Chteau Le Grand Vostock
Part 2, Visiting Russia's Vineyards on the Black Sea Coast


The winery

This is a relatively new (since 2003), impressive high-end project based in Sadoviy, headed up by French winemaker Frank Duseigneur. The substantial vineyard holdings are spread across three neighbouring villages. 

Frank Duseigneur

Sauvignon Blanc harvest

In all, there are 145 hectares of old vines and 112 hectares of young vines, but not all are in production. This is because the vineyards are in a state of flux, as Frank is in the process of reorganizing them. His aim is to uproot the less good of the old vineyards which are planted in the richest soils, and replace them with more modern vineyards, closer spaced, on better soils.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Winter freezing is a problem here. Every few years the winter is so cold that some vines die. 2006 and 2010 were bad freezing winters. In 2006 the frost killed so many vines that 160 hectares were uprooted these were the old, weak, virused plots, but the best plots survived.  

We visited a few new vineyards, with modern vertical shoot positioned canopies, and relatively close row spacing, as well as some older vineyards with much wider row spacing and rather straggly looking vines trained on a single wire.


The winery is still under construction in places, although the functional bits are finished. It was designed by the French architect Philippe Mazires, and looks pretty functional, with lots of nice stainless steel and modern equipment. 

Frank Duseigneur has been involved since the beginning, in 2003, but recently money has become tight and so building work continues as wine is sold and cash comes in. The initial idea had been to build a restaurant and hotel, but current plans, from the restart of the project in 2006, are less ambitious. While we were visiting, we also got the chance to meet the owner, Sergei Zheltov, who is normally based in Moscow.  

Older vineyards

The winery has a capacity of 12 000 hectolitres, and is large enough to process the grapes from about 250 hectares. It has 35 300 hectolitre tanks, and 560 barrels. Current production level is 750 000 bottles; plans are to increase this to 1.5 million bottles. Current average retail price is 180 Roubles, which is high by Russian standards.

Inside the winery

Le Chene Royal

I was really impressed by these wines. Theyre impressive, made in quite a modern style, but showing good balance. The top reds are quite serious indeed. The Krasnostop variety seems pretty interesting, and contributes real character to the blends.


Chteau Le Grand Vostock Selection white 2009
Aligot and Pinot Blanc. Lovely precise citrus fruit here with good acidity. Fresh with a hint of creaminess. 87/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Cuve Karsov white 2009
Sauvignon Blanc. Nicely taut and crisp, this is quite Loire-like with some grassiness and nice density of fruit. Good acidity. This is really sophisticated. 89/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Cuve Karsov red 2009
80 000 bottles made. A blend of Merlot and local variety Krasnostop. Nice density: ripe, fresh, spicy with lovely intensity and grip. Modern style, but it still has personality. Good concentration with ripe fruit and nice structure. Grippy and dense. 91/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Le Chne Royal red 2007
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Krasnostop. 30 000 bottle production normally, but this year was double that. Rich, bold, sweet, intense blackcurrant fruit. Ripe and sophisticated. Dense with nice structure and some minerality. Polished yet structured, with lots of blackcurrant fruit character. 93/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Le Chne Royal white 2008
Chardonnay. Toasty, complex, nutty and bright with some oak spice and cinnamon notes as well as apple and pear fruit. Complex but quite oaky. 87/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Selection Galobok 2009
This is made from a hybrid variety, Galobok, which is more frost resistant. Amazingly vivid, bright fruits with notes of smoke, meat and bacon. Powerful, meaty and spicy, with real personality. Distinctive. 88/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Selection Cabernet/Saperavi 2009
Vibrant and fresh with bright cherry, plum and blackberry fruit. Nice presence and some tannic grip. Lovely bright fruit. An impressive fruit-driven style. 89/100

Chteau Le Grand Vostock Fagotine 2008
Sauvignon Blanc with 60 g/litre sugar. Rich, bold and sweet textured with notes of pear, spice and nuts. Spicy with good texture. 86/100  

See a short film of this visit:

Part 1, introduction
Part 2, Chteau le Grand Vostock
Part 3, Fanagoria
Part 4, Villa Victoria
Part 5, Myskhako
Part 6, Abrau Durso
Part 7, other wines tasted  

Wines tasted 09/11
Published 10/11  

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