Charles W. Borden
By the first snowfall in November, Muscovites are already slowing down for the coming New Year holiday, and by December 10 a business call is likely to be greeted with, “What are you calling me for! It’s Christmas!” Office staff are much too busy wrapping up gifts for their clients, to be able to talk about business. Wine is high on the list of corporate presents, and wine also figures prominently at company parties. So, what is the best wine to buy for clients? And what is the best wine to buy for parties?
Fortunately, the wine shelves at Moscow’s shops are filling up again, now at maybe 30% of their pre-wine-crisis level. We checked some of Moscow’s better shops to see what we could find for the New Year. Sadly, the July wine fiasco caused many importers, distributors and wine shops to disappear. The Kolletktion Vin shops still display a “Soon to Open” sign. But three of the best importers, each with their own retail shops, have survived: the Grand Cru shops from Simple Wines, the Magnum and Decanter shops of DP Trade, and the Kauffman shops run by Whitehall owner Mark Kaufman. You can order by e-mail or via the website from another good supplier, Palais Royal, and also from Chateau Le Grand Vostock, the Russian winery, which has French equipment and a resident French winemaker.
Decanter, Magnum, Vinum
Dmitry Pinsky’s DP Trade has several shops in Moscow under different names: Magnum, Decanter, Vinum. DP Trade works with Australian Grant Dodd to bring some great Australian wines to Moscow, with an emphasis on the Shiraz grape. Grant’s Kalleske Clarry’s Barossa White (910r) and Clarry’s Barossa Red (1060r) top our list in price. Grant comments that the white is a Semillon/Chenin Blanc blend, all from old vine estate fruit (up to 70 years old), is dry and fresh, more on the citrus fruit spectrum than stone fruits, and made to be drunk young. The Clarry’s Red is a Grenache/Shiraz blend, aged in old oak, again with a lot of old vine material. The Kalleske family have been growers on this block for over 100 years and have supplied a lot of fruit for previous vintages of the legendary Grange. The Clarry’s Red is well structured, spicy and fruit driven.
DP Trade also imports Chilean wines from Montes. The basics include Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (460r) and Merlot (510r). The Montes Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorites in Moscow, very fruity and crisp. Try the Montes Leyda Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (710r) for special occasions. DP Trade offered us a 7% discount on our party order of 5 cases of red and five of white.
Don’t forget that wine glasses make great Christmas gifts for wine lovers; DP Trade carries the Riedel brand.
Kauffman carries the Oxford Landing line of wines from Australia, which include Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (404r) and Cabernet/ Shiraz 2001(421r), and Sileni New Zealand wines – including Chardonnay (457r) and Pinot Noir (457r). Both lines come with screw caps, easy to open, and don’t believe the criticism of traditionalists and cork producers – for wines meant to be consumed young a cork makes no contribution to quality. Prices shown on the Kauffman (Whitehall) website are slightly less than shop prices.
The Grand Cru shops are owned by importer Simple Wines. Simple Wines imports wines from Grand Carlou of South Africa; the 2004 Chardonnay was a Wine Spectator Top 100 wine of that year. Grand Carlou has a Tortoise Hill Red 2006 (780r) and Tortoise Hill White 2006 (700r) that make a good party pair. The Grand Carlou Syrah and Chardonnay are more expensive, and good selections for gift wines. Other wines suggested at the Grand Cru shop were the Sicilian Tasca D’Almerita Regaleali 2005 (700r) and Tasca D’Almerita Regaleali Nero d’Avola 2004 (800r). Grand Cru offered us a 15% discount on a party order of 5 cases of red and 5 of white.
Chateau le Grand Vostock
The Cuvee Karsov White (365r) and Cuvee Karsov Red (380r) are very good and served at some of Moscow’s best restaurants. I am also satisfied with their basic table wine, Terres du Sud Red (178r) or Terres du Sud White (178r). These wines can be ordered direct from the website (in English) and they deliver. Make sure you get wines that are vintage 2004 or later. Ask for a Passport magazine discount.
Palais Royal distributes the South African wines from the winery of Moscow businessman Preston Haskell, Haskell Vineyards. The Haskell Dombeya Chardonnay 2004 and Dombeya Amalgam 2003 will be available again by the beginning of December. The Haskell wines have scored well in two of the previous Passport wine tastings.
Palais Royal is offering a special price to Passport readers of 25 euro per bottle.
DP Trade Shops
Decanter, Bol. Polyanka 30, Tel: 238-3808
Magnum, Kutuzovsky Prospekt 24, Tel: 937-6515
Magnum, Ul. Plyuschkina 20, Tel: 775 0674
Vinum, Prechistenka 40/2, Tel: 775-2305
Kutuzovsky Prospekt 22, Tel: 243-2238
Ul. Kuznetsky Most 3, Tel: 624-0464
Ul. Ostojhenka 27, Tel: 291-3671
Grand Cru Shops
Novinsky Passage, Novinsky Bulvar 31. Tel:. 775-5553
Palais Royal, 2nd Horoshovsky 7A Tel./fax: 940-2496/223-0757
Chateau le Grand Vostock
Gogolevsky blvd., 10, bld. 4,
|Producer and Wine
|Kalleske Clarry’s Barossa White 2005
|Kalleske Clarry’s Barossa Red 2004
|Sileni Chardonnay 2005
|Sileni Pinot Noir 2005
|Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill White 2006
|Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill Red 2006
|Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2005
|Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2003
|Oxford Landing Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2001
|Tasca D’Almerita Regaleali Bianco 2005
|Tasca D’Almerita Regaleali Nero d’Avola 2004
|Haskell Vineyards Chardonnay 2005
|Haskell Vineyards Dombeya 2003
|Chateau Le Grand Vostock Cuvee Karsov White 2004
|Chateau Le Grand Vostock Cuvee Karsov Red 2004