September 19, 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
19 Sep

Rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep may be a time when the brain actively forgets, according to a new study published in Science.

The study, conducted on mice, suggests that forgetting during sleep may be controlled by neurons found deep inside the brain that were previously known for making an appetite stimulating hormone. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Ever wonder why we forget many of our dreams?” Thomas Kilduff, PhD, director of the Center for Neuroscience at SRI International, Menlo Park, California, and a senior author of the study, says in a statement. “Our results suggest that the firing of a particular group of neurons during REM sleep controls whether the brain remembers new information after a good night’s sleep.”

REM is one of several sleep stages the body cycles through every night. It first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep and is characterized by darting eyes, raised heart rates, paralyzed limbs, awakened brain waves and dreaming.

For more than a century, scientists have explored the role of sleep in storing memories. While many have shown that sleep helps the brain store new memories, others, including Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, have raised the possibility that sleep – in particular REM sleep – may be a time when the brain actively eliminates or forgets excess information. Moreover, recent studies in mice have shown that during sleep – including REM sleep – the brain selectively prunes synaptic connections made between neurons involved in certain types of learning.

“Understanding the role of sleep in forgetting may help researchers better understand a wide range of memory-related diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s,” said Janet He, PhD, program director, at NINDS. “This study provides the most direct evidence that REM sleep may play a role in how the brain decides which memories to store.”

Kilduff’s lab and that of his collaborator, Akihiro Yamanaka, PhD, at Nagoya University in Japan, have spent years examining the role of a hormone called hypocretin/orexin in controlling sleep and narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a disorder that makes people feel excessively sleepy during the day and sometimes experience changes reminiscent of REM sleep, like loss of muscle tone in the limbs and hallucinations. Their labs and others have helped to show how narcolepsy may be linked to the loss of hypocretin/orexin-making neurons in the hypothalamus, a peanut-sized area found deep inside the brain

In this study, Kilduff worked with Yamanaka’s lab and Akira Terao’s, DVM, PhD, lab at Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, to look at neighboring cells that produce melanin concentrating hormone (MCH), a molecule known to be involved in the control of both sleep and appetite. In agreement with previous studies, the researchers found that a majority (52.8%) of hypothalamic MCH cells fired when mice underwent REM sleep whereas about 35% fired only when the mice were awake and about 12% fired at both times.

They also uncovered clues suggesting that these cells may play a role in learning and memory. Electrical recordings and tracing experiments showed that many of the hypothalamic MCH cells sent inhibitory messages, via long stringy axons, to the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center.

“From previous studies done in other labs, we already knew that MCH cells were active during REM sleep. After discovering this new circuit, we thought these cells might help the brain store memories,” says Kilduff.

To test this idea, the researchers used a variety of genetic tools to turn on and off MCH neurons in mice during memory tests. Specifically, they examined the role that MCH cells played in retention, the period after learning something new but before the new knowledge is stored, or consolidated, into long term memory. The scientists used several memory tests including one that assessed the ability of mice to distinguish between new and familiar objects.

They found that “turning on” MCH cells during retention worsened memory whereas turning the cells off improved memories. For instance, activating the cells reduced the time mice spent sniffing around new objects compared to familiar ones, but turning the cells off had the opposite effect.

Further experiments suggested that MCH neurons exclusively played this role during REM sleep. Mice performed better on memory tests when MCH neurons were turned off during REM sleep. In contrast, turning off the neurons while the mice were awake or in other sleep states had no effect on memory.

“These results suggest that MCH neurons help the brain actively forget new, possibly, unimportant information,” says Kilduff. “Since dreams are thought to primarily occur during REM sleep, the sleep stage when the MCH cells turn on, activation of these cells may prevent the content of a dream from being stored in the hippocampus – consequently, the dream is quickly forgotten.”

Credit: Source link

19 Sep

1 Sauté the mushrooms: Place mushrooms in a large (6 to 8 quart) sauté pan on high or medium high heat. Stir them with a wooden spoon or shake the pan from time to time. You may hear them squeak.

Sprinkle salt over the mushrooms. The mushrooms will sizzle and then start to release water. (Note that you are not adding fat at this point to the pan; this method of cooking mushrooms in their own moisture is called “dry sautéing.)

Once the mushrooms start to release water into the pan, stir in the chopped onions. Cook until the mushrooms are no longer releasing moisture and the mushroom water has boiled away, about 5 minutes more.

