Surely, many of you have not heard of this variety of red grape – Codrinschii. Its name makes you think of the Codru wine region. I had the opportunity to taste the wine only in autumn 2019, both in single-vineyard, straight from the barrel, and in cupaj. At the moment, there is only one producer of Codrinschii wines in Moldova – a red blend with Saperavi. The whole world learned about Codrinschii at the 26th MUNDUS VINI international wine competition in 2019, where it won a gold medal.
In 1955-1975, experts from the Scientific-Practical Institute of Horticulture and Food Technologies of Moldova created the Codrinschii variety by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Rara Neagră. As a result of repeated and reverse crosses of the parental varieties, elites (offspring) with higher quality and berry productivity indices and greater resistance to adverse environmental factors were selected. After 40 years of research and observations on its development, the Codrinschii variety was approved and included in the Catalogue of Varieties across the Prut in 2005. Currently, there are about 104 ha of Codrinschii in the Republic of Moldova.
Why was this variety created? Codrinschii is a grape variety with the potential to produce high quality wine. It is also very productive. In the first 4-5 years, production reaches 9-10 t/ha, when the grapes come into bearing the indices increase to 11-13 t/ha, with the mention that in good years productivity can reach 15-16 t/ha.
It is believed that the variety was also developed to resist cryptogamic diseases (several types of moulds that affect the development of vines). However, information on the resistance of Codrinschii is contradictory. For example, in the Encyclopaedia “Viticultura” of 1986-1987, Codrinschii is listed as a variety with high resistance to grey rot, while for diseases such as mange and powdery mildew it is said to have medium resistance; and in more recent studies by various researchers in the field it is stated that this new variety – Codrinschii is susceptible to all the diseases mentioned above.
Absolutely in all the papers I have read, the Codrinschii grape variety shows an average resistance to low temperatures of -22° C, with a high regeneration capacity. The evaluations have established that the Codrinschii grapevine shows higher resistance to high or low winter temperatures.
Organoleptic characteristics of the Codrinschii variety
From this variety of red grape you can create still red wines, rosés, sparkling and pastoral wines. Codrinschii has inherited from its noble parents Cabernet Sauvignon and Rara Neagră a well-defined structure with a high concentration of phenolic substances, especially when the wine is young (2 048mg/dm³), including a high anthocyanin content of 507mg/dm³, thus placing it between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Studies have shown that after 11 months of ageing, Codrinschii shows a stability of colouring substances and is thus positioned alongside Feteasca Neagră. In the same vein, research has shown that the maximum extraction of phenolic compounds in the must occurs when about 20% of the total mustule is separated, followed by the fermentation process – maceration on the barrel for a week at a temperature of 26-28° C. This increases the contact surface of the must with the solid part of the pulp.
What do these data say about Codrinschii wine? First of all, the wine has an intense colour. The phenolic compounds indicate a quality wine, including that it has ageing potential. Moreover, these phenolic compounds have been shown to have a positive influence on health. Specifically, they help the human body to slow down the process of free radical formation.
Codrinschii develop aromas of ripe, sweet black fruits such as cherries, blackberries and blackcurrants, coupled with floral, violet and dried leaf notes. Depending on the time of maturation and the type of oak barrel, it can impress with notes of vanilla and chocolate.
Various studies and comparative analyses of the Codrinschii variety, planted in the central region of Moldova, against experimental lots planted in the south of the country, have shown that in order to obtain quality indicators, this variety should only be planted in warm areas.
In southern regions, the sugar content of Codrinschii wine can average 200-220 g/dm³. In good harvest years, the level can even reach 230 g/dm³. Moreover, vine plants in the southern part, with an older age, showed higher indicators of wine quality.
Codrinschii can be characterised by high acidity, often caused by underdeveloped green berries. This can be corrected and may not present a problem if producers have the necessary machinery to remove undeveloped green berries.
Codrinschii is a two red grapes with a medium-late ripening period. The grapes reach full ripeness at the end of September or by the first decade of October. Codrinschii cuttings are recommended to be planted in the southern region, on south or south-west facing slopes. To complete the necessary criteria for wine extractability, account is also taken of the type of soil in which the Codrinschii vineyards are located: typical cernoziom, heavy clayey cernoziom or luteous-clayey cernoziom. For the production of Codrinschi rose wines, it is advisable to choose plots on lighter, more carbonaceous soils.
The grapes, including the berries, are medium-sized. Compared to its parents, the Codrinschi is positioned in the middle.
The weight of a Codrinschii grape varies between 165 – 191 g. The berries are covered with dense skin, with a juicy pink flesh and a simple taste, noted by a slight aroma specific to plants of the solanaceae family – zest.
Simple things to remember about the Codrinschii variety
This red grape variety – Codrinschii is noble, because it has parents from the Vitis Vinifera species – Cabernet Sauvignion and Rara Negra;
When the grapes are fully ripened, more sugar accumulates in the berries, including phenolic compounds that give the wine colour and a backbone to last over time;
To achieve outstanding results, Codrinschii varietal cuttings should be planted on suitable relief in warm regions;
Codrinschii is a good partner in coupage;
The wine of this variety has a balanced and elegant structure, especially after a period of ageing. The young wine enjoys a silky, intense body with full tannins;
This variety can be used to make still red, rose, sparkling and pastoral wines;
Moldovan producers: Atu Winery and Te Wa Wines.
- Enciclopedia „Viticultura”, Timuș. A. I. Tomul 1, 1986.
- Soiuri de viță de vie în Moldova, Talda N.E , Romanov. I.I, Cartea Moldovenească, 1990.
- Revista Pomicultura, Viticultura şi Vinificația, nr. 3  2013.
- Revista Pomicultura, Viticultura şi Vinificația, nr. 4 2013.
- Revista Pomicultura, Viticultura şi Vinificația, nr. 4  2014.
- Revista Pomicultura, Viticultura şi Vinificația, nr. 1-2 [73-74] 2018.