4 minutes ago
What Cahors and Kagor have in common? From French Pyrenees vineyards to Russian church rites.
Wine is known to be a part of Christian rites long ago. But in Russia, it’s a very particular wine - so-called Kagor. Traditionally, it is a semi-sweet fortified wine of dark ruby colour, made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
Interestingly enough, this wine takes its name from Cahors - French wine region (pronunciation assimilated over time and it became Kagor). Cahors wines though are traditionally made of 70% Malbec, dry, medium level alcohol. So how did one become the other?
Old Russia didn’t have its own vineyards at the time, so for the church wine has been brought from Greece and Italy and then from France. Because sweet-tasting alcoholic beverages dominated in Russia at the time (mead, beer), they would request wine to be sweet as well. Another request was that wine has to be of deep ruby colour to maintain its intensity after being triple diluted with water (ritual required) to represent Jesus blood. To handle transportation, storage and watering down wines were made fortified.
Chairs winemakers who got the order would use Cabernet and Merlot for the wine to keep the colour.
Later on, vineyards have been planted in Russia, Kagor wine spread outside of only church rituals and became a drink loved by Russians. It kept the name of the French region where it first came from and became a common name for the type of fortified sweet wines with its own winemaking techniques and tradition, showing deep ruby colour, with expressive black currant, dark cherry and herbaceous aromas.
PS: there’s much more detail on Kagor that didn’t fit in this post, I encourage you guys to do your research if you are curious
PPS: as not a big fan of Kagor myself I didn’t buy a bottle, and Russian Easter is one week ahead, so the photo is from internet 😉 .
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