2 Make the sauce: Add the olive oil to the mushrooms and stir to coat. Sauté the mushrooms and onions for about a minute. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir in the tomato paste, cook for a minute longer. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce (it will go in the bottom of the casserole dish), and put the remaining cup of tomato sauce into the pot with the mushrooms.  Add the large can of crushed tomatoes and one cup of water.

Stir in the thyme, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (If you are using dried basil instead of fresh, add it now.) Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and simmer on a low simmer, for 20 minutes.

3 Boil and drain the lasagna noodles: Once the sauce is simmering, salt the boiling pasta water, and add the dry lasagna noodles to the boiling water.  (The water should be at a vigorous, rolling boil.) Stir gently, making sure that the noodles are not sticking to each other. Set the timer for 8 minutes, or however long is indicated on the package of the noodles. Cook uncovered on a high boil.

When the noodles are ready (al dente, cooked through but still firm to the bite), drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse them to cool them with cold water.  As you rinse them, gently separate them with your fingers so they don’t stick to each other.

Prepare a couple large cookie sheets or baking sheets by spreading a tablespoon of olive oil over the baking sheets.

Place the lasagna noodles on the sheets, gently coating them with a bit of that olive oil, and spreading them out. This will help keep them from sticking to each other while you finish the sauce and prepare the layered casserole.

4 Assemble the lasagna: Turn off the heat on the stovetop for the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Spread the one cup of reserved tomato sauce over the bottom of a large (preferably 10×15-inch) casserole dish. (If your casserole dish is smaller, you may need to add another layer as you go through this step.)

Place a layer of lasagna noodles down over the tomato sauce, slightly overlapping. (For our 10×15-inch dish, we ultimately fit 3 layers of 6 noodles each, with 2 extra noodles on which to nosh.)

Sprinkle half of the ricotta cheese over the noodles, and half of the defrosted, drained, and squeezed out spinach over the ricotta.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the spinach, and just a quarter of the pecorino cheese.

Then spoon 1/3 of your mushroom sauce over the mozzarella. Sprinkle half of the fresh basil over the sauce.

5 Repeat layers: Repeat the layering process. Place a second layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella over the noodles. Sprinkle another quarter of the pecorino along with the mozzarella. Top with another third of the mushroom sauce and the remaining fresh basil.

Layer your final layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce. Spread the remaining sauce over the lasagna noodles, and sprinkle with the remaining pecorino or parmesan cheese.

6 Cover with foil and bake: Pull out a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to cover the casserole dish. Spread a little olive oil over the inside of the piece of foil (the side that will have contact with the lasagna). Place the foil over the casserole dish and crimp the edges.

Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes.

Take the lasagna out of the oven when done and let it rest 10 minutes before cutting to serve. Once made, the lasagna will last a week in the fridge.

Credit: Source link

19 Sep

Did you know you can make wine from store-bought raisins? Tomatoes? Butternut squash?

The very thought of drinking many of the wines in Richard Bender’s Wild Winemaking (aka Wild Wine Making) are alone worth the price of admission, even though I will fully confess I don’t plan on actually whipping up any plum champagne or limequat-kung pao.

For tinkerers who want to toy with fruit-based winemaking, though, Bender’s book is probably an essential. 148 recipes seemingly run you through every fruit known to man, proving that you can make wine from anything short of bananas, as long as it grows on a tree. Most of the recipes involve some kind of additional flavoring agent, in the form of things like green tea, ginger, chocolate, rhubarb, or (frequently) peppers. The bottom line: There’s plenty of variety here to keep you in homemade hooch for years to come.

While I didn’t personally cook up any of these recipes, I think the book is arguably worth hanging on to for the inevitable end of days. Who’s gonna be the envy of the block with his crabapple-mint vino? This guy.

B / $19 / [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

Similar Posts:

Wild Winemaking

$19

Credit: Source link

19 Sep

Greenhouse gas emissions could cause the Earth’s temperature to rise higher than previously estimated and far beyond the targeted limits, according to a study released Tuesday.

In the worst-case scenario of the study from France’s National Center for Scientific Research CNRS, the atomic energy commission CEA and weather office Meteo-France, average global temperatures could rise between 6 and 7 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

That’s far beyond the targets set in Paris at the COP 21 climate conference in 2015, when nations agreed to keep global temperature increase “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Of the models projected in the newly released study, only one found that global temperatures increases could stay below 2 degrees Celsius. That schema required carbon neutrality by 2060 and subsequent increases in carbon capture technology.

