The wines of Villa Victoria
Part 4, Visiting Russia's Vineyards on the Black Sea Coast

The view from the top of the property

This is a new venture, in the foothills of the main Caucasian mountain range, on gently inclined limestone-rich slopes. The vineyards were planted 2 years ago, and consist mainly of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There are plans to plant some Gruner Veltliner at the top of the property. It’s a cool spot (in temperature terms), with very interesting soils and the potential to make quite serious wines.

The sea is near on three sides, and we are just 15 km from the seaside resort town of Anapa. The property is 80 hectares in all, and so far 36 have been planted. The first crop was five tons of Sauvignon Blanc in 2011, from two year old vines. 

There are two ranges of wines currently made. The first is Bell Tree, which at the moment is made from brought-in grapes purchased from neighbouring vineyards. Then there is the first label, Villa Victoria, which will be launched when the first grapes from the estate vineyard are available. 

John Worontschak (consultant winemaker) and owner Sergei Janov

Villa Victoria is owned by Sergei Janov, general director of Myskhako vineyard, and Victoria is his wife’s name.


Bell Tree Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Distinctive stuff with a  slightly reductive nose and a subtle herbal edge to the fresh fruit. There are some mineral notes here and it shows good freshness. The core of the wine is sound but the reductive notes are a little problematic. 85/100

Bell Tree Pinot Noir 2009
From four year old vines. 70% of the blend spends one year in French oak. Very attractive cherry and plum flavours with subtle green notes. Very supple. It really tastes like Pinot Noir, in an elegant style that reminds me a bit of Pinot from Marlborough in New Zealand. 88/100

Bell Tree Pinot Gris 2010
Made from Myskako grapes, which come from a warmer site. 14% alcohol. Deep yellow colour with a hint of pink. Green herbal edge to the nose. Fruity, rounded and fresh. This has a bit of grip and some herbal notes. 83/100

Bell Tree Chardonnay 2010
Lots of character here. Fruity and rounded with some nuttiness, and bright pear, apple and white peach fruit. Ripe fruit characters to the fore. Stylish and not at all oaky. 88/100

See a short film of the visit:

Part 1, introduction
Part 2, Château 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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