting with Alb de Onitcani that has become our iconic variety?” Thus, the first blend was born in 2017 – Alb de Onitcani & Rkatsiteli, 2017. Like Alb de Onitcani, Rkatsiteli is also a late harvested white grape variety with floral aroma. The first wine with such composition got a gold medal at the international competition Mundus Vini Summer Tasting, 2018 in Germany (this was the only “gold” for Moldova). What has come out of this combination?
Alb de Onitcani & Rkatsiteli, 2018
It is worth mentioning that the 2018 harvest was just excellent for the Alb de Onitcani variety. Its high acidity lowered yet in grape berries accumulating a lot of sugars, which resulted in high alcohol (14.5%) in the wine. The wine aged in oak barrels for six months, and turned out formidable. In this blend, Alb de Onitcani makes up 60% and Rkatsiteli – 40%.
The color of wine is light yellow. Heavy oily “legs” run down the sides of the glass, which is an indication of a good wine body. It sways heavily when you swirl the glass (this is once again about a strong body), sparkling.
The first nose reveals the aroma of bitter herbs and dried field flowers. Many people rush to taste wine and miss out on quite a few interesting things. Wait until the wine reveals all its beauty to you. The second aromatic wave releases ripe sunflower with a scent of tropic fruits, honey, a freshly cut lemon note.
The taste is mild, fresh, and slightly sour. There is a hint of apple, pear, and by the end a twist of lemon peel. You can also feel the latter in the long aftertaste together with a vanilla flavor. It has a silky texture. It is an easy-drinking wine, despite high alcohol. I liked it very much. I made a note in my tasting book: “Delight!”
Alb de Onitcani & Riesling, 2017
The conditions in 2017 made Alb de Onitcani more mineral, with less sugar content, and thus resulted in alcohol of 12.5%. In this blend Alb de Onitcani makes up 65% and Riesling – 35%. The wine aged in barrels for six months.
The color is sleek light straw. The wine leaves thick legs on the sides of the glass. The first nose delivers field flowers. The bouquet contains (different intensity) aromas of tropical fruits, sunflower blossom (ripe), apricot, yellow pear, fresh Chamomile. The last to be released is the aroma of sunflower seeds.
The wine has a silky texture. The taste is mild, with pleasant sourness and slight minerality. There is lemon peel and vanilla flavor in the taste and long aftertaste. Alcohol amounts to 12.5%.
Chardonnay & Riesling & Alb de Onitcani, 2018
As Andrei Novak explained, this wine combines three varieties and three vintages. This composition includes: Chardonnay 2018 – 50%, which had been kept in oak barrels for six months; Alb de Onitcani, 2017 – 25%, kept in 500 l Romanian oak barrels without toasting for six months; Riesling 2016 – 25 %, had not contacted oak, was kept in stainless steel tanks.
The wine color is straw. The first nose reveals delicate floral freshness. The bouquet reveals citrus scents, jasmine, barberry, sunflower blossom (very young), freshly cut grass, and summer apples.
The wine body is lighter than in the previous two. The wine has a silky texture. The taste reveals apples and lemon peel. The long aftertaste has a vanilla flavor. It is an interesting delicate wine, very easy-drinking. Alcohol content makes up 13%.
These wines have been rather accidentally born for the joy of consumers. The experts of the Moldova Competitiveness Project (MCP) funded by USAID and Swedish Government proposed an idea to the owners of Tartcomvin primary winemaking factory to start bottling their best wines. The Novac family picked up the idea. This is how Novak Winery came into being and produced its first bottled wines in 2016. The new production facility benefited from support under the Product Quality Upgrading Program/PQUP implemented by MCP and the National Office for Vine and Wine (ONVV).
Under PQUP, Novak Winery has received consultancy in winemaking (Nadejda Mardari) and marketing (Constantin Shevchuk). The MCP financed brand development, provided assistance in procuring the first oak barrels from France and Romania, as well as provided a designer/architect who developed the production facility zoning plan and a design concept of the future tasting room and mini hotel. The next stage will be dedicated to consultancy and assistance in export promotion.
The wines of Novac Winery are of a very good quality, they have already got golden medals”, says the consultant Nadejda Mardari. “Andrei is constantly experimenting, looking for new blends, new ways. Blended wines based on Alb de Onitcani are quite successful. Novac works a lot on the quality of wines. He has invested many efforts, funds and his soul in this company within the last three years”.