“There’s a jump in quality in the result of the models for numerous indicators,” CEA climate scientist Pascale Braconnot said at a press conference, according to a translation from Bloomberg. “We have more confidence in the new version compared to the previous one.”

The study’s release comes shortly before the United Nations holds a climate summit to address what it has described as “the defining issue of our time.” The U.N.’s 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that the world has 12 years left to ensure that global temperatures don’t rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius. If temperatures rise above that level, the report said, droughts, floods, displacement and conflict will ensue.

Yet even as the U.N. prepares for events to address the growing urgency of climate change, past failures to take aggressive action loom in the foreground.

Critics and and climate organizations said that the Paris Climate Accord, which required countries to pledge Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, didn’t do enough to force binding action on climate change. Those concerns persisted after last year’s COP24 in Katowice, Poland, ended with nations setting the rules for how countries cut greenhouse gas emissions but failing to achieve a transformative breakthrough to address climate change.

America’s role in aggravating climate change also looms large over ongoing discussions of how to pursue more forceful action on the issue. Although it is widely acknowledged that wealthy countries have driven climate change, while poorer ones will bear the brunt of its impact, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord. Despite its status as the 2nd-largest greenhouse gas emitter, the current administration has rolled back a range of Obama-era climate regulations while bolstering ties with oil and gas industry officials.


Credit: Source link

19 Sep

Attention Haul

Colour Pop Attention Haul Ultra Glossy Lip ($6.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a light peach with warm undertones and a cream finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation in a single pass, which applied fairly evenly and didn’t sink into my lip lines noticeably (from a normal viewing distance but the close-up photo showed a bit). The gloss had a smooth, spreadable consistency that felt more like a cream-gel hybrid–dense and substantial but not tacky or heavy. This shade lasted nicely for three hours and felt moisturizing while worn.

Formula Overview

$6.00/0.11 oz. – $54.55 Per Ounce

The formula is supposed to have “hi-shine” with a “non-sticky” texture that “feels amazing” and includes five finishes “from 3-D pearl to sheer tinted colour.” They are designed to be a sheerer formula, so many shades are sheer with a smattering of shimmer or sparkle and then a few are more tinted with sheer to semi-sheer coverage but no shimmer. Each gloss has a short, brush-type applicator, which worked better than I expected and didn’t leave streaky results behind (in general). They had a sweet, vanilla scent but no discernible taste.

The “Tinted” finish (“glass-like shine with tint of sheer colour and no shimmer”) was the least consistent–sometimes prone to unevenness and getting into lip lines, particularly with deeper/richer shades, whereas Pearlescent (“glass-like shine with subtle shimmer”) and Prismatic (“glass-like shine with floating multi dimensional pearl and glitters”) are sheer to translucent with the major difference being finer shimmer in the Pearlescent finish and larger, more glitter-like particles in the Prismatic finish. Both finishes tended to look plush and more smoothing on my lips. The Creme finish is a “medium-coverage gloss with a creamy finish that does not contain any pearls or glitter.” The Metallic is described as a “full-coverage gloss with a mix of pearl and metallic finishes.”

The wear time varied by shade but the sheerer ones tended to wear between two and three hours as the formula was, indeed, non-sticky and smooth, which made them lighter-weight and comfortable to wear but shorter wearing. A lot of the sheerer shades ran together, so I would recommend just picking up one or two rather than several as the differences are likely to be lost! Also, keep in mind that sheerer lip colors can look different from person to person due to much of the natural lip color coming through.

Browse all of our Colour Pop Ultra Glossy Lip swatches.

Crushin’

Colour Pop Crushin’ Ultra Glossy Lip ($6.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a muted, medium pink with subtle, warm undertones and a glossy, cream finish. The lipgloss had nearly opaque color payoff in one layer, which adhered evenly to my lips with just a bit of streaking on the outer edges of my lips. There was a smidgen of product that sank into my deeper lip lines, but it was subtle enough that I couldn’t see it in person (just in the close-up photos). It had a smooth, spreadable texture that was lightweight, substantial but not sticky, and comfortable to wear. It stayed on well for three and a half hours and felt hydrating over time.

