Went to the winery as part of a cruise ship tour, although there were only about eight of us on the tour. The winery was very busy with a number of tours going on and the shop being extremely crowded. The winery, which is the largest in the Crimea area, has a long history being funded by Tsar Nicholas II. Interestingly given environment and tastes, they produce mainly sweet or desert type wines, but have something like 70 varietals. The winery is Massandra and is about 20 mins outside town. We were taken on a guided tour of the facility in Russian translated to English. The tour was pretty standard with barrels, bottles, and tanks. The tour itself did not reveal much info, but if you ask many questions (as we did) you can get much more detail. We then were able to do a tasting of nine different wines. The first was one of their few dry wines which they claimed to be a Cabernet but if it was, it was the lightest cab I have ever had. The next eight wines were all various types of sweet wines. The first couple had high alcohol and low sugar and were very forgettable, a sentiment shared by all tasters in our group. Then came some more familiar names with a Maderia, a Port, and a sweet wine from Pinot Gris…all of these were again OK but still not much real flavor except for the Pinot. Then a Hungarian style Tokai which was very good. All leading up to the wineries signature wine which is Moscato at 13% alcohol and 23% sugar, for which they have won a number of gold and silver medals. Only real down note, was when leaving and trying to buy a bottle in the winery store, we were very clearly being ignored in deference to Russian/Ukraine folks even those who had arrived long after us...was finally able to get a bottle but took some perseverance. Overall, for folks interested in wines, this winery provides a real perspective on this Crimean region although the wines themselves were not generally worth going out of the way for. If you do want to purchase wine there, it is extremely cheap with even the most expensive varieties going for not much more than around $12 per bottle.
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