Lev Golitsin

Picture of Lev Golitsin

Age: 70

Citizenship: Russia

How Prince Lev Golitsyn has created for Russian champagne, recognized the best in the world?

Picking up on New Year`s glass of sparkling champagne, remember the man who settled in Russia`s own production of sparkling wines to compete with the famous French champagne. Unfortunately, the name of the main Russian winemaker considerably been forgotten, and in Soviet times, it tried not to remember - as did the Prince, and besides, a descendant of Gediminas.

Lev Golitsyn - personality for the legendary Russian winemaking, and he himself was an extraordinary man. The story about him will go before a quote from Gilyarovskogo:

"Lev Golitsyn disliked the English Club for his sharp obscene speech at the time. But Lev Golitsyn was not afraid of anyone. He always wore, winter and summer, in the muzhik Bobrikov baggy`s coat, and his huge figure drew attention on the streets.

Cab drivers called him "a wild gentleman." The Tatars in his Caucasus estate nicknamed him "Aslan Delhi" - Crazy Leo.

He was throwing money right and left, no one in no denying, especially students, held in Tverskaya Street, on the corner of Chernyshevsky lane next to the governor-general`s house, a shop of wines from its magnificent Crimean vineyards "Register new light" and retailed pure, natural wine for twenty-five cents per bottle:

- I want to work, craftsman, clerks drank good wine! - He said. "

Giljarovsky repeatedly wrote about this colorful person, he just admired them: "A huge, powerful figure, at first glance resembles Turgenev, but still above, and with a huge mane of graying lion - downright epic hero."

At the turn of XIX-XX centuries Lev Golitsyn knew all Russia, gladly drank his fine wines. The representative of one izdrevneyshih and famous Russian surnames became winemaker by accident. Lev Golitsyn was born in 1845, was educated at the Sorbonne, completing it with a BA. Three years served an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then study at the Law Faculty of Moscow State University, PhD in law, training in European universities, preparation for a professorship.

Golitsyn several years headed the archaeological excavations, revealing a number of Stone Age sites. He became a corresponding member of the Moscow Archaeological Society. He rightly predicted a bright academic future. By the way, his reputation was high not only in academic circles, Muromskoye nobility elected its first honorary justices of the peace, and then made it a county leader. It seemed that the fate of Lev Golitsyn is predetermined, but the event abruptly changed his life.

Summer Leo usually spent on the estate on the Oka in the Murom district, Vladimir province, combining leisure with the occupation of archeology. This is where fate brought him together with the beautiful Hope Zasetskaya (nee Princess Herheulidzevoy). I broke a whirlwind romance, hope actually left her husband and went to Golitsyn, having given birth to his two daughters. Scandal intensely savored in society. And added a piquancy that Golitsyn not only stole from Zasetskaya wife, and succeeded him in 1876 at the post of the leader of the county gentry. Naturally, the cross had to put on a teaching career. By the way, only daughters in 1890, the emperor allowed to give the name of Princess Golitsyn, before they were registered pupils of Lev Sergeyevich.

Hope Zasetskaya belonged in Crimea not far from Sudak half of large estates "New World", is where the lion and became interested in winemaking. Several times went to France to learn from the best winemakers, and in 1878 bought out his brother Hope the second half of the estate and began to plant vineyards. Soon Russia guilty to compete with foreign ones. Moreover, the quality had to admit, and Europe. First Golitsyn Wines received prizes and medals at the Russian exhibitions, then the United States "conquered" (gold in Louisville and New Orleans) in 1889 were awarded without competition gold in Paris. Triumphal to Golitsyn was the year 1895 - Grand Prix at the exhibition in Bordeaux and in 1900 the Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in Paris, where his sparkling wine (champagne) was recognized as the best in the world! But by this time Golitsyn presented its wines not only himself as a winemaker, but also Russia.

In 1889, Alexander III offered Lev Sergeyevich lead all the wineries of the imperial family, becoming chief winemaker Specific department. This honorary position Golitsyn adopted in 1891 and remained on it until 1898. Thanks to his tireless energy and organizational abilities, were bought land for vineyards in the Crimea, the Caucasus, in the southern provinces, the construction of new wineries and a huge basement for storage and aging of wines, and established breeding work and training in Magarach School of horticulture and viticulture.

Successes were there, but the relationship with Specific department officials constantly deteriorating - Golitsyn almost did not give a profit, and it was no small, letting all the expansion of production. Naturally, their contribution made, vintners and wine lounge - sell expensive wines much more profitable, even if they are of inferior quality. The new Emperor Nicholas II support Golitsyn did not and decided to resign. He even gave up a solid and well-deserved reward, and owed 100 thousand rubles transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture for the establishment of prizes named after Alexander III for the best wine, table grapes and scientific work on winemaking and viticulture.

Freed from onerous administrative duties, Golitsyn enthusiastically engaged in favorite business - breeding new varieties of grapes and the creation of new wines. Incidentally, among the winemakers of the world he enjoyed unquestioned authority. Golitsyn could distinguish the form on the leaves hundreds of grape varieties, and the taste and smell of wine to determine not only the variety of grape from which it is made, but also the region in which the grapes were grown, the soil characteristics and even the weather - rainy and sunny it was summer.

Unfortunately, the wine - it is a business, and it has its own laws. By 1912 Golitsyn costs on the development of viticulture and winemaking have become much more than income. There were not only spent a lot of his inheritance money, but also part of the proceeds of legitimate spouses and Hope Zasetskaya. To avoid bankruptcy and save created many years of work unique winery, he in 1912, taking advantage of the visit of Nicholas II in the "New World", presented him with a gift a significant part of the wine of the complex, including a unique collection of wines.

Lev Golitsyn died on December 26, 1915 and was buried in a specially built vault among the vineyards of "New World". A wine made by him, continue to delight people. In his memory, several varieties of champagne are named after great Russian winemaker: "LEV Golitsyn," and "Seventh sky of prince Golitsyn".