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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Party Wine
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! Its 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 Moscows shops are filling up again, now at maybe 30% of their pre-wine-crisis level. We checked some of Moscows 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 Pinskys 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. Grants Kalleske Clarrys Barossa White (910r) and Clarrys 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 Clarrys 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.

Dont 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 dont 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.


Grand Cru

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 DAlmerita Regaleali 2005 (700r) and Tasca DAlmerita Regaleali Nero dAvola 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 Moscows 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

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

Kauffman Shops

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

Palais Royal, 2nd Horoshovsky 7A Tel./fax: 940-2496/223-0757

Chateau le Grand Vostock

Gogolevsky blvd., 10, bld. 4,
Tel/fax: 783-7463

Producer and Wine Country Shop  Roubles USD
Kalleske Clarrys Barossa White 2005 Australia Decanter/Vinum 910 $33.96
Kalleske Clarrys Barossa Red 2004  Australia Decanter/Vinum 1 060 $39.55
Sileni Chardonnay 2005 New Zealand Kauffman 457 $17.05
Sileni Pinot Noir 2005 New Zealand Kauffman 457 $17.05
Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill White 2006 South Africa Grand Cru 700  $26.12
Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill Red 2006 South Africa Grand Cru 780 $29.10
Montes Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Chile Decanter/Vinum 460 $17.16
Montes Merlot Chile Decanter/Vinum 510 $19.03
Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2003 Australia Kauffman 404 $15.07
Oxford Landing Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2001 Australia Kauffman 421 $15.70
Tasca DAlmerita Regaleali Bianco 2005 Sicily Grand Cru 700 $26.12
Tasca DAlmerita Regaleali Nero dAvola 2004 Sicily Grand Cru 800 $29.85
Haskell Vineyards Chardonnay 2005 South Africa 875 $32.90
Haskell Vineyards Dombeya 2003 South Africa 875 $32.90
Chateau Le Grand Vostock Cuvee Karsov White 2004 Russia 365 $13.62
Chateau Le Grand Vostock Cuvee Karsov Red 2004 Russia 380 $14.18

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