Very cool! I’m partial to Latur. Thanks for posting.
If Rudy, Allen, and John have not tasted, rated, and auctioned these bottles, they must be unauthentic.
A fascinating article. Thank you for posting!
“Swedish Count’s Gold Mine”
Thank you for posting it.
Those bottles are marked by blood.
Well, according to the story, it was Czar Nicholas II’s wine cellar. Stalin was just the last ruler to have possession of it before he hid it from the Nazis. I guess it would have officially been next Kerensky’s and then Lenin’s. Still, since Czar Nicholas was no one’s idea of a Platonic ruler, and neither was Lenin, there was plenty of blood to go around to stain the labels. It’s a good headline, though.
Is there still another third to be found, or was this the final third?
Stalin was clearly a man of “taste”…
He had a unique grand piano made by Bosendorfer which he specified should use Steinway components which he rated higher than Bosendorfer components. This piano is unique and ended up in the hands of a Russian concert pianist (in the 2000s, he gave me a lesson in France, but not on the famous piano…he still had it in Russia) who, unfortunately was also a drunk and must have ended God knows where.
On another subject, Khadafi was alledgedly a big consumer of DRC…
Stalin certainly had preferences. Judging from his preferences in art and literature, though, I’d hesitate to call it good taste, at least.
Stalin rarely consumed alcohol, in any shape, wine included. His preference was to serve plenty of alcohol at parties and dinners and have drunk people spill their guts, one reason a number ended up in GULAG. As for his “cellar”, its a SCAM, though worthy of a Nobel Price seeing how so many believe in it. His choice of wine, when he did consume some, was Kindzmarauli or Khvanchkara, sugary cheap plonk, though a step up from the usual Portvein, usually so bad those who consumed it in Soviet Union were considered the low end of consumers unable to afford even cheap vodka. It was cheap, and nicknamed “ink”. All one needs to know about quality.
Stalin was known to dilute reds with water when drinking, or even mixing red and white wines at times. So much for his wine drinker status.
Armenians still market their brandy, Ararat, as drink of choice of Winston Churchill. They claim he bought 300 cases every year. Problem one, its crap, by most measures, I liken it to DDT on the nose its that bad. Problem two, Churchill hated communists and USSR, and would never buy from them having easy access to world standards right across the pond. Problem three, 300 CASES per year? He liked to drink, I know, but still, Armenian crap? Those in ex USSR regions are still telling each other this myth, to this day, in awe of such a great product.
As someone told me eons ago, One can sell horse piss in a bottle with proper marketing. You know, fool and his money…
Yeah, I would think as a Georgian from a poor background Stalin would have favored semi-sweet reds which are the standard Georgian wines.
When I think about Soviet Russia and wine I think about the Bolshevik soldiers looting the Winter Palace wine cellars during the October Revolution and getting roaring drunk and pouring out all the wines into the streets. Possibly the largest cellars of classic wine ever amassed, disappeared in a day.
There was a winery on the Silverado trail run by somebody from eastern europe. He only made white wines and his ad featured a picture of Lenin with a red line through it…No Red Wines!!
The Iranians tossed out a lot of good wine in 1979 as well.
Who knows why he collected this or that piano. And the wine, as was mentioned, was from earlier rulers. So it is a bit hard to claim that this butcher had taste without more evidence…
Did you take it I was saying he did? In fact he almost single-handedly ruined Soviet literature and art, which was flourishing in the early 20s until social realism became party doctrine and his own frequently stated preference. It’s a near miracle what Eisenstein and Prokofiev were able to accomplish under that regime, but the list of lost and wasted genius far outstrips those two names.
needless to say this is not any praise of Stalin, but Russian culture was not “ruined” in the sense that many artistic geniuses continued to produce throughout the 20th century, often under severely adverse conditions – Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Shostakovich, Vassily Grossman, etc. Then in the Krushchev era more.
You are right to add Shostakovich. Akhmatova and Bulgakov are examples of careers cut short or ruined and distorted by Stalin. Khruschev is more responsible for stifling Grossman, whose major work did not manage to see the light of day in Russian until 1980. Babel also wrote under Stalin, but his career was also cut short. I won’t even get started on the important literary critics of the 20s who were stifled away to nothingness by Stalin. And writing, because it happens in private and can be circulated secretly, has better resources for surviving tyranny. The affect of social realism on painting and sculpture is even more pronounced.