Formula Overview

$6.00/0.11 oz. – $54.55 Per Ounce

The formula is supposed to have “hi-shine” with a “non-sticky” texture that “feels amazing” and includes five finishes “from 3-D pearl to sheer tinted colour.” They are designed to be a sheerer formula, so many shades are sheer with a smattering of shimmer or sparkle and then a few are more tinted with sheer to semi-sheer coverage but no shimmer. Each gloss has a short, brush-type applicator, which worked better than I expected and didn’t leave streaky results behind (in general). They had a sweet, vanilla scent but no discernible taste.

The “Tinted” finish (“glass-like shine with tint of sheer colour and no shimmer”) was the least consistent–sometimes prone to unevenness and getting into lip lines, particularly with deeper/richer shades, whereas Pearlescent (“glass-like shine with subtle shimmer”) and Prismatic (“glass-like shine with floating multi dimensional pearl and glitters”) are sheer to translucent with the major difference being finer shimmer in the Pearlescent finish and larger, more glitter-like particles in the Prismatic finish. Both finishes tended to look plush and more smoothing on my lips. The Creme finish is a “medium-coverage gloss with a creamy finish that does not contain any pearls or glitter.” The Metallic is described as a “full-coverage gloss with a mix of pearl and metallic finishes.”

The wear time varied by shade but the sheerer ones tended to wear between two and three hours as the formula was, indeed, non-sticky and smooth, which made them lighter-weight and comfortable to wear but shorter wearing. A lot of the sheerer shades ran together, so I would recommend just picking up one or two rather than several as the differences are likely to be lost! Also, keep in mind that sheerer lip colors can look different from person to person due to much of the natural lip color coming through.

Browse all of our Colour Pop Ultra Glossy Lip swatches.

Lesson Learned

Colour Pop Lesson Learned Ultra Glossy Lip ($6.00 for 0.11 oz.) is is a deeper, muted peach with warm, orange undertones and a cream finish. It had semi-opaque pigmentation–more than the medium coverage promised, though there was still some translucency to it. The texture was lightweight, spreadable, smooth, and never felt tacky to me.

It applied unevenly along the edges, as the brush-type applicator is poor for getting around the edges without moving the product too much. There was also a small amount of gloss that accumulated in my deeper lip lines, though I didn’t feel like it was visible at a normal viewing distance. It wore well for three and a half hours and felt lightly moisturizing over time.

Formula Overview

$6.00/0.11 oz. – $54.55 Per Ounce

The formula is supposed to have “hi-shine” with a “non-sticky” texture that “feels amazing” and includes five finishes “from 3-D pearl to sheer tinted colour.” They are designed to be a sheerer formula, so many shades are sheer with a smattering of shimmer or sparkle and then a few are more tinted with sheer to semi-sheer coverage but no shimmer. Each gloss has a short, brush-type applicator, which worked better than I expected and didn’t leave streaky results behind (in general). They had a sweet, vanilla scent but no discernible taste.

The “Tinted” finish (“glass-like shine with tint of sheer colour and no shimmer”) was the least consistent–sometimes prone to unevenness and getting into lip lines, particularly with deeper/richer shades, whereas Pearlescent (“glass-like shine with subtle shimmer”) and Prismatic (“glass-like shine with floating multi dimensional pearl and glitters”) are sheer to translucent with the major difference being finer shimmer in the Pearlescent finish and larger, more glitter-like particles in the Prismatic finish. Both finishes tended to look plush and more smoothing on my lips. The Creme finish is a “medium-coverage gloss with a creamy finish that does not contain any pearls or glitter.” The Metallic is described as a “full-coverage gloss with a mix of pearl and metallic finishes.”

The wear time varied by shade but the sheerer ones tended to wear between two and three hours as the formula was, indeed, non-sticky and smooth, which made them lighter-weight and comfortable to wear but shorter wearing. A lot of the sheerer shades ran together, so I would recommend just picking up one or two rather than several as the differences are likely to be lost! Also, keep in mind that sheerer lip colors can look different from person to person due to much of the natural lip color coming through.

Browse all of our Colour Pop Ultra Glossy Lip swatches.

Credit: Source link

19 Sep

A survey of people living on the street underscored Portland’s need for an alternative to police responding to low-level 911 calls — but who those first responders will be remains up in the air.

Portland State University researchers canvassed homeless camps and centers where people receive meals and services to find out what their experiences with police have been and what they would like to see instead.

The results will be used to help create Portland Street Response, the working name of program expected to divert calls for homelessness issues away from police. Street Roots, a nonprofit newspaper, helped lead the surveying effort, along with other homeless service providers. The report is available on the newspaper’s website.

