John Wine Snob says:
This review is no reflection on the owner of Urban Beans, Virginia Senior. She has impeccable taste and runs one of my favorite wine and coffee bars in Phoenix. And they are open 24 hours!!! While sitting at the bar with Mrs. Wine Snob and a friend with whom I was talking, I could hear Mrs. Wine Snob talking to Virginia about a wine, and the conversation became intriguing. Where did you get this? I have never seen it sold here etc. They were talking about a sweet Crimean dessert wine called Massandra, also nicknamed The Tsar’s Wine. The first time I encountered this wine was at a dinner party in Moscow. A rather tactless and snobbish American was across the table from me and took a drink. He said to the hostess, and when she asked what he thought of the wine he said, “I think it tastes a bit like battery acid.” Although I agreed, I politely drank the wine without commenting. I am torn between my own personal taste and dislike of most dessert wines and the inherent qualities of the wine, so I will try to be fair when rating this one. If you ever visit any of the former republics of the Soviet Union, drink only foreign wines. That goes for all of the Balkan wines as well. They are often spiked with loads of sugar, even the ones that are not meant to dessert wines. They are often poorly bottled and poorly stored, so I have performed my share of spit takes in Russia. All of that said, Massandra is a very popular dessert wine, and for what is supposed to be, it is a good one, so I can overlook my own bias and give it two stars.