There are four main producing regions Krasnodar. Rostov, Stavropol and Daghestan and I was lucky enough in November to visit two of them Krasnodar and Rostov. Krasnodar is on the Black Sea and Sea of Asov whilst Rostov lies on both banks of the River Don. Russia as a country drinks a great deal of sparkling wine and during the visit I saw all their methods- Bottle Fermented, Charmat (Cuve Close) and the Continuous Method which produces sparkling wine in just 14 days and really not bad!!
The wineries visited produce entry level wines, mid priced and quality wines and it is this area that each winery is keen to expand and to build its reputation for quality.
Situated on the right bank of the River Don the winery concentrates on indigenous varieties, vines that produce really exciting flavours. The right bank of the Don was inhabited by Orthodox Christians so even when there was a split between Muslim and Christian this region continued to make wine. The 1960’s saw a government programme to revive the Cossacks varieties and this continues today. Out of the 200 hectares at least 34 are planted with indigenous vines. The winters are extremely cold so 70% of the vines are covered with earth from early November until the end of March
The 2012 wines were tasted from cask & vat
Sibir’Koviy 2011 90 2012-14 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012
The summer garden fragrances on the nose are refreshed by the hints of lime and lemon. Sweeter fruits white peach and nectarine fill out the mid palate with the mineral and citrus mix crisping up the finish.
Sibir’Koviy 2011 – Oak aged 90 2012-14 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012 There is a spice to the fruit mix on the nose just a hint of absinthe. Peach and nectarine enrich the mid palate layers of flavour giving complexity but towards the back citrus and mineral refresh lifting the flavours on the finish. Tasted at the Winery November 2012 90 2012-15
The fruit on the nose is fragrant floral backed by the spice of oak with just a hint of absinthe. White peach and nectarines give a little more weight and depth on the palate the sweeter fruit underpinned fresh fruits and minerals lots of complex flavours.
Sibir’Koviy 2011 – No oak 92 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has lots of different aromas hedgerow flowers, grasses, fennel and absinthe. The citrus mix on the start of the palate gives a racy freshness with the middle feeling richer tangerines in evidence. The finish is racy fresh fruit with a lovely mix of minerals.
Sibir’Koviy 2012 – No oak 93 2013-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
This younger vintage resembles the 2011 with its floral aromatic nose its mix of herbs its spring meadow grass character. The citric freshness is underpinned by richer fruits tangerines and nectarines but it is the lime and mineral that comes through at the back that gives it an attractive zesty finish.
Rkatziteli 2009 90 2012-15 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
There lots of fragrances on the nose white flowers and mimosa. Grapefruit and a touch of lime refresh both nose and the start of the palate with the mid palate given a little more weight by some yellow plum. The finish is long fresh mineral driven.
Rkatziteli 2011 91 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
White flowers and mimosa are there on the nose lovely and fragrant. Although the start of the palate is quite light very fresh with lots of citrus lime and lemon the mid palate is richer with grapefruit and apple with a touch of greengage. The fresh fruits show at the back bringing out a hint of pepper.
Rkatziteli 2012 93 2013-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has a floral fragrant charm backed by citric freshness. There are richer fruits on the palate a greater depth of flavour greengage richness but is the freshness that shows on the finish citrus and minerals and they bring out hints of herbal spice on the finish.
Gubernatorskoye Riesling 2010 90 2012-15 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012
The nose has a grassy freshness appealingly aromatic. Melon and pineapple give some sweetness and a broader feel to the palate but the apple behind refreshes the finish.
Gubernatorskoye Riesling 2011 91 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The fruit on the nose is backed by a herbal leafy character lovely and fresh. The mid palate is richer ripe pears and a touch of pineapple. The richer flavours are though underpinned by apples and limes that refresh the finish.
Gubernatorskoye Riesling 2012 92 2013-17 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The freshness on the nose the citrus mix brings out the floral nature lots of herbs and meadow grasses. The palate is fresh with crisp apple but then towards the back there are sweeter slightly richer broader flavours but the finish mirrors the nose herbal lime and lemon lovely and fresh.
Riesling 2010 – Oak aged (60%) 91 2012-15 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012
The nose is broad more pineapple driven and the palate has richness and depth. There are layers of flavour lots of complexity the richness balanced by lime and apple freshness that highlights the spice of the oak on the finish.
Aligoté 2011 90 2012-15 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
There is a lot of crunchy apple on the nose and a crisp start to the palate. There are some richer fruits in the middle just a hint of greengage but the overall feel is of racy crispness.
Aligoté 2012 91 2013-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has some lovely fresh fruit but behind there is a little more weight some richer flavours. The palate is typical of the grape apple fresh with lime and lemon underneath all giving a racy length to the finish.
Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 2009 91 2012-16 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012
The aromas on the nose are quite light the black fruit backed by peppery spices. The mid palate has a good weight of flavour some nice sweet fruit black cherry and prunes all spiced up by cloves and black pepper. The finish has a leathery tobacco quality.
Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 2010 91 2012-16 Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012 The nose is intense rich full of black fruits all spiced up by cloves and black pepper. Prunes and blueberry pack out the mid palate the ripeness of the fruit giving a fleshy richness. It is slightly lighter towards the back with a leafy leathery tobacco character. Tasted at the Winery November 2012 92 2012-17
The nose has the intensity of black cherry and prunes and although the tannins feel ripe the mid palate rich there is an underlying red berried freshness. Both back palate and finish have a leafy leathery spice character an exciting mix of flavours.
Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 2011 92 2013-18 Aged in new oak Tasted at the Winery November 2012
There are a lot of concentrated powerful flavours on the nose prunes and black cherries deep and brooding. Black fruits enrich the palate yet underneath there are red fruits some red cherry slightly lighter and fresher. The flavours are complex with spices cloves and cedar wood.
Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 2012 93 From cask Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Although the nose has a lot of rich fruit black cherry and prunes there is freshness at the back bilberry and elderberry and this brings out the aromatic spiciness. The mid palate is packed with rich fruit depth of flavour with towards the back some lighter fresher fruits that bring out the black pepper and the mix of cloves and spices all giving a lovely aromatic finish.
Krasnostop Zolotovskiy 2005 87 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
At this time there was little or no temperature control and the nose shows this rather hot and slightly volatile. The palate has a mix of flavours some sweet black fruits backed by fresher bilberry and bramble. The tannins are quite obvious and are tending to dry the finish.
Krasnostop Zolotovskiy 2010 93 2012-18 50 % new oak 50% stainless steel Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012 Although the nose is rich and black fruited there is an overriding summer herbaceous floral quality. Black plum richness is refreshed by bilberry and bramble layers of flavour. The tannins are well handled firm but not aggressive and there is an attractive spiciness on the long finish. This fascinating grape has lots of character. Tasted at the Winery November 2012 94 2012-20
The nose has a floral slight herbal mix with under this rich black fruits. The palate is sweet fruited with cassis and black plum further enriched by bitter orange chocolate. The tannins although they give structure are ripe there is a feeling of balance. Towards the back there are some fresher fruits that bring out hints of spice on the finish.
Krasnostop Zolotovskiy 2010 94 2012-18 No oak Tasted at the Winery November 2012
There is freshness yet sweetness with the vibrancy of bilberry yet the richness of black plum. The palate is deep rich lots of black fruits, a hint of liquorice and dark chocolate. The suppleness on the mid palate is helped by rounded well handled tannins. The back palate and finish have freshness of flavour and green pepper spiciness.
Krasnostop Zolotovskiy 2011 93 2014-22 New oak 100% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
There is a lot of fruit filling out the nose with the black fruits tending to dominate. The mid palate is slightly lighter and fresher bilberry and bramble with hints of red cherry. The palate fills out towards the back with rich black plum, black cherry, chocolate, roasted coffee beans. The finish is long with a complex mix of fleshy fruits yet with some new oak and green pepper spice.
Krasnostop Zolotovskiy 2012 95 From cask – New oak 100% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has a fragrant black fruited charm with behind the fragrance there is lots of rich fruit all very black fruited in character. The palate is deep rich the fruit underpinned by dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. Ripe tannins help the supple fleshiness. There is balancing freshness a mix of bilberry, bramble and red cherry but the finish has all the power of the mid palate.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 91 2012-18 Cabernet Sauvignon 60% Merlot 40% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Although the nose is quite fresh there is sweeter cassis and black plum at the back. The palate has a mix of flavours rich cassis and fleshy black plum backed by the freshness of bilberry and bramble. The fruit at the back feels ripe giving depth on the finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 93 From tank – no oak Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Under the herbal mint on the nose there is a lovely complex mix of black fruits. The fruit on the mid palate is sweet ripe with damson and cassis firmed up by black cherry all underpinned by bilberry and red cherry. The finish has an attractive complexity the fruits backed by mint and herbal spices.
Pravoberezhnoye 2011 93 2013-18 Cabernet Sauvignon 50% Krasnostop Zolotovskiy !5% Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 35% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is spicy slightly herbal with a mix of cassis, bilberry and raspberry. The palate starts rich and sweet fruited rich chocolate very black fruit in character but towards the back the red fruits become more obvious and the finish has a lovely herbal aromatic spiciness.
Gubernatorskoye 2011 89 2012-17 Golubok 50% Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 25% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is minty with prunes and bramble jelly upfront and spicy. The palate has a good weight of flavour cassis, prunes black cherry with the ripeness of the tannins giving a fleshy suppleness a mid richness. The back palate is smoky herbal spicy with fair length but just lacking a little balance.
Sweet White Wines
Hungarian Muscat 2009 88 2012-20 Made by the mutage method Tasted at the Winery November 2012 The nose is very spicy with lots of dried fruits. Rich yellow peach and apricot flesh out the mid palate and although there is a hint of freshness the back palate and finish are very sweet. A perfumed aromatic spiciness shows on the finish.
