"Nestled between the granite mountains of Crimea and the Black Sea is the region Catherine the Great referred to as "the most precious pearl of her crown," which over the next 100 years was turned into the magnificent resort of Russian Nobility. By the late 1800s this was as luxurious a region as existed and became the preferred summer destination for the royal families. It was then that seeds for Massandra were planted.
The earliest pioneers in winemaking set about transplanting the great European varietals in an attempt to create wines that would rival the classic and most famous chateaux and domaines. Being a sub-tropical climate these experiments were generally unsuccessful, but efforts persisted until the late 1800s when the culture of winemaking had thoroughly flourished, leading up to the founding of the Massandra facilities.
In 1891 Prince Leo Golitzin was installed as chief winemaker and it was he who decided that to reproduce the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Hungary, Germany or Spain was impossible-though the wines of these regions were indeed highly respected. He began to fashion fortified wines using some of those noble varietals, but also including more of the native grapes as well to create wines of extraordinary class and distinction. Between 1894-1897 the winery and caves were carefully carved into the granite mountains by a small army of workers. This would be the winery to provide all wines to the Tsar's summer palaces and served to dignitaries, foreign and domestic. It is an estate as grand and majestic as any you will encounter in the wine world, just a short distance off the coast and settled beneath the gorgeous mountains." Frank C Martell
World War II saw the intense fighting in the Crimea. The Germans occupied most of Crimea with the city of Sevastopol holding out for 250 days before falling in July 1942. The Russians returned in 1944 and ethnic cleansing and deportation began.
Remarkably, Massandra maintained its collection and continued the traditions set forth in those early years producing wines throughout the war years of incredible quality. Old bottles remained in the cellars which were, surprisingly, not ransacked by the Germans.
"These are wines that typically attain fantastic levels of complexity and offer a completely unique experience to casual wine drinkers and dedicated aficionados as well. To my experience thus far, they are nearly unlimited in their ability to stand the test of time and they never fail to provoke thought." Frank C Martel
We are delighted to offer a lovely selection of wines from the Massandra Collection dating from 1936 to 1955. There are a variety of styles but the wines are all fortified. Over the years I have tasted around 20 different Massandra wines of this era and every one has been interesting and very enjoyable. Several have been simply unbelievable. We have selected wines with very strong reviews and the fact that these bottles are recently released from the Massandra Winery is also a big plus. The freshness and complexity of the wines is astonishing and as Frank C Martell says "they are nearly unlimited in their ability to stand the test of time".