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Kuban Red Wines

Wine route

The ‘red’ route features the wineries that produce some of the best red wines in the region. They are Lefkadia, Château le Grand Vostock, Kuban Vino and Fanagoria.

Minimum duration of the ‘red’ route is 2 days. It stands to reason that there are much more wineries that make fine red wines in Krasnodar krai, so you will be able to extend you trip up to 3 or 4 days, adding new destinations to your waybill. You may either venture to visit a couple of the wineries or garagistes located on your way, or just stop to take a rest at the beautiful beaches of the Taman peninsula stretched along the coastline of the Black and Azov Seas.

The total mileage is about 300 km, if Anapa is taken as the point of departure and return.

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DAY 1

SAUK DERE

Sauk Dere Winery is probably the best place to strike up an acquaintance with viticulture and winemaking of Krymsk rayon.

The winery was founded in the middle of the 20th century, and included vineyards, the winery itself and the wine cellar that was the biggest in the USSR. The idea to build a winery at Sauk Dere was ascribed to Anastas Mikoyan, once a prominent Communist Party official and Minister for Food Industry. They say that when he saw huge tunnels of Sauk Dere (abandoned stone pits), he thought better than opening there a cannery and decided to use them as wine cellars.

The descent into the Cyclopean wine cellars produces an indelible impression. Just imagine the gigantic wine tanks of 60,000 l each sitting in the metro tunnels of the total length of 2.5 km. If you have laser pointers with you, you will be amazed by their rays penetrating the underground space. By the way, the tunnels are an excellent spot for a photo session.

It is there, in these tunnels, that the ‘Gold Collection’ of old Soviet wines and brandied is stored – about 70,000 bottles in total. You will be able to peep at that storeroom only through the small grated window – access for ‘usual’ tourists is denied. But take it easy – while it might be interesting to look at a bottle that caught the sunshine of the 1950s or 1960s, it is very likely that many of those wines died long ago. And, regretfully, we cannot advise you to taste the contemporary wines of Sauk Dere. Even the value of their early 1990s vintages seems to be in their age only, rather than in the taste or flavour. But let us hope that the situation will change soon – and Sauk Dere will attract the tourists by its wines as well, not only tunnels.

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The wine boutique located at the exit sells fine Myskhako and Villa Victoria wines at a reasonable price.

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LEFKADIA

Upon leaving the cellars of Sauk Dere, go to Lefkadia in the village of Moldovanskoe, just 10 km from Sauk Dere running along a picturesque landscape of the Kuban country.

Lefkadia Estate is a young winery built by European standards and with big ambitions. The amenities include the best laboratory complex in the region and winery designed with due regard for all latest developments. According to the author’s message, the estate’s mission is the search for life balance by matching work and leisure.

Architecturally the estate resembles Tuscany, whereas the wines are the domain of Patrick Léon, a known oenologist from Bordeaux that worked with such legendary twentieth-century winemakers as Baron Philippe de Rotschild and Robert Mondavi. It is worth noting that Lefkadia wines are already deserving of serious attention. The only weak point seems to be too high price, even if you try to buy them at the winery, – the explanation is that the release is very limited. Nonetheless, Likuria, the winery’s new extension line, promises to be less expensive – without compromising the quality.

Depending on your plans, you may spend from 2.5 to 5 hours at Lefkadia. If you had time to get hungry, you may have lunch at the company’s canteen (150+ rubles per person). The Tourist Centre offers various programs, including a tour of the winery, winemaking museum, wine and cheese tasting, and eco-tour of the company’s cheese dairy and cow farm. It is worth mentioning that Chistaya Yeda (Pure Food) is Lefkadia’s ‘umbrella brand’ that combines dairy products, vegetables, berries and crop cereals – all available on the spot.

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CHÂTEAU LE GRAND VOSTOCK

The Château le Grand Vostock, the first Russian winemaking company organized as a French château, is located in the khutor (originally, a Cossack’s farmstead) of Sadovy, Krymsk rayon.

The tasting includes classic wines and blends of classic and indigenous (Krasnostop, Golubok) varieties. You will also be able to avail yourself of the offers of the winery’s tourist centre in case of preliminary arrangement. The choice includes horse ridings across the vineyards, pilgrimage to the King’s Oak (Le Chêne Royal) – the emblem of the winery’s premium line, or a wine picnic at the lake shore.

A most important lifehack: at the company’s wine boutique, wines are sold with minimum price markup. Hence, to visit Sadovy is a must – moreover that at the boutique you may run across a seasonal discount – and then your car’s boot will appear too small to place all the wine you bought.

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CHÂTEAU LE GRAND VOSTOCK

The Château le Grand Vostock, the first Russian winemaking company organized as a French château, is located in the khutor (originally, a Cossack’s farmstead) of Sadovy, Krymsk rayon.

The tasting includes classic wines and blends of classic and indigenous (Krasnostop, Golubok) varieties. You will also be able to avail yourself of the offers of the winery’s tourist centre in case of preliminary arrangement. The choice includes horse ridings across the vineyards, pilgrimage to the King’s Oak (Le Chêne Royal) – the emblem of the winery’s premium line, or a wine picnic at the lake shore.

A most important lifehack: at the company’s wine boutique, wines are sold with minimum price markup. Hence, to visit Sadovy is a must – moreover that at the boutique you may run across a seasonal discount – and then your car’s boot will appear too small to place all the wine you bought.

