The Odessa Journal sat down with Chef Sommelier of the Santim wine cellar, David Gribov, who told us about organic and biodynamic wines, about Odessa region wineries and also about trendy mead and cider.
David Gribov fell in love with wine and his deep affection for the country’s cuisine and culture has never waned.
What is the Local wine collection in the Santim Wine Cellar?
In my opinion, it is still not big enough. Since the process of interest in local wine has arisen not so long ago. Moreover, not every manufacturer wants to be on the shelf. And besides, we will not take everyone, because we choose only the highest quality wines. In the near future, our line will expand to one more Kyiv wine producer. Despite the fact that most of the Ukrainian vineyards are located in the Odessa region, this wine will be precisely from the grapes of the Kyiv region, at least from most of it.
Biologist Kyiv products are very good winemakers. The most natural approach to production, and they focus on this. Hence the name Biologist. Biological wine, as close as possible to natural in production.
The interest in biological wine is now all over the world, and not only in our country. People are a little tired of the industrial approach to production. Therefore, there is a growing interest in everything natural, not only in wine, but also in food products, household chemicals, etc. And the situation is much deeper than just a marketing ploy. An old Indian proverb that I love very much says:
We do not buy land, but rent it from our children
We must think about all the next generations. The same applies to the production of wine. When you use a lot of fertilizers, chemical products, the earth certainly absorbs all of this. In the end, a person understands this and requires something more unique and natural. The Ukrainians support this. In addition, laws have already been adopted that regulate “organic matter” and certifying bodies appear, which also provide legislative support.
Do you have Ukrainian biological wine in your collection or are you planning to do so in the near future?
Sure. And here is the Biologist brand confirmation. Every product that I bring to the assortment, I am proud of it.
Each product will be explained here. After all, the main idea of Santim is that it is not just a supermarket. The difference between Santim was, is and will be that every guest here can communicate with the staff. Each department will answer all your questions, and not only in our wine cellar. That is why we stand out!
Therefore, in our selection of wines, about which we can tell a lot and interesting. Good product here is the goal of our collection. After all, for example, there is a huge number of Prosecco on the market, but here you will find only a few of them that have proven themselves well, with an ideal ratio of price and quality.
Sometimes a wine can be judged not by the grape variety from which it is produced, but by the country. What are the features of Ukrainian wine?
I would say that we are in search of this person, identification. After all, there are already our grape varieties and, for example, this year the popularisation of our Odessa black variety began. Foreigners are very interested in this. Recently, there was a wonderful presentation – a selection of the best wines from this variety. For the winner, the Gigienishvili trading house, a special glass was selected by the Ridle campaign. Of course, there is Odessa black in our collection.
Or, for example, May 05 is henceforth a holiday of the Odessa black, which was headed by Ivan Plachkov. This is a good move both for the Odessa region and for Ukraine as a whole. Winemaking is developing. Vineyards appeared both in the Zaporozhye region and in the Dnieper. So far, there are not so many vineyards in Ukraine as in France or in Spain, but it is possible to work with this. The Beykush company operates on just 11 hectares, most of which are visible from the winery. However, the wine is wonderful.
Producers of Odessa black from the Santim selection, whom would you recommend to pay attention to?
Pay attention to the Colonist. But our assortment will expand. I have no task to put all the representatives that I have. After all, even for competitions they sometimes bring craft wine, for which there are not even documents yet. In addition, we are now expanding not only the line of Odessa black, but also telti-kuruk wines. As well as a line of Western Ukrainian manufacturers. It is important how our guest reacts to them.
When we talk about producers not of wine, but of other Ukrainian drinks, they will soon appear in our company. I mean cider and mead. These are very interesting drinks, I personally recommend trying them. Unfortunately, few modern Ukrainians drank mead.
And this is the only alcoholic drink that has existed in these territories for over 1000 years.
Absolutely true. Someone noticed that the Slavs have few vineyards, because they were too lazy to grow it. This is absurd. Honey came to us with the Varangians 1000 years ago, and we had an inappropriate temperature for growing grapes. In addition, there were no problems with honey, berries and fruits in the Ukrainian forests. So they were used. An important fact is that Ukrainian cider was sent strictly for export, to the countries of Scandinavia and Britain, where it was historically drunk. However, recently it has already been sent to our neighbors in the countries of the European Union. Mead is a unique drink and it will become very popular.
Your Collection of drinks from the Odessa region consist of…
There is both wine and strong drinks. There is something to show, something to surprise. Since most of the vineyards are located in the Odessa region, there are more producers. And wine, and vodka, and brandy, and liqueurs. For example, Shabo makes great drinks.
The most common question among guests of Odessa: what should you bring with you? We will complicate the question for you. What taste of Odessa you can take away from Santim.
I will offer wines from the Odessa region, wines that have earned respect not only in Ukraine, but also abroad. Colonist Odessa black red dry. Or now there is a limited edition wine Kolonist Cabernet Merlot “High Gamma”. This is only 300 bottles for the whole of Ukraine, and this is exclusive. Great wine.
Also choose cabernet or cabernet-merlot from Odessa producers, which have the aroma of local melons and gourds. Thanks to the craftsmanship, this aroma and taste is manifested during production. Grande Reserve Shabo Telti-Kuruk. AOC Shabo Grand Reserve Extra Brut.
Game question. Putting together a basket for a party of five. What will we take?
Any local wine from the varieties Odessa black or telti-kuruk, feta cheese or Adyghe cheese. Cheese and wine are foods that go hand in hand all your life. I’ll add some fresh bakery.
The only thing is that Odessa Black is not a drink for an aperitif, it is better to drink it second. It has a solid body. It needs to be backed up with seasoned cheese and meats, even lamb. In the Bulgarian part of the Odessa region, this combination is very popular.