New Franco-Russian project takes off
- Tuesday 12 October 2004
There are four ranges in total, all of which are blends of between two and six grape varieties. The first vintage to be released is the 2003, an outstanding one for southern Russia.
‘For the very first year nobody was expecting such an amazing result. At all our tastings the top wines were compared to the best regions like Pouilly-Fuisse, Meursault, Condrieu for the whites, the great chateaux from Medoc and St-Emilion for the reds,’ commercial director Thierry Spinelli told decanter.com.
The project started early in 2003 when a group of Russian investors chose some existing vineyards in the south of Russia, and hired a French team, including Chateau Palmer oenologists Frank Duseigneur and his wife Gael Bruellon. A winery – designed by renowned French architect Philippe Mazieres – was built in autumn 2003.
The estate vineyards are in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, 50km from the Black Sea, near Anapa. The climate is continental but made milder by the proximity of the sea.
The vineyards are planted on a limestone plateau - currently only 500ha of a total 1500ha of vineyards are in use.
The plantings are split equally between red and white varieties, made up of international and local grapes.
The reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Franc (which is now mostly grown in Moldova) and local Saperavi, Krasnostop and Golubok. The whites are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Aligote, Rkatsitely and Soukholimansky.
The winery is modelled on a typical Bordeaux chateau. All winery equipment, including stainless steel vats and oak barrels are imported from France. Bottles and corks are also shipped in from Europe.
The four ranges are: Terres du Sud, Chateau Le Grand Vostock Selection, Cuvee Karsov and La Chêne Royal. Production of La Chêne Royal, the top wine, is limited to 5,000 bottles for red wines and 4,000 for white.