OVERNIGHT STAY

If you coped with the program maximum and had time to get really tired, you may stay overnight at the Château le Grand Vostock’s hotel. Or you may choose a more expensive alternative and put up at Lefkadia Hotel (3,000+ rubles a day). Reservation by phone is required in advance for both cases.

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Another option is to go back to stay overnight in the town of Krymsk.

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DAY 2

VALLEY OF LOTUSES

If you set out as early as possible, then before calling on the wineries of Temriuk rayon you may have time to take a boat trip to the Valley of Lotuses located on Lake Akhtanizovsky. You will find the boathouse under the bridge over the Kazachi Yerik River, right after the town of Strelka. There is a good choice of boats of different sizes and colours there. During the haute season, the boatmen try to complete the voyage as fast as they can, so they will be accelerating their boats – but it’s even more fun then, isn’t it?

If you didn’t have time for breakfast, call on the café Okinawa when you arrive at the stanitsa (village) of Starotitarovskaya. The food is decent – sushi and pizza are especially good (greetings from globalization!)

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KUBAN VINO

The Kuban Vino Winery is located in the stanitsa of Starotitarovskaya, Temriuk rayon. It produces wine collections branded as Château Tamagne and Kuban Vino.

Kuban Vino is an excellent destination for the industrial tourism enthusiasts. The winery started in 1960, today is one of the biggest in the region. You will see there lots of gigantic tanks – from made in the Soviet time up to the modern ones. The barrique depot of 800 oak barrels is a separate art object – apart from being an amazing place to look at by its own, its walls are decorated with a collection of interesting photographs taken by Igor and Olga Ulko, photo artists from Anapa. It is worth adding that you will be able to admire the barrique depot for quite a while, for it is separated from the tasting hall with the glass windows only. Who knows, maybe this view would inspire you to open a château of your own, or a small wine cellar at least?

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After the tour, go to the corporate wine boutique – the prices there are lower than elsewhere (the way it should be).

Taste the Château Tamagne Reserve reds – they are probably ones of the best oaked wines in Russia. Also, look closely at the ‘Madeira’ – its aromas linger pleasantly on the palate, however it is quite expensive. It’s not every vintage that the winery chooses to make ‘Madeira’ – currently, the 2007, 1998 and collection 1991 vintages are available on sale.

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FANAGORIA ESTATE WINERY

Fanagoria. Noblesse oblige. This winemaking giant located in the town of Sennoi, produces several dozens of wine brands and disposes of vast vineyards in the Taman peninsula.

A tour of the estate includes introduction to the production of still, sparkling wines and brandies, visit to the pottery studio making a wide range of souvenirs, and (optional) to the cooperage (2.5 km from the winery in the direction of the motor-road Novorossiysk – Strait of Kerch) where tourists may watch closely all the activities connected with the manufacture of wine casks – from stave seasoning to cask toasting.

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Next to the wine boutique (52, Mira St), there is an ‘express tasting’ hall – but your acquaintance with Fanagoria is best of all to be completed at the restaurant Cabernet to sip the wines you liked best as an accompaniment to the chef’s cuisine. The wine card looks very democratic as for the Black Sea coast!

This year, the traditional premium lines Cru Lermont and Master’s Wine will be supplemented with the top wines, 100 Shades of White and 100 Shades of Red, crafted under the guidance of the company’s oenologists Yuri Uzunov and Valentina Popandopulo. These wines must be tasted – as well as a line of Fanagoria’s Ice Wines, say, from indigenous Saperavi. The latter are not cheap, but if combined with the right dessert they will reveal you new summits of taste.

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If you have some time and strength left, and if the sun is still high in the sky, set out to the beach in the town of Veselovka.

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The sandy beach and clean sea are supplemented with the atmosphere à la Goa beaches and a dry salty lake – take a picture standing on its white surface, and you will get numbers of likes in the social networks.

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Day 3 (if you choose it) may be spent taking a trip over the town of Taman and its outskirts. The Phanagoria Route is at your service then. You will visit Lermontov’s hut, Taman Archaeological Museum, Ataman Ethnic Village, endless wild spaces of the Taman peninsula, Cape Panagia and Spit Tuzla.

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You may stay overnight at somebody’s private cottage in Veselovka (a good trial this will be!), or move to Taman.

If latter, stop at Fort Apatur (but not in the economy rooms on the upper floor – the acoustics there is terrible), or Stary Gorod (Old Town).

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You may stay overnight at somebody’s private cottage in Veselovka (a good trial this will be!), or move to Taman.

If latter, stop at Fort Apatur (but not in the economy rooms on the upper floor – the acoustics there is terrible), or Stary Gorod (Old Town).

TRANSPORT

Car

Nothing can compare with the personal chauffeur indifferent to wine! The challenge is to be able to find him. Try and tempt him by an opportunity to see the picturesque scenery and delicious food – you will be sure to have a lot of it on your way.

Taxi

Quite a good variant for a company of 3 or 4. Roughly, your budget will be 7,000+ rubles if starting from Anapa.

Public transport

Alas, the bus and ‘fixed-run taxis’ (minivans plying as buses) schedule is absolutely inconvenient. Somewhere there is no through service between the objects, and you will have to use a taxi or hitchhike. If you would still choose this variant, your budget would vary  between 600 and 1,000 rubles per person.

Bike

An extreme choice. There are no marked or fitted cycle lanes between the wineries. This choice is for the well-trained and advanced bikers only – the distances are quite big.

Finally – whichever means of transport you are about to choose, remember that any trip must be fun, and – that a wine tour and haste are mutually exclusive and incompatible notions!


красное вино & винные маршруты.

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