Of the 184 people surveyed, 65% said they want a responder who fills the role of crisis counselor, mental health worker or peer support rather than a cop in a uniform. They don’t want every interaction with a first responder to include a check to see if they have warrants for their arrest.

Instead of a hospital or jail, they want more options for finding the help they need.

They said that when they have had positive interactions with police, it has mostly been when they felt listened to and were allowed to decide the kind of help they receive.

“If you ask anyone in the community, you’ll see their needs are not met,” said Vince Mosiello, who sells Street Roots newspapers and helped lead the canvassing.

Mosiello spoke at a press conference announcing the results, and said that his and other homeless people’s experiences show that the Portland Street Response effort is needed. They often feel like they are treated as less than human by Portland residents and first responders.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is leading a group of public and private leaders in public safety and homelessness services to figure out how to send first responders to calls about homelessness without defaulting to police. The group commissioned the study.

“When over half of the arrests in the city were of people who without being houseless wouldn’t have been arrested, we know we are wasting resources,” Hardesty said.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that 52% of all arrests in 2017 in the city were of homeless people. Street Roots used the statistic, as well as the newspaper’s own reporting, to call for the Portland Street Response effort.

As they consider a new program, officials have looked at Eugene’s CAHOOTS program, which pairs a crisis counselor with a medic. In a given year, the program’s two teams field an average of 20 percent of all calls to the 911 and non-emergency police numbers.

It works largely independently of police, with only 10% of CAHOOTS calls involving another public safety agency.

About 60% of all CAHOOTS’ clients are homeless, even though it was never meant to provide homelessness outreach. But the calls they respond to coincide with the area’s population of people who struggle to be able to pay rent.

Portland faces a similar issue in that a majority of the city’s 911 calls are about homelessness issues. Greg Townley, director of research for the Portland State University Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, said that the survey results show that homeless people want Portlanders to be more judicious about what they call police for.

Hardesty echoed the idea that the Street Response effort should work in tandem with marketing about the cost of overusing the 911 system.

“911 is not who you call when you feel uncomfortable with what someone looks like,” Hardesty said. “911 is not who you call when someone puts a tent up across from your house.”

But before Portland’s Street Response program can launch, the pilot program must go to City Council in November. The mayor already set aside $500,000 to fund what will likely be a small, geographically bound version of an idea that could be scaled up if it is found effective.

Hardesty said that she doesn’t know what it will look like yet, or where it will be housed. However, she oversees the fire and emergency dispatch departments, which suggests that the program might live under one of those umbrellas.

— Molly Harbarger

mharbarger@oregonian.com | 503-294-5923 | @MollyHarbarger

Visit subscription.oregonlive.com/newsletters to get Oregonian/OregonLive journalism delivered to your email inbox.


Credit: Source link

19 Sep

Companies in Japan, the developed world’s most sleep-deprived nation by one measure, are beginning to set aside spaces designated for employees to sleep on the job, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Mitsubishi Estate owns some of Tokyo’s priciest office space and wants to promote its properties as hubs for innovation. At headquarters, human-resources manager Go Negami spearheaded the installation of six rooms featuring recliners, mood lights and pamphlets on efficient napping. He advertised the initiative among its 850-some employees and unveiled an online nap-scheduling calendar.

At the offices of Bitflyer Blockchain Inc., Japan’s largest digital-currency exchange, CEO Yuzo Kano says he installed, then uninstalled, a room with a bunk bed. Of his 250 employees, he says, maybe only three used it to take naps.

Get the full story at wsj.com.

Credit: Source link

19 Sep

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Here are a few things you should know about Moldova as a wine country. First, wine is constitutionally recognized as food. In March 2017, the Parliament of Moldova declared wine as a food product. The new law allows wine to be sold in shops after 22:00; advertising wine products on the mass media is also permitted. Second, there’s a public holiday dedicated to wine. Along with the declared holiday comes an annual national wine celebration held in the capital city Chișinău on the first weekend of October. Third, it is home to the largest wine cellar and the largest wine collection in the world. The state-owned Mileștii Mici winery contains around 2,000,000 bottles of wine and boasts a 200 kilometer-long cellar, of which 55 kilometers are currently in use. Fourth, Moldova has the greatest density of vineyards in the world: 3.8% of the country’s territory and 7% of the arable land. Fifth, the wine sector accounts for nearly 10% of Moldova’s labor force.

