In September, I had the opportunity to go to Georgia on a tour for wine buyers. I was lucky enough to meet Beka Gotsadze of Gotsa and have one of the most quintessentially Georgian experiences of my entire trip. On the first night, we went to Gotsa Winery in the mountains above Tbilisi, greeted by a boisterous group comprised of winemaker, wife, dogs, and kids milling around a few old qvevri. We made our way to the cellar – first the upper room full of fermentation qvevri and then the lower room with the qvevri for aging – while Beka’s wife, Nina, gently teased him about his English (hers is perfect, of course). After tasting a mix of 2014 and 2015 vintages with cheese and bread provided to soak up the wine, we moved on to tasting what Beka likes to call his “experiments.” First, a Tsitska petillant naturel that was yeasty and rich with a lightness and acidity that was surprising, given it had just been bottled to finish off its fermentation. Then, some more Tsitska under flor in qvevri. And a few sips of 2015 Chinuri – bright, herbaceous and firmly tannic – to finish with before our … Continue reading Visiting Gotsa in Georgia
As co-founder and owner of Taste Georgia, Sarah May Grunwald provides culinary and wine tours to Georgia as well as wine education services to educate the public and trade about Georgia’s ancient qvevri wine making traditions. Of all the wine producers that we met during her numerous trips to Georgia, she considers Beka Gotsadze of Gotsa Family Wines to represent the future of Georgian natural wine: He makes multiple wines from different varieties, has low yielding vineyards at higher than average elevation, has Biodynamic certification, makes an ancestral sparkling wine AND is not afraid of a little Flor happily growing on his wine. Here is what she says about his 2015 Chinuri: His 2015 Chinuri is a marvel. Indeed, it is the best qvevri wine I tasted from the 2015 vintage. Now, while I am a huge fan of the funky, heavy skin contact wines from Kakheti, the Chinuri, still amber and made “natural” in qvevri is by far one of the purest expressions of Chinuri I have had. It is full of complexity on the nose and in the palate and it is fun. Full of citrus peel, sage, hints of nutty aromas, wet alpine stones, green plums. With … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #85: Gotsa Family Wines Chinuri
Patrick Comiskey, wine critic at the LA Times recently interviewed former wine director at République and the Hancock Park restaurant, Taylor Parsons: “The flavors and textures of the wines were unlike anything I’ve ever tasted,” says Parsons, 37, who like many sommeliers makes regular trips to the wine regions of France, Germany and Spain. “Very little of what they’re doing is reasonable by Western standards, but the wines are so expressive. And it’s all set in an incredibly ancient winemaking tradition where wine has penetrated deeply and completely into the culture, in ways that I had never experienced before.” Taylor Parsons is particularly fond of the 2004 Shavnabada Mtsvane: As delicious as it is unusual. Aged in qvevri for 11 years before bottling. Waxy, dense and totally intriguing — it tastes of walnuts and quince, honeycomb and dusty old books. Loads of tannin with plenty of freshness. To learn more about Georgian wines and check Taylor Parsons’ recommendations, read the whole article: Why one L.A. wine expert has Georgia on his mind. The country, that is.
Old bay seasoning on potato chips? Absolutely, especially with a glass of amber-colored, Qvevri aged doqi Mtsvane Qvevri on a bluesy Saturday night. Here is Michael Trainor @awordtothewine: You can take the boy out of #Baltimore, but not the #oldbay out of the boy. Not sure if that makes sense, but sometimes you gotta make your own #crabchips! So damn good with this salty ass #Mtsvane #Doqi @bluedanubewine #orangewine #georgianwine #wine #saturdaynightblues @oldbay_seasoning Ready to try? Open your bag of chips, get your spices and look at our extensive selection of orange wines here. There’re complex, savory, and full of depth. For other creative wine pairing ideas, follow Michael on Instagram.
Jeff Berlin of Oakland’s A Côté was recently interviewed by wine writer Tara Q. Thomas on selling glass after glass of Georgian wine. This is what he says about the popular Shavnabada Saperavi: the Shavnabada [a top by-the-glass pour]—anytime you’re able to say that a wine is made by monks in a monastery, they eat that one up. And it’s not cheap. But it’s a great wine, and also, it has an advantage because the wines have had a few extra years on them. That’s been really important even for me, to be able to see how these wines age. They change so much; they take on new personality and structure. It’s so rare to have the chance to taste older Georgian wines—it’s a combination of the culture, in which each person makes a small amount of wine and they drink it over the course of a year, and recent history; they simply don’t have much older wines to sell. Aging, however, does take the edges off the wine. If we could get more aged skin-contact Georgian wines, they’d blow people away. Find the whole interview here and check our comprehensive selection of Georgian wines in our webshop.