Kuban-Vino / Château Tamagne
This is a big operation founded in 1956 with two wineries close to the Black Sea and Sea of Asov. There are 6,500 hectares planted of which 6,000 are owned and 500 rented. Sparkling wines is important with big volumes produced and one plant producing must that is transferred to the second one and made into sparkling wine by traditional and tank methods. The vines planted range from indigenous to more international varieties. A range of still wines is produced aimed at the higher end of the market.
Mer Noir Blanc 2011 90 2012-14 Sauvignon Blanc Muscat Tasted at the London Wine Trade Fair May 2012
There is a lime and lemon fresh mineral quality about both nose and palate. Slightly richer grapefruit shows on the mid palate but it is the citrus and apple that comes through towards the back crisping up the finish.
Traminer 2010 89 2012-15 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Dried apricots give richness on the nose and depth on the palate. There are a mix of flavours apricots and fresher tangerines all backed by aromatic spice. The finish is full quite rich and sweet fruited.
Traminer 2011 91 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is spicy perfumed with lots of dried fruit and the spiciness and dried fruits are very much in evidence on the palate. There is mid freshness a lighter feel but towards the back it is slightly sweeter richer although the finish has freshness that brings out the perfumed spices.
Riesling 2011 88 2013-16 Fermented in oak Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Oak spice is very obvious on the nose rather hiding and overpowering the fruit. The palate has freshness some leafy herbal flavours hints of lime and tropical fruits. It is richer towards the back with the flavours lingering on the finish
Riesling 2012 89 2013-16 Tasted from tank Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has lots of tropical fruits all quite sweet and ripe. The palate has a good mix of flavours tropical fruits and lychees with towards the back a citric freshness that brings out the aromatic spiciness.
Reserve Chardonnay 2010 88 2012-15 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is fresh very lime driven but the palate is richer sweeter with pear and white peach. The richness of the mid palate gives way to apple and citrus towards the back that gives a lighter fresher feel.
Chardonnay 2011 90 2013-16 Fermented in American oak Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The freshness of crisp apple is backed by richer fruit melon and tropical fruit. Behind all of the richness there is some lime and lemon that refreshes and gives a lighter crisper feel on the finish.
Muscat 2011 89 2013-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is very spicy and perfumed and the palate starts with lots of aromatic flavours. The fruit in the middle is sweeter giving a touch more weight and filling out the back palate. There is a lot happening on the finish perfumes and aromatic spices.
Château Tamagne Madera 2001 95 2012-22 Rkatzitelli 100% Tasted at the Winery November 2012
Both nose and palate are very stylish fragrant with hazel nuts and almonds. The mid palate is sweeter apricot and peach with hints of tangerine. Towards the back there is a drier feel with the nuttiness coming to the fore. The finish is long fragrant and elegant.
Young Saperavi 2012 89 2012-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The mix of black and red cherry is fresh quite spicy. The mid palate has a mix of flavours some mid sweetness but towards the back it is herbal, leafy, spicy and slightly rustic.
Kpachoctor 2011 91 2013-18 Krasnostop Anapy Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has a mix of flavours at first black fruits but then behind fresher red. The palate is rather like the nose with rich black plum and cherry intermingling with mulberry and wild strawberry. The tannins feel ripe the chocolate in the middle helping the fleshiness.
Syrah 2011 91 2013-16 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The red fruits that dominate the nose are fresh spicy peppery. The palate has more red fruits than black lovely and fresh yet towards the back there is more weight a sweeter feel that gives more depth on the finish.
Saperavi 2011 93 2013-18 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is rich with ripe fruit lots of cherry and strawberry. There is depth of fruit on the palate richness of flavour the ripeness of the fruit gives an attractive succulent richness. There is enough freshness to balance with the finish having sweet fruit power yet spice.
Tzimlyanskiy Cherniy 2011 90 2013-17 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is ripe and the palate quite fleshy. Black plum is underpinned by fresher mulberry all backed by a hint of spice. The hedgerow mix of flavours has a rustic feel with lots of interest with the flavours lasting well on the finish.
Sparkling White Wines
Château Tamagne Brut 85 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
This is their inexpensive Sparkling wines made by the Charmat (Close Tank) method. The bubbles are quite small the nose fresh and quite aromatic with slightly richer flavours in the middle and a light fresh but rather short finish.
Château Tamagne Reserve Brut NV 88 Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose has some rich flavours and these give depth on the start of the palate. There is mid freshness and a good mousse that refreshes and gives a lighter feel to the finish.
Château Tamagne Semi-Sweet NV 85 Blend of white grapes Tasted at the Winery November 2012
The nose is foxy aromatic with a touch of spice. The sweetness on the mid palate gives way to fresher flavours but towards the back it is sweet and just lacking in real lengt
Sparkling Rosé Wine
Château Tamagne Rosé Extra Brut 87