The Kremlin Breakup

Wedged between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is a landlocked country located in the Black Sea Basin—an area where the history of wine dates back thousands of years and a few Black Sea countries claiming to be the birthplace of wine. Together with Georgia, Moldova was one of the two most productive wine states in the Soviet Union. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Moldova’s independence, Moldova continued to supply inexpensive bulk wine to Russia. To cater to the Russian market, besides the focus on quantity over quality, Moldova’s wine production was dominated by semi-dry and semi-sweet wines, which were favored by the Russians.

The customary setup was disturbed in 2006—and again in 2013—when Russia applied an embargo on Moldovan wine. In 2006, when Russia accounted for over 80% of Moldovan wine exports, the embargo pushed Moldova into a deep recession.

What does one do when one has its trust broken and feels betrayed? One turns away, runs as far away as possible, and tries to never look back.

After the 2013 embargo, in a political piece for The New York Times, American journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “If there were an Olympic competition for bravest country in the world, the gold medal might well go to Moldova.”

Moldova adopted an international approach in order to find new export markets and sustainable growth. A key challenge that arose from this shift was how to satisfy the new customers and investors who had different psychographics and different taste preferences from the Russians. Tested, Moldovan wine producers started their march from quantity to quality and from bulk to bottle.

Exotic Wine Travel Meets Moldovan Wine

We had our first taste of Moldovan wine when we judged at the International Wine Competition Bucharest (IWCB) 2018 and scored several of them well between 85 and 94 points. So when we received our invitation to visit the Moldovan wine regions, we accepted it with enthusiasm and high expectations. The week-long trip offered us a comprehensive overview of the three wine regions of Moldova, along with some penetrating observations of the past, present, and future of Moldovan wine.

During the week, we tasted more than 150 wines from over 20 producers. We met with enologists from some of the biggest wineries in Moldova, small-scale producers, winemakers who have just started commercializing their wines, vine breeders, wine bar owners, representatives from the tourism board, and several other key players in the wine and tourism industries. Our expectations were exceeded by the quality of Moldovan wines, the above-mentioned exponents, and the human spirit that inevitably upholds the collective vision of the Moldovan wine world.

Moldova: Born to Wine

Moldova has 112,000 hectares of vineyards planted with over 50 types of wine grape varieties, 10% of which are local types, 17% are Caucasian, and 73% are European.

The country sits on similar latitudes to the classic wine regions of the world, like Bordeaux and Piedmont. Coupled with low hills, sun-soaked plains, flowing rivers, and moderately-continental climate with influences from the Black Sea, Moldova offers suitable conditions for cultivating high-quality wine grapes.

There are three Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Moldovan wine regions: Codru (central Modolva), Valul lui Traian (southwest Moldova), and Ștefan Vodă (southeast Moldova). The latter two are more renowned for reds because of the southerly location and slightly warmer climate. However, there are some age-worthy, cool-climate reds from the Codru region as well. On the other end of the spectrum, Moldova has many aromatic white grapes and the wines made from those grapes tend to be fresh and floral. Other styles made in Moldova include sparkling and sweet. The latter includes icewines, which can be outstanding and some of the best in the world—especially if one considers their price-quality ratios. The former consists of generally simple wines with less than a handful of exceptions; however, Moldovan sparkling wine, in fact, has a history dating back to the 1950s as the deep limestones quarries at Cricova Winery (second biggest wine cellar in the world) and Mileștii Mici Winery proved ideal for aging and storing traditional-method sparkling wine.

Map of Moldovan Wine Regions, by Wine of Moldova.

International for Good Reason

The Moldovan wine industry is largely reliant on international grapes. While the first impression may appear weak on this account, there are several commendable Bordeaux-style blends that rank high for being value for money and are likely to satisfy discerning drinkers on a weekday business dinner. Most of the international red grapes—such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, and Syrah—are also ideal for blending with local varieties. As one might expect, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are omnipresent white varieties and can also be found in Moldova.

Chateau Vartely Taraboste RosuChateau Vartely Taraboste RosuChateau Vartely Taraboste Rosu
A Bordeaux blend, the Château Vartely Taraboste Roșu was the first Moldovan wine we tasted. It has won several gold medals at international competitions.
Fautor Fume BlancFautor Fume BlancFautor Fume Blanc
The Fautor Fumé Blanc 2016 receives 90 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.