Today, an Instagram contribution by wine lover Michael Trainor @awordtothewine: have you tried the Amiran Otskhanuri Sapere 2015 with Cigarillos? It’s dark and oily. It’s got acid. It’s got structure. A bit viscous, maybe. It’s reminiscent of a freshly tarred road or roof in the hot Summer of my childhood and I could even feel that creeping anxiety of the new school year approaching. It pairs so perfectly with r/mr skirt steak. Keep it simple. Salt. Pepper. A slab of salted butter in the pan. Sizzle. Burn the flesh so you get that bitterness on the outside and maintain a beautiful bloody interior. Narrow slices, place it in your mouth, chew, then sip. Taste that? It also pairs well with #tobacco. I don’t typically enjoy tobacco with wine, but this pairs so well with Zino @davidoffcigars Brasil #Cigarillos Follow Michael on Instagram here.
With 94 points out of 100, the Gotsa Mtsvane 2013 was one of James Melendez AKA James the Wine Guy‘s top Top 100 Wines for 2016: Exotic wood, citrus peel, lemon tones, cardamon and white flowers, gorgeous. When you’re tasting this wine, you’re thinking it’s going to be really sweet. No, it’s not, it’s completely dry. So on the very very initial contact with the palate, it’s giving this expression of a dry white wine or dry orange wine I’d better say, and gives some coarse notes of fresh Turkish fig, pomegranate, white flower, stones, and honey tones as well. Watch the video: Gotsa Babaneuri Valley Mtsvane ’13 94 Points Check our selection of outstanding Qvevri fermented wines from Gotsa here. Find out James’ favorite wines for 2016. Among them, a few from Blue Danube Wine Co.: Kindzmarauli Kakhetian Royal 2013 – 93 Points: video Muhr-van der Niepoort Samt & Seide 2012 – 94 Points: video Samuel Tinon Birtok 2014 – 94 Points Samuel Tinon Szent Tamás 2015 – 93 Points Shumi Tsinandali 2014 – 94 points Santé!
This is an Instagram contribution from certified sommelier and food/travel writer Peter Weltman: doqi Kisi Qvevri 2014: 2014 doqi, kisi, Kakheti, The Republic of Georgia. natural wine drinkers chug from doqi. this epitomizes the genius of gogi dakishvili. it’s his power grape, aged in qvevri, resplendent of mandarin and naruli, tannins that lattice under the weight of the fruit while spiked with acid. it’s firmly rooted in Georgian history—raw qvevri wine—but showcases the exactness and craft that epitomizes this young man. bravo @bluedanubewine for a stunner. thank you @edanch for the sneak peak. was i #7 to taste it in the USA? You can follow Peter on Instagram here.
Drink the doqi Rkatsiteli the Georgian way! From a doqi — the traditional Georgian wine vessel — and in a clay bowl, also called piala. While Georgia has 8,000 years of unbroken winemaking, Rkatsiteli — a name made of two Georgian words, rka (“shoot”) and tsiteli (“red”), which refers to the variety’s reddish stalk — is one of the most ancient grape varieties on earth. Seeds of Rkatsiteli grapes were found in Georgia on clay vessels dated back to 3000 BC. The grapes for this wine are sourced from rocky vineyards around the village of Napareuli in Georgia’s renowned Kakheti wine district, at around 420 m (1,400 ft) above sea level. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel, “Euro-style” The result is a pale yellow wine with attractive aromas of honeyed cooked apples and a creamy texture balanced with fresh acidity. A great choice for a casual aperitif with friends that will park the appetite. doqi makes also a amber-colored Rkatsiteli fermented and aged in qvevri. Try them both and serve them from a clay doqi for sure. Also don’t forget to toast the Georgian way: Gaumarjos! To your victory!
It’s a tall order to put together a concise sales pitch for the wines of The Republic of Georgia because the food, language, culture, grapes, winemaking, and even geography are all largely unknown to most of us. However, very few places have such a strong national identity tied to wine that is something more than just patriotism, it’s about hospitality, eating and drinking well, and doing so despite a nearly non stop bombardment of their land for centuries. Nestled between the Caspian and Black Seas, it has both subtropical and alpine climates, the tallest mountains in Europe (Caucasus), and yet is smaller than South Carolina. The biodiversity is insane with roughly 500 indigenous grapes and their Qvevri (Kartuli method) is one the most compelling techniques linking people with wine I can think of. It has even been added to UNESCO’s “List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” It’s a truly special place with hints of Iran, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Armenia and others, but has then melded, edited and created something unique. 8,000 years of unbroken winemaking using the same technique surely warrants giving these wines some attention. At the very least, please cook up some homemade Khinakli and Khachpuri, … Continue reading The Republic of Georgia – Everyone needs to go here