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Massandra

Famous state winery of the Ukraine on the outskirts of Yalta on the south coast of the Crimea, It now covers around 2,500 hectares of vineyards with several satellite companies. Count Mikhail had near the village of Massandra Vorontsov (1782-1856) build the Alupka Castle and have vineyards planted for which he added new grape varieties for the Crimea, among others Aligoté. Cabernet Sauvignon. Pedro Ximenez and Sémillon Imported. Prince Lev Golizyn owned the winery nearby Nowyj Swet (New World) where he produced sparkling wines and the fame of the Crimean champagne founded. Inspired by Worinzow, the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) commissioned Prince Golyzin in the 1890s to build the "most beautiful winery in the world" near the village of Massandra and to develop the south coast for the production of sweet wines, The sole purpose of this was to supply the Tsar summer residence Livadia with wine.

Massandra Palace - front and back

Georgian miners drove deep cellars into the rocks; There are seven tunnels on three levels with ideal storage conditions (13 to 14 ° C and 90 to 95% humidity ). The first wines were produced by Count Woronzow and Prince Golizyn in 1897, initially using the one that was already famous at the time Château d'Yquem tried to copy, and later Madeira. port wine. sherry and Tokaj, climate and ground were particularly suitable for the grape varieties of the great role models, but the wines developed an independent character. In 1898, under Prince Golitsyn, Alexander Yegorow was appointed responsible for Massandra. He survived the Russian Revolution of 1917 and, in spite of his pre-revolutionary past, became head of the winery in 1936. His grandson Yuri Yegorow (after his father Dimitri, who was executed by the NKDW in 1937) is now the third generation to head the winery.

In 1922, the wine stocks of all the Tsar's palaces from Moscow, St. Petersburg and Livadia were brought to Massandra on Stalin's orders and remained locked up there. Production was resumed with the strict quality control that was used during the tsarist era, so that there was only a short gap in inventories in the 1920s. The German invasion of the Crimea began in November 1941. But as early as September, Yegorow had the cellar contents evacuated to three different locations. When the famous Yalta conference took place there in February 1945, the wine was already in the old square. Today, the winery traditionally continues to produce a large part (but not exclusively) of sweet wines from different varieties Muscatel varieties and Saperavi produced, some of which are also fueled.

The ideal climatic conditions produce grapes with extremely high sugar content, The barrels are made of oak from the surrounding forests. The vinification methods are very similar to those of Madeira, port wine and sherry. Under the ideal storage conditions, wines are created that can be over a hundred years old and far older. The "Massandra Collection" founded by Prince Golizyn will be continued. Every year around 10,000 bottles are added, some of which only reach the market after decades. In 1990 it took place at Sotheby's in London one auction, where wines (in edible condition) were auctioned back to 1880. Special wine dealers still offer wines dating back to the early 20th century. At Sotheby's, a 1775 vintage sherry was auctioned for $ 43,000 in 2001. It is a port wine-style wine appreciated by Tsar Nicholas II Kagor that was served on special occasions.

Left picture - Palace front view: By A. Savin - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Right picture - Palace back: GPL , Link

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