Recommended white wines: Asconi Sol Negre Chardonnay 2015, Cricova Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut NV, Château Vartely Taraboste Alb 2017, Château Purcari Alb de Purcari 2017, Fautor Illustro Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc Rhein Riesling 2016

Recommended red wines: Minis Terrios Negru Împărat 2016, Vinaria Nobila Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Castel Mimi Merlot Reserve 2012 & Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012, Château Vartely Taraboste Roșu 2015, Mileștii Mici Codru 2009, Fautor Illustro Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Equinox Echinoctus 2015, Chateau Cristi Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines 2016

Moldovan Wine Goes Glocal

Moldova shares a long history with next-door Romania. As such, both Romanian-speaking countries also share a number of native varieties. These grapes, both in blends and as varietal wines, produce the most memorable wines of Moldova.

Minis Terriors Rosu imparatMinis Terriors Rosu imparatMinis Terriors Rosu imparat
Produced by winery Minis Terrios, Roșu Împărat is an elegant blend of Fetească Neagră, Rara Neagrăa, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The important local red grapes are Fetească Neagră and Rara Neagră (known as Băbească Neagră in Romania). The important white counterparts are Alb de Onițcani, Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Plavai, and Viorica.

Eastern European grapes like Bastardo Magarachsky, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi are also cultivated. Despite Saperavi’s Georgian origin, it thrives exceptionally well in Moldova and makes a formidable backbone for the most profound Moldovan red blends. The best dry red Moldovan wines we tasted were made from either Moldovan varieties, Georgian varieties, or both.

Carpe Diem Bad BoysCarpe Diem Bad BoysCarpe Diem Bad Boys
Winery Carpe Diem’s Bad Boys is a blend of Fetească Neagră and Saperavi. It is bold, structured, complex, and age-worthy.

Recommended white wines: Novak Alb de Onitcani 2017, ATÚ Viorica 2018, Cricova Crisecco NV, Château Vartely Fetească  Regală  2018, Salcuta Winemaker’s Way Alb de Onitcani 2018, Kazayak Viorica 2018

Recommended red wines: Minis Terrios Roșu Împărat 2015, Carpe Diem Bad Boys 2016, Vinaria Nobila Fetească Neagră 2014, ATÚ Calibru 2017, Château Vartely Individo Rara Neagra 2017 & Individo Saperavi 2017, Mileștii Mici Negru de Mileștii 1987, Salcuta Eno Reserva 2015, Château Purcari Negru de Purcari 2015 & Roșu de Purcari 2015, Fautor Negre 2016, Gitana Lupi Rezerva 2015, Gogu Metafora 2017

Moldovan Wine Finds Its Sweet Spot

The first Moldovan wine that awed us was an icewine made from Riesling. During our visit to Moldova, we were thrilled to learn that that wine wasn’t a fluke.

Chateau Purcari icewine muscat ottonel traminerChateau Purcari icewine muscat ottonel traminerChateau Purcari icewine muscat ottonel traminer
Founded in 1827, Château Purcari is the oldest existing winery in Moldova. While the winery is famed for its red wines, this icewine shows that it is no one-trick pony.

There are many exceptional botrytized sweet wines and icewines made in all three Moldovan wine regions. Icewine can be made in Moldova nearly every year as winter usually dips below -7 degrees Celsius. What further strengthens this ‘Moldovan sweet spot’ is different varieties are used to make sweet wines, including Muscat Ottonel, Traminer (Gewürtztraminer), Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli, Riesling, and even Cabernet Sauvignon.

Recommended sweet wines: Asconi Rosé Icewine Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Castel Mimi Late Harvest Rkatsiteli 2013, Château Vartely Chardonnay dulce alb 2013, Mileștii Mici Margaritar 2005, Fautor Ice Wine Traminer Muscat Ottonel 2016, Ialoveni Reserva Pelicular 1995

Divin, Moldova’s Cognac

Moldova, along with Armenia, was renowned for its grape brandy production in the Soviet states. Back then, those brandies were called Cognac. However, since 1909, only grape brandy produced in the Cognac region in France is legally allowed to be labeled as Cognac. As a result, Moldovan grape brandy needed to be renamed and rebranded if it wanted a share of the international market in the post-Soviet era.

Like Cognac, today, Divin bears PGI. With a tradition of over 100 years in Moldova, Divin is produced by double-distilling grape-based alcohol and aging it for at least three years in oak barrels. Depending on the length of maturation, Divin offers a range of scents and tastes: from flowers and spices, to caramel and tobacco. The best Divin, like Cognac, is smooth on the palate and balanced in taste, with a plethora of flavors that persist through a long finish.

