“Everything I’ve heard about the glories of Samarkand – is true, with the exception of one thing – the city is much more beautiful then I could ever imagine” – these were the words of Alexander the Great about this city – the patriarch of the cities of the world.
“The Rome of the Orient” – Samarkand, has been impressing people with its splendor for 25 centuries. However, Samarkand is not only one of the oldest cities in the world, but also a modern city in Uzbekistan where great efforts have been made to develop industry, education and science. The capital of the Zarafshan valley has many monuments, one of them being the Winery named after M.A. Khovrenko, of whose production we would like to tell you more about.
It happened long ago. Militant Arab horsemen suddenly appeared on the scene of the budding ground of ancient Sogdiana. The enemies, who destroyed everything in their path, approached the walls of the wonderful city of Maraqand (Samarkand). The Sogdian earth shivered and suffered under the hoofs of Arabian racehorses.
The townsfolk resisted but their strength wasn’t sufficient. The Arab horde destroyed the peaceful life of Samarkand – trampled the blossoming gardens, burned the villages to ashes; they killed most of the inhabitants and took the youths as slaves and ladies as concubines.
During these horrible times, on the long-suffering land of Sogdiana near Samarkand, a miracle occurred: a magic vine with mysterious berries appeared. The grape was named “Taifi”, which means “tribe” or “gender”. From that time until the present day these pink, juicy grapes have given longevity, vivacity and strength to the people. And the suburbs of Samarkand have become known as the native land of these wonderful grapes. “Taifi” is one of many kinds of grapes that are being used at the Winery in Samarkand, whose centenary has been celebrated recently.
In the Samarkand Winery named after M.A. Khovrenko, where people do creative work, new types of wine are being produced constantly, and high attention is paid to every aspect.
A century ago, in 1868, a Russian merchant named Dmitriy Filatov founded a small enterprise for wine production in Samarkand. Many features of that Winery were not perfect – though having no variety of vineyards available, in 4 years, during his participation in world competitions in Paris and Antwerp, “Samarkand wine of Filatov’s gardens” was awarded with the gold and silver medals. Subsequently, since the last century the “golden” and “silver” world procession of Samarkand wines has continued.
But real fame came to the Winery the moment when Russian scientist, wine-maker and chemist Michael Khovrenko arrived in Uzbekistan in 1927. He designed the technical methods for producing such vintage wines as “Gulyakandoz”, “Shirin”, “Liquor Kaberne”, “Aleatiko”, “Uzbekistan” and “Farkhod” that were first produced in the Samarkand Winery. The Gold and Silver medals awarded serve as the best advertisements for them.
If you ask – how do they taste? The reply will be found in the Winery “library”. This cellar is 100 years old. Narrow passageways run among the shelves, on which – like books – one by one, bottles of wine covered with thick coat of soot and mold are arranged. There are hundreds of them, and in every bottle you will find the sun!
Here, in formed long-necked bottles are the first wines of D. Filatov, heavy cut bottles from the thirties, in which the wine of M. Khovrenko is kept, as well as the more elegant labels of modern wine. Every bottle has its own fixed place and identification. The Main “librarian” will tell you precisely the production year, type, and taste of each wine.
These days, the following kinds of grapes are being used in the Winery: “Bayan-Shirey”, “Rkatsiteli”, “Riesling”, “Saperavi”, “Morastel”, “Muscat”, “Aleatiko” and “Cabernet”. Such varieties as “Pinot black”, “May black”, “Asyl-kara”, “Khindogny”, “Mtsvani”, “Kuldjinski”, “Soyaki”, “Bakhtiori” and “Bishty” are under evaluation for future production.
In the glass in your hand – you hold the Uzbek sun. The hardworking vintners of Uzbekistan, the masters of Wine, do everything possible to make this sun awaken the solar energy of everyone’s soul!
We offers you a visit unique to the Samarkand Winery, to taste 10 of the best varieties of Uzbek wine, and take a tour of the Museum of History of the Winery.
The price for tasting and Museum tour is US$ 5 per person.
For the additional price of US$ 7 per person we can organize a visit to the wine-cellars, with the possibility of buying vintage wines.