RUSSIAN SPARKLING WINE
By Will Lyons
In May I wrote about an unusual food pairing between Parmesan cheese and a sparkling Russian wine that I tasted at the London International Wine Fair.
The wine in question was from one of Russia’s oldest wineries, Abrau Durso, which was established in 1870.
To taste, it was hugely concentrated with a nose dominated of cherry stones. Abrau Durso were trialing the wine in London to gauge whether there was an appetite for a Russian sparkling wine.
Given the reaction at the Fair, I would suggest there probably is.
I was reminded of this unusual tasting this week when I came across an Aligote from the Fanagoria Estate Winery in Russia. It is imported by Laithwaites Wine and is available on their website for £7.99 a bottle.
Aligote is mainly found in Burgundy, in particular the village of Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise, where it is made by among others Aubert de Villaine, the man responsible for Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.
It is a crisp, white wine ideal for aperitifs or, as they do in Burgundy, mixing with blackcurrant liqueur to make Kir.
The Russian example was altogether too serious to mix with blackcurrant liqueur. In the glass it sat with a pale greenish colour before unleashing a fresh, zippy punch.
Someone once said that wine writers are a little like oil exploration companies – we are always searching for new regions to write about. I haven’t visited Fanagoria yet, which is located in the western part of the Taman Peninsula between the Black and Azov Seas, but I hope to very soon.
In the meantime I will satisfy my curiosity by drinking their Aligote.