You may not realise just how established the wine industry is in Ukraine. It is actually a very ancient industry that has strong roots in culture and tradition. The Ukraine also exports wines, mainly to its neighbouring countries, the wide European Union and the USA.
History of Ukrainian Wines
It is believed that the wine-making culture in the Ukraine started around 400BC on the Crimean coast. This has been proven by archaeological discoveries, including amphorae and presses that were dated to around this period. Monks started to produce wine in the northern parts of the country, mainly around Chernihiv and Kiev in the 11th century.
Catherine II made Crimea part of the Russian Empire in 1783. In this period, the very first wine gardens were planted some 40 years later, which was the start of the Yalta winery. In 1828, the Magarach viticulture research institute was founded.
The Ukraine is famous for its sparkling wine, which is thanks to Prince Lev Golitsyn, who started to produce it after the Crimean War. The state winery of Massandra was founded under Tsar Nicholas II.
At the time of the Iron Curtain, the Ukraine was the biggest supplier of wine to the USSR. However, in 1986, a great disaster struck when Gorbached started an offensive against the consumption of alcohol in the USSR. Since then, the wine industry has gone from strength to strength.
The Ukrainian Wine-Growing Areas
There are various regions in the Ukraine where grapes are being grown. The main areas at present are Bessarabia, Crimea (Balaklava), Kherson, Carpathian Ruthenia, Odessa Oblasts and Dnipropetrovsk.
Varieties of Ukrainian Wines
There are many varietals of wine in the Ukraine. They include Aligote, Isabella, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminer, Feteasca, Chardonney, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Rkatsitelli. The Alligote is known as the original wine. It has a very distinctive taste with hints of jasmine. The Riesling has a particularly fresh taste that makes it very popular. The Pinots (both gris and blanc) are exactly what you would expect from a wine of their kind. The Chardonnay has a light, golden shade and beautiful flavour.
In term of red wines, the best one has to be the Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a really full body and even has hints of various other fruits, including black currents, in its taste. Other popular types include the merlot and the pinot noir. There are various other read wines available, each even nicer than the other.
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