Posts Tagged ‘End’

Russian girl stomping grapes during Russian wine harvest.


Cheap sweet whites dominate the home market but a handful of ambitious Russian wine producers are raising the standards.
For most westerners, the whole concept of “Russian wine” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. And if you ever sip wine at a Russian party, the chances are you won’t like it much. Or at least you will find it perplexing.

That’s because four-fifths of wines sold in Russia are poor quality semi-sweet varieties, and involve the use of concentrate.

The reasons for this date back to Soviet times, when Russians’ taste for semi-sweet and sparkling wines was formed. Many Russians today consider dry wines too sour. It was Joseph Stalin, an ethnic Georgian, who did most to foster this tradition.

It may be hard to believe but, according to the International Wine Office, the Soviet Union ranked fifth in the world in terms of area under vines and seventh in terms of wine output by the end of the Fifties.
The young Soviet winemaking industry found enthusiastic support from Stalin and from Anastas Mikoyan, his Armenian minister for food production. Both Georgia and Armenia, in the fertile, Mediterranean-like climate of the South Caucasus, have a rich tradition of winemaking that predates even the ancient wine culture of Greece.

Wine was drunk in Russia only by the aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution. But all this changed under Stalin, who believed wine had to be affordable for every Soviet citizen.
Scientists managed to produce frost-resistant, high-yielding varieties of grape. But the quality suffered: wines made from such grapes were barely palatable because of their high acidity and lack of taste. To remedy this flaw, grape sugar and often ethyl alcohol were added to the wines – practices that are still widely used in the Russian wine industry to this day.

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The Apocalypse for Wine?


Unfiltered’s guide to what to eat, what to drink, and where to stay if the Mayan calendar apocalypse comes to pass. Plus, the Brunello vandal is behind bars

Tomorrow is Dec. 21, 2012, the last date of the Mayan Long Count calendar and the end of the world as we know it (or so some would have you believe—as devoted as Unfiltered is to you, dear reader, it’s unlikely we’d be spending our last moments on Earth writing this if we believed that to be true … then again, Bordeaux’s Château d’Yquem has decided not to even bother making a 2012 Sauternes). While there are those around the globe who are legitimately prepping for end times, there are probably even more who are looking to make a few bucks off the impending apocalypse, and what better ways to do that than with wine, food or renting out a cot in your wine cave to ride out the Rapture. We have a wine-pairing menu for whatever vermin might be at hand whilst society crumbles—rats, crickets, spiders, etc.—and if you find yourself barricaded inside your wine cellar tomorrow as the world burns, please feel free to disregard all Wine Spectator recommended drink windows. After all, if beer can survive the nuclear holocaust, surely your wine will be just fine.
When the aliens arrive, do NOT offer them calamari with the Cuvée Bugarach.
• A small village in the French Pyrenees has been overrun by endtimers and endtimer gawkers this month. Bugarach, population 176, has been called the Doomsday Destination and the Village at the End of the World thanks to some cultists’ belief that it is the only place on earth where it will be possible to survive the coming apocalypse.

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