Monday, October 24, 2011

Moldova: Great Homemade Wine and Many Toasts!

Constantine starts with Moldovian Cognac
 Constantine brought out a two liter plastic bottle filled with wine and placed it under the table.  It was brought out after all the glasses on the table had been filled with Moldovan cognac.  “It’s the best Moldovan cognac,” he assured me, “the best.” It was the same brand that I had had the night before at my home-stay in the village of Giurgiulesti – the southern-most point in Moldova – and also the confluence of the Prut and Danube Rivers.  

 If you stand on the hillside along the village you can easily look over into Ukraine to the left and Romania off to the right. Tudor, my home-stay host, said “this is one of only seven places in the world where there is such a triangle. It immediately reminded me of the similar geographical border at Thailand-Burma and Cambodia.
After a couple of toasts with the Moldovan cognac, Constantine, who had thrown a party with his wife, reached for the plastic bottle of wine under the table and began pouring it into glasses – slightly bigger than shot glasses.  The wine had a rich dark red color and I expected it would be quite sweet.
It was not.
It had a rich flavor and Constantine proudly announced it was from his own grapes – and it was from this year’s crop.  
Grapes and Wine!
In between the toasts, we had quite a feast – minced meat, chicken, mashed potatoes, cabbage, potato salad – heavy on the eggs and imitation crab meat (delicious by the way), grapes from his vineyard and all sorts of Ukrainian chocolates.
I lost count after five or six toasts with the red homemade wine – and as I got up from the table and walked to the car – Constantine tapped me on the shoulder and said –  ‘wait, wait, I will be right back.”
He returned shortly with the still half-filled plastic bottle of home-made wine (the second plastic bottle of home-made wine) and said we must finish it.  Just when I thought I could drink no more – he first poured one glass, then half a glass and then another full glass of wine.  Wow. Between myself, Constantine and Tudor, we finished it off, but I’m not sure how we did it.  It had been a long time since I had drunk so much wine, but the thing is – Moldovan wine is so good – it is hard to stop.
The next morning…..
I’m impressed with the home-made wine. There is no hangover!

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