A New Year’s Eve celebration just wouldn’t be the same without champagne. Russians are very proud of their very own sparkling wine called Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, also known as Soviet Champagne.
Nearly 75 years ago, the communist party asked wine makers to come up with a recipe for a new “champagne for the people” that would be cheap and quick to produce. Chemist Anton Frolov-Bragreev was the genius behind the invention of Soviet Champagne.
Traditionally, the wine is made from a blend of Aligote and Chardonnay grapes, but the ingredients have varied over the years. Today many producers have the right to use the name since it's not a registered trademark but rather a product category. All the usual types can be enjoyed such as brut, dry, semidry, sweet, and semisweet; but most Russians prefer the sweet and semisweet wines.
The most well known brands in the West are Odessagne, imported from Odessa, and Sparkling 1917, made in Belarus with wine from Moldova.
A bottle of Soviet Champagne is an essential feature of the New Year’s Eve buffet tables. Some wait until the Kremlin clock tower begins to chime at midnight before popping the bottle, filling a glass, and drinking it all down before the chimes end. Then your special wishes for the New Year are said to come true.