Wine Tour in the Carpathians
Students showed considerable abilities…
According to the legend, Dionysus taught Transcarpathian people of winemaking. This cheerful Greek god loved to party and never was courteous. Zeus decided to send a stubborn drunk to a place where people didn’t know viticulture. That’s how Dionysus got to Transcarpathians but even here didn’t leave his hobby. He took the vine from Olympus and set about to teach the locals. Students showed considerable abilities…
To the last Turkish
The Serednje village is situated a few kilometers from Uzhgorod. It is Transcarpathian capital of wine. Among the tourist this place is famous by two monuments: wine cellars of 16th century and medieval castle. Nowadays the dull tower preserves the secrets of its masters: Knights Templar, the Pauline monks and Hungarian feudal families.
István Dobó was a national hero of Hungary and one of the rulers of Serendje. The most beautiful square (Eger) was called in his honor. Captain Dobo came from a noble Slovak family of Doboruske village. In 1552, during the defense of Eger fortress he led the Hungarian garrison and made a significant contribution to the victory over the huge Turkish army.
Several thousand of Turks prisoners were taken to Serendje for building basements. The work was done to the las Turk. None of them remained. It was a real torture. The captives have made 4,5 km of halls with pickaxe. Later the sons of the famous István Dobó reinforced the underground structure according to the fortification conditions of that time.
The initial appointment of the underground was to protect local populations from enemy attacks. If strangers came inside, people were taken out with special labyrinth towards Mukachevo.
From the 17th century the subterranean lost its defensive significance. Since then it was used only for the aging of wine. In 1711 Peter the Great visited this place. After his visitation they started to send wine from Serendje to Saint-Petersburg.
Wines of Serendje were always respected by crowned persons. The Soviet party nomenclature wasn’t exception. At that time the Transcarpatian village was not only the place of producing wine from local grapes. It was also exported for aging from Portugal, Spain, France and Algeria. Foreign wine was stored and argued to the necessary condition. Then it was sent to Moscow, Kiev, Kharkiv and other big cities of the Soviet Union.
Towards “wine” streets
When you come down from Carpathian heat you can immediately feel the pleasant cool. The underground temperature is kept constantly at 12 degrees. A natural air conditioner works here. The cellars are made in volcanic rocks that have capillaries and through them wet and fresh air get in the ground. The constant microclimate is maintained here. Therefore the local conditions are ideal for wine storage.
Since 1991 the full cycle of wine production has been working here. The company is called “Leanka”. It’s also the name of grape from which is produced the famous “Serednjanske”. But there are more Carpathian wines well known in Ukraine and the whole world. “Kaberne”, “Perlyna Karpat”, “Trojanda Zakarpattya”, “Spokusnytsa” – two dozen of vintage, ordinary, dry, strong and sweet wines made Transcarpathian winemakers famous at many international competitions.
The cellars can be called a small town. Before 1946 the local private producers rented separated areas to store their wines. The names of underground streets still retain their surnames: Potajka, Krychanynka, Shajka, Arvajka and others. The oak barrels of different volume are all around – 700, 800, 2000 and 5000 liters. There’s one huge of 10594 liters. The experts say the rate of wine consumption per capita should be 100 liters per year that is approximately 300 grams per day. According to these calculations this “tank” is enough for 106 years.
It’s impossible to visit the cellar and not join the tasting. Usually wine is poured into a glass and checked for transparency. Also there must be a double border that indicates the clarity and strength of Carpathian wine. You should lower the nose directly into a glass during the tasting and feel the aroma. This is the smell of the sun, holiday and a hard work of winemaker.
Serednje on the map. Green Ukraine