“Wine of the Tsar’s”
A fascinating country, inhabitant by Slavs since ancient times, was the cradle of Kievan Rus where Russian statehood was born at the end of the ninth century. Today it has a population of 52 million people and area of 225,000, approximately the same size of France.
Few are aware that it produces wine, but it in fact has long history dating back to the Greeks and today has over 150,000 ha’s under vine. Yet in this vast expanse it was the Crimea region, which was spotlighted when in 1990, some dessert wines from the Massandra winery surfaced at auction. In fact to date it still remains the only area of any consequence and is controlled, at least for the present, by the Massandra co-operative.
The Massandra winery once owned by the Royal family was built in the 1890’s. The quality of the wines made is exceptional, consisting almost entirely of white and fortified wines. Wines reserved for the Tsar were bottled in special “Imperial” shaped bottles. A number still exist in the Massandra ‘Library’ collection and a few are even available for commercial sale.