Country Location: Georgia
The appellation. Amiran Vepkhvadze’s vineyards are planted outside the village of Kldeeti, in the Zestaphoni region of Imereti in West Georgia. Imereti is one of the top wine regions of Georgia after Kakheti. It is also one of the most diverse regions in terms of grape varieties, climatic conditions, and soil composition.
The people. An attorney by trade, Amiran Vepkhvadze inherited a few hectares of Otskhanuri Sapere, a rare, indigenous varietal found only in Western Georgia. Today, this is the largest contiguous plot of the grape variety. For years he sold the grapes to a large local winery. What they would pay gradually decreased until Amiran decided to start making his own wine. Little by little, his production is increasing and he has new vineyards planted that will add to this growth.
In the vineyard. As was the case historically, all the vines are overhead pergola trained to keep the grapes high and dry in the area’s sub-tropical conditions. Due to the local soil and climate, the wine is characterized by an intense dark ruby color. Almost black in the glass, it is viscous, perfumed, sanguine and dry with penetrating acidity and lip-smacking length. In 2014 Amiran made only 800 liters of this one wine, fermented on the skins in Qvevri without added yeast and then aged for 9 months before being bottled unfiltered.