Frank Duseigneur, Flying Winemaker
Chateau le Grand Vostock is the first Russian winery producing high-quality wines in accordance with French standards of winemaking. The winery is in the Krasnodarsky region of Russia, only 50 kilometres from the Black Sea, which has a microclimate and land structure similar to Bordeaux. Frank Duseigneur is the vineyards and winery manager. A graduate of the National School of Agriculture in Bordeaux, he studied as an intern at Chateau Palmer (Margaux), and Chateau Faugeres (Saint Emilion). Glass in hand, Passport asked him for The Last Word.
Why did you decide to leave a famous French winery and come to an unknown Russian winery?
To build a 10 000 hectolitres winery, to manage a vineyard of 500 hectares and discover a region and its terroir is a wonderful opportunity.
What has been the most difficult part of your work at the vineyard?
The first challenge was to plant 35 hectares in the first month of work. We improved the vineyards using the new technique of high density plantation (the same as a French high quality vineyard) but the equipment arrived late and we worked a lot by hand.
Why did you choose to plant different types of grape Ц Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Franc, Krasnostop, Golubok and Saperavi?
We planted only French varieties Ц Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. We are using grapes of local variety from the vineyards that were planted in 1999 and before, like Saperavi and Krasnostop. We are blending them together.
The wine has been made using French techniques, but what is there specifically Russian about the wine?
Our blending uses a significant part of local varieties. The wines of Golubok, Krasnostop or Saperavi are really dark. They add to our wines spicy tones and a lot of tannins that are not so rustic once aged properly. They give to our wines a very specific taste.
Do you think that Russian wine could one day perhaps become as successful as say Californian wine?
If you remember the wines that were produced in California before the revolution of the 80Тs, and the wines that are produced today, I hope the same success story will happen here. The Krasnodar region has a huge potential but there is a lot to be done.
Who is buying the wine?
Our wine is bought by wine lovers, and there are more and more of them in Russia.
Russians are buying a lot of French wine, particularly Bordeaux, do you think that the French will buy Russian wine?
French people are more and more curious about foreign wines, and to discover new varieties is always interesting. For now, they are unaware of Russian wines, but I hope that they will soon know oursТ.