An entry-level Divin, in a half-liter bottle, usually retails for less than five euros. For a respectable Divin, aged for 10 years and likely to appeal to experienced Cognac drinkers, expect to pay between 15 and 20 euros. For a truly hedonistic Divin that has been aged for 20 years, the price goes up to 80 euros and above. The step-up is boundless; 50 Year Old Divin exists too.

Fine Divin aged for 20 years.

Moldovan Wine, the Wine of Change

Today, the wine industry accounts for 2% of Moldova’s Gross Domestic Product and 6% of the country’s total exports, and Moldovan wines are available in over 50 countries around the world. These numbers speak for themselves: while success is always a work in progress, the Moldovan wine industry has clearly moved from an unhealthy reliance on one country to a robust export portfolio.

However, other challenges remain, including selling more wines at higher prices, rebranding Moldova as a quality wine-producing country, increasing domestic consumption, upgrading infrastructures and the service sector to boost the overall value chain, and valorizing the cultural significance of Moldovan wine. The need to tackle these challenges is, however, well-timed as a new generation of internationally educated winemakers and cosmopolitan minds are ready to step up and lead in this time of change.

Mihaela Sirbu, who studied hotel management in Switzerland and worked in the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi, joined her family business at Asconi Winery in 2017. “With my international background in hospitality, I hope we will be able to showcase the most authentic Moldovan traditions while following the latest wine tourism trends,” she said.

Sirbu is now in charge of tourism development at the winery, while her brother takes care of the vineyards. Her father, the founder of Asconi Winery, continues to oversee the entire operation of the estate, which includes wine production, two restaurants, and 20 rooms for guests. With the wide offering at the estate, the family team aims to attract more people, both local and foreign, to experience Moldova’s culture through wine.

The Asconi Winery, one of the largest private wineries in Moldova, is one of the many case studies on how wine and entrepreneurship can be a core lever for nation-building in Moldova.

“During Soviet times, we did not have family-owned wineries at all, only state-owned, mega-wineries with hundreds and thousands of hectares,” said Ion Luca, former president of the Moldovan Small Wine Producers Association, winemaker-proprietor of Carpe Diem Winery and owner of Carpe Diem Wine Shop & Bar.

Luca was the first president of the Moldovan Small Wine Producers Association, which was established in 2008. To be a member of the association, a producer must have less than 20 hectares of vineyards and an annual production of no more than 100,000 liters. 

Describing the members of Moldovan Small Wine Producers Association, Luca said, “We are a group of people who started from scratch in a boutique winery style, and we’re making limited quantities of wine. In order to place our wine on local and international markets, we have to unite in an association so that we can share efforts in promoting our wines on local and international fairs, make events together, educate consumers together, and also lobby and advocate for the ‘small guys’.”

Small producers are often squeezed out of restaurants’ wine lists and shelf space because they do not have the financial resources to compete with big producers. To counter that, Luca established Carpe Diem Wine Shop & Bar in the center of Chișinău, where wines of the small producers are under one roof.

Why Drink Moldovan Wine?

To drink Moldovan wine represents taking a stand for the country, supporting a revolution, championing resilience, promoting diversity in wine, and planting a future for the whole wine industry. A glass of Moldovan wine stands for how the human spirit prevails amid calamity. It means helping more Old World wine countries to re-emerge and rewrite modern wine history.

Wine may simply be a beverage, but it can also be symbolic. If there are two overriding considerations we would employ when buying wine, they are: “Are we supporting something that we should be supporting?” and “Are we doing our part to promote diversity in the wine world?”

Moldova may be a small corner of the wine world, but it has the capability to show us something new that we don’t already know about wine. That’s if we give Moldovan wine a chance today.


– Stay tuned to our website for an upcoming article entitled “A Journey Through Moldova in 15 Wines“.

– Find your nearest stockist of Moldovan wine on Wine-Searcher.

– Recommended reading: The Wines of Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova by Caroline Gilby (Master of Wine) / Buy paperback on Amazon

– Cover image: Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

We were on a press trip organized by the Moldova Competitiveness Project, funded by USAID and Sweden, in collaboration with Wine of Moldova. Our travel, meals, and accommodation were covered by the organizers. However, please note that the opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.

Credit: Source link

ads by google