Review originally published in the June edition of Wine & Spirits Magazine. Written by Tara Q. Thomas. Tara has been a wine writer for about 15 years, mainly at Wine & Spirits, where she is the Executive Editor and the wine critic for wines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. A Wine & Spirits Wine of the Month for June! 2014 Gotsa Chinuri Beka Gotsadze grows 13 varieties in his vineyards in the hills of the Asureti Valley, at an elevation of 4,200. He works organically, and exclusively with qvevri (the local amphorae), though his techniques are not exactly traditional: His fermentation qvevri have holes drilled in their bottoms so that he can transfer the juice into aging qvevri by gravity; those qvevri are wrapped in silicon tubing that carries cool water from a nearby spring. Perhaps this is how he’s attained such a complex, delicate wine, as crisp and saline as it is redolent of orange blossoms, marzipan and salted capers. The tannins give it an edge of bitter tea, while the acidity keeps the wine lifted and fresh. It feels like it could age for decades; it lasts on the countertop indefinitely, and is especially … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #30: Gotsa Chinuri
Video review contributed by James Melendez aka James the Wine Guy. James is a San Francisco based wine vlogger “Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time. Passionate about wine, food, travel, science & technology.” Subscribe to his YouTube channel and never miss a review! 2013 Kindzmarauli Marani Kakhetian Royal Kakhetian Royal is a unique Appellation Controlled dry white made from a blend of three Georgian grape varieties – Mtsvane Kakhuri, Rkatsiteli and Khikhvi, all cultivated in the Kvareli region in Kakheti. Beautiful wine. I’m a huge fan of the Republic of Georgia wines. I think they are doing an amazing job; what a lineage. It’s a wine that I would start off with food, maybe charcuterie and cheese. James characterizes the aromas and flavor with descriptors such as “orange zest, beeswax, apricot, and exotic honey”. Watch the whole video now and be inspired to try a bottle! Learn more about Kindzmarauli Marani here. Learn more about the wines of Georgia here.
Even though Georgia’s winemaking tradition dates back 8,000 years, Georgian wines have only recently become more available in the United States. Carson Demmond suggests you pay attention to these wines in a recent article for Food & Wine. Ten years ago, Georgian wine might have earned a casual mention in conversations about Eastern European cuisine. Now, thanks to a handful of importers and well-traveled sommeliers, it’s at the forefront. Not only is Georgia home to one of the most generous of hospitality traditions – a wine-centric feast known as the supra – it also boasts a winemaking history that goes back a whopping 8,000 years. As early as the Bronze Age there, grape juice was being fermented in beeswax-lined clay vessels called qvevri buried in the ground, and fascinatingly, that’s still how much of the country’s wine is being made today. One suggested wine to try is 2013 Kindzmarauli Marani Saperavi: Kindzmarauli is both the name of a semi-sweet red made from the Saperavi grape and the name of one of the most important wineries in the Kakheti region, so make sure to look for the word ‘dry’ on the label. This is rich in color, velvety in texture, with … Continue reading How to Get In On the Georgian Wine Revival
We think yes! The wines are truly distinct and the country is gorgeous. Tara Isabella Burton writes about her experience in Georgia for The Wall Street Journal. The entire original article can be read here. Traveling through Georgia, the tiny post-Soviet country set between the Caucasus and the Black Sea, is always a metabolic endurance test. Wine, brandy, chacha—a grape-skin moonshine with the flavor of gasoline schnapps—all these are habitually, exuberantly, foisted upon any foreigner who sits still long enough. But in the country’s primary wine region of Kakheti—according to Georgians, the birthplace of wine itself—consumption seems to be the primary occupation. Browse Georgian wines. For an easy introduction to the wines of Georgia, try our 6-Pack Georgian Discovery Sampler
Contributed by Christine Havens, Portland-based wine writer and former winemaker. Original review can be found here. A country with an ancient wine growing and winemaking heritage, Georgia is little more than a blip on the radar of the American wine scene. I hope that will change with time, as I have been favorably impressed by the wines I’ve sampled thus far. Credited as the birthplace of viticulture and even vitis vinifera itself, the country is home to some 500 indigenous varieties, the most widely cultivated of which are Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. (Some years ago, my former mother-in-law had planted a few rows of Rkatsiteli, a think skinned, bronzy-pink white variety that seemed oddly out of place with our more conventional rows of Syrah, Cabernet and Chardonnay. But that is another story, for another time.) The 2013 Kindzmarauli Marani Dry Red Saperavi offers up ripe, juicy plums, dried black cherries and earthy terra cotta notes. There is a pronounced but pleasant herbaceous note on the nose and palate, something akin to bay leaf or green wood intertwining a rather gorgeous structure trussed in firm tannins that are equally distributed across the palate. The mouthfeel of this wine is, in many ways … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #20: Kindzmarauli Marani Saperavi
