Question: I am travelling to St. Petersburg on a cruise for a holiday this summer. What Russian wines to you recommend we should look for to taste while dining there?
Answer: Very topical question for me as I was just there this year too. Visited the wine cellars in the beautiful Constantine Palace in Strelna with their vast collection. Also had a wine tasting there with some tired white blends from 2012 of 50% Riesling & 50% Chardonnay, West Hill Blend limited production 2012 reds from the Black Sea coast of 50% Merlot & 50% Cabernet Sauvignon with some sweetish smokey spicy notes, and older Tokay from Hungary. The best Russian wines we found in restaurants in St. Petersburg were all from the Krasnodar southernmost region bordering the Ukraine to the west at about 45 degrees latitude. My favourite was Temelion Brut sparkling by Lefkadia a blend of chardonnay & pinot noir displaying drier refreshing citrus lemon flavours. Also served some simpler 2016 varietal Sauvignon Blanc & 2015 oaky Chardonnay. A unique almost Syrah-like red from the native vitis vinifera grape Saperavi 2015 called Fanagoria Vintage is worth investigating. Believe there are some of this variety also being grown in the Finger Lakes of New York state. This acidic grape variety native to Georgia though with thin skins produced an intense deep red colour wine with some interest. Check it out.
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