Wine tasting at Massandra, is a fascinating journey into a gallery with a wine cellar of vintage wines. The collection of wines of “Massandra” today has no analogues in the world. In 1988, it was listed in the Guinness Book of records not only because of the number of stored samples, but also for their uniqueness.
The history of the Massandra wine library dates back to 1894, when the construction of the largest underground plant in Russia with tunnels for aging table, strong and dessert wines began under the leadership of Prince Lev Golitsyn. Already in those early years, the European wine market was full of table wines. Lev Golitsyn understood perfectly well that the young Russian wine could not withstand this fierce competition, it was necessary to find its niche.
Golitsyn allocated two underground floors of the basement under construction for the Department of Bottle Aging. It was planned that the upper basement, equipped with barrels, will take on aging new wine, and at the end of maturation, the drink will be bottled and freight elevators will move to the lower floors, in stone niches in one of the nine galleries. The size of the niche corresponds to the average capacity of the barrel.
During a single visit to Massandra, you can see only a couple of ten galleries containing about 1 million bottles of the regular collection of all harvest years from 1775 to the present day. The oldest wine belonging to Prince Golitsyn dates back to 1775.
Excursions and tastings
For tourists in Massandra, there are several options, a tasting tour or just a tour to the cellars. Fans of dry wine are recommended to take only excursion, because Massandra is famous for fortified and dessert wines.
So, entering a small room through the entrance gate, in a couple of minutes you find yourself on the vast territory of the winery.
It tells the story of its creation and the people who led it. Surprisingly, even this encyclopaedic information is perceived very easily, especially when you learn that one of the Directors of the winery — Alexander Yegorov, who led it for more than 50 years, constantly tasted wine and could distinguish it by varieties and years, lived 95 years. Perhaps in Massandra wines and there is an elixir of longevity.
Then you go to the Royal cellars, the oldest wine is stored here is since 1892. Every 15 years, the cork is changed in bottles, because it degenerates and in this way, by the cork and drops of wine on it, winemakers understand whether the wine still “lives”.
It is no longer possible to estimate the cost of many collectible wines, they are treated as Museum exhibits, and yet they give approximate amounts so that tourists can appreciate the scale — 1 bottle of collectible wine costs 50,000 – 60,000 $.
In some of the vaults visitors are not allowed. Especially valuable specimens are only allowed to be viewed from afar.
In the cellars of Massandra wine flows like a river! During the German occupation during the great Patriotic war (1941-1945), so that the collector’s wine was not looted, it was transported by sea to Novorossiysk, but only 57 thousand bottles were delivered there, And the remaining wine was poured into the ground by order of Stalin. According to employees of the winery, 2 million liters of wine were poured into the ground. It flowed like a river into the sea and even the water in the blue Bay of Yalta was pink for several days.
Walking through the cellars of the winery is a real pleasure. First, cool and beautiful! The temperature in the basements is about 14 degrees Celsius. All visitors to the winery are given a wine cork with an engraving of the date of the plant’s Foundation as a souvenir.
Location : Crimea