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WINE OF THE WEEK: Purcari Freedom Blend 2015, Stefan Voda, Moldova

£17.99, Novel Wines

Purcari Freedom Blend wine

A rich, velvety, fruity and spicy red – a perfect winter warmer to enjoy by the fire or tucking into cassoulet, lamb shanks, duck, steak, jacket potatoes or root vegetables. So far, not so out of the ordinary, but everything else about Purcari's Freedom Blend is emphatically out of the ordinary. It's not just that we don't see wines made from Bastardo, Saperavi or Rara Neagra very often, or that Moldova is hardly a big thing in wine in the UK (although Moldova's global exports are nearly 70 million bottles annually). It's that the Saperavi grapes (35% of the blend) are grown and pressed in Georgia, the Rara Neagra (5%) are grown and pressed in Ukraine and the juice from both is taken to Moldova for blending with the Bastardo. The resulting blend is then matured in French oak barrels for a year. It was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence of the countries involved and has turned out to be a heart-warmingly winning formula, with plum, cherry and mulberry fruit, spicy notes of nutmeg, smoked paprika, tobacco and toast and a fresh, savoury blackcurrant and black-olive finish.

Chateau Purcari Freedom Blend Limited Edition 2015, Stefan Voda District, Moldova

£17.95, Novel Wines, Transylvania Wine

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