VDP: Where and how did you get the wine bug?
Alexey Zaytsev: It’s hard to believe now but in the Soviet Union (the country when I was born) it was very difficult to find any wine, not telling about good ones. So my parents were not the fans of wine consuming and I was not also. In reality I was not a drinker at all. On the parties with my friends I usually drunk some beer and was perfectly satisfied with that. That longs till the moment I’ve met my future wife Evgenia, we saw each other on one of the parties before the 8 of March (the day which devoted to women in Russia) and I fall in love at once.
One day we had a long walk and were a little bit tired and I invited her to drink a glass of something with me. Of couse I could not propose to my love just ordinary beer and had to buy something special. I entered into the liquor shop and was absolutely smashed by quantity of different wines (it was already new Russia). At that moment only one wine I could remember as a decent one – Chablis. So I asked for a bottle and don’t know why I bought in addition some of the Swiss chocolate. (That show the level of my wine understanding at that moment).
That evening Chablis was wonderful and I really think that this bottle largely helped me to win the hart of my wife.
Since that day I fall in love with wines also.
VDP: Your first encounter with German wines?
Alexey Zaytsev: I tried the German wines long ago, but I tried the worst ones, like Liebfraumilch and others. So I was not very high opinion about them. But all changed nearly 7 years ago. I and my family ware going to Saint-Petersburg to our friends Olga and Pavel. Olga is very sophisticated wine connoisseur and I decided to bring her something special and interesting which she definitely should not know but excellent in quality.
I sorted out plenty wines from many of countries and wine regions, but all of them were not sufficiently surprising for her, till I found the Riesling from Pfalz not very expensive, but very decent (qualitäts wine).
The Riesling was received with great interest and Olga was very surprised, as she knew very little about German wines and considered them as very simple in comparison with French ones. But since our visit she prefers German Rieslings to Alsace ones.
VDP: What is your favourite story to tell about German/VDP.wine – did you have highly emotional experience with our wines / producers?
Alexey Zaytsev: I can’t say that it was striking or highly emotional but it was certainly surprising and very pleasant experience. Before that evening I never considered the German winemakers as great producers of Pinot-Noir. Because even some wines we tasted in German Embassy in Moscow were not very impressive. And such impression stayed with me till Marc Adeneuer presented his Pinot-Noir of different crops . It was strikingly expressive and absolutely individual. I think just trying his wines you could tell much about Ahr. As they perfectly express the peculiarities of the terroir. Its terraced slopes on which grape could get enough of sun during day to give to wines fruitiness and minerality from the soil. And its cold night air from the river which added freshness and good acidity.
I was double lucky that evening as my neighbour at the table was Romana Echensperger, who perfectly knows the region and producers and can so interesting and informative tell about all of them.
VDP: How many bottles of German wine/VDP.wines do you have in your cellar?
Alexey Zaytsev: I have not any cellar at all.
VDP: What is your favourite vineyard in Germany – and why?
Alexey Zaytsev: I have already said about weingut Adeneuer, besides it I have plenty of favourites in different regions of Germany which would be difficult to describe, but all of them have their own individuality expressed in wines, which impossible to confuse with other producers.
If it comes to German grape varieties, what is your favourite? Riesling, Spätburgunder or other? I think that my favourite is yet Riesling, but as I said I am fond of Pinot-Noir from Ahr and many others also.