Bottlenotes recommends adding these three Central European wines to your repertoire. For the past decade, wines from Central and Eastern Europe have been something of a sommelier secret stateside. The names can be hard to pronounce (hárslevelű, anyone?), but the best bottles offer exceptional value and tend to work extremely well with food. Here are the three recommended wines: Samuel Tinon Furmint Birtok (Tokaj, Hungary) Sommeliers and wine insiders have been raving about furmint for years. The grape, which is commonly used to make Hungary’s famous sweet wines, also makes an intriguing dry wine with medium- to full-body and high acidity (read: an ideal wine to pair with food). Piquentum Blanc (Istria, Croatia) Croatia may have initially gained some international fame for its red wines, but many sommeliers now feel that the white Malvasia coming out of the country is some of the best representations of the grape in Europe. When made in a dry style, it makes a crisp wine with some weight in the body, similar to dry Chenin Blanc. Orgo Rkatsiteli (Kakheti, Georgia) Georgian wines can be tricky to pin down from producer to producer. Some are quite rustic and oxidative, while a growing number offer more … Continue reading 3 Wines from Central Europe You Need To Know Now
What Is Darker Than Black? By: Jeff Vejr, Winemaker at Golden Cluster, Wine Director at Holdfast Dining, Consultant at Winelist.Consulting, and Narrator & Host of the upcoming web series The Winesman. I would like to introduce you to the wine grape Otskhanuri Sapere. Otskhanuri Sapere is one of the oldest red grapes in Georgia. It is believed that the grape originated from the village of “Otskhana” in the Guria region, in the western part of the country. Sapere loosely translates to “something you color with” in Georgian. So, it is known as “Otskana’s colorful” or Otskhanuri Sapere. These days, the best examples of Otskhanuri Sapere are found in the districts of Baghdati, Zestaponi, and Terjola in the Imereti region of central Georgia. The grape can also be found in select locations in the Racha region of northern Georgia. It is also believed that while this grape is centuries old, it is maybe only 50% domesticated and 50% wild. Having seen the vineyard and tasted the grape, I can understand this belief. It also makes sense since Georgia is one of the few places left on Earth where “wild” wine grapes still exist. One of the noble attributes of Otskhanuri Sapere … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #19: Amiran’s Otskhanuri Sapere
If you are interested in learning more about Georgian wine and culture, you must check out Alice Feiring’s newly released book “For the Love of Wine – My Odyssey through the World’s Most Ancient Wine Culture”. We have copies available here for $25, including shipping. More about the book from University of Nebraska Press: In 2011 when Alice Feiring first arrived in Georgia, she felt as if she’d emerged from the magic wardrobe into a world filled with mythical characters making exotic and delicious wine with the low-tech methods of centuries past. She was smitten, and she wasn’t alone. This country on the Black Sea has an unusual effect on people; the most passionate rip off their clothes and drink wines out of horns while the cold-hearted well up with tears and make emotional toasts. Visiting winemakers fall under Georgia’s spell and bring home qvevris (clay fermentation vessels) while rethinking their own techniques. But, as in any good fairy tale, Feiring sensed that danger rode shotgun with the magic. With acclaim and growing international interest come threats in the guise of new wine consultants aimed at making wines more commercial. So Feiring fought back in the only way she knew … Continue reading “For the Love of Wine – My Odyssey through the World’s Most Ancient Wine Culture” by Alice Feiring
This week James the Wine Guy reviews Shumi Tsinandali, an appellation controlled white wine blend from the Republic of Georgia. The indigenous grapes Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane combine to create harmonious flavors and aromas of citrus. This is a superb wine…really spectacular! On this I’m getting notes of moist stones, green and yellow citrus zest, quince, and passionfruit. Gorgeous minerality to this wine, lean yet assuringly generous at the same time…seek this wine out! If you are not familiar with James’s wine reviews, he creates videos for each wine and posts them on YouTube. Watch the video below to see his full evaluation of this “compelling” wine!
2003 Shavnabada Rkatsiteli from Kakheti, Georgia is one of those wines that really transports you to another place and time. Wine expert and The Vinguard founder Pamela Busch recently listed it as one of her Top Wines of 2015: An extinct volcano 2300 feet above sea level, Shavnabada is a mountain that has housed a Medieval monastery of the same name. It was restored in 1992 and the monks have been making wine on the property since 1998. Certified organic, they are old school and ferment and age the wines underground in amphora for years, 12 in the case of the Rkatsiteli. Every time I think of this winery, images of Sean Connery from In the Name of the Rose pop into my head. Amber colored, with toasted nuts, spice and dried stone fruits, one door of flavor leads to another – it’s pretty astonishing. This “astonishing” wine is made from hand harvested grapes under the strict supervision of the monks. The grapes are foot trodden in a traditional wooden press, and are not fined or filtered before being bottled by hand. The bottleneck is covered with beeswax from Shavnabada’s own bees. Interestingly enough they produce literally tons of wild … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #14: Shavnabada Rkatsiteli