Proprietor: Guillaume Gouerou & Vincent Jullien
Founded: 2015
Website: Lapati Winery
Country Location: Georgia

Lapati Wines is the long-lasting project of Vincent Jullien and Guillaume Gouerou: making natural wines in Georgia, the world's cradle of wine, in a natural and environment-friendly way without putting aside the technical aspect of the art of making Qvevri wine.

Vincent Jullien
Vincent Jullien in the cellar

The people

Lapati was established by natural wine makers Vincent Jullien and Guillaume Gouerou, to produce wine with local grape growers in a natural and environment-friendly way using the traditional Qvevri wine-making method. They completed their Marani (traditional Georgian cellar) in Sagarejo, Kakheti in 2015 and currently produce about 3,500 bottles. Everything is made in qvevri. Naturally sparkling wines comprise more than half the production.

lapati saperavi
Saperavi Grape

In the Vineyard

About half of the grapes comes from their own vines in Kakheti and Shida Kartli. The remainder comes from growers who are also farming organically. They only buy what is necessary to allow them to fully fill the four one-ton qvevris they have buried in the marani. They intend to eventually increase the production but not beyond 10,000 bottles as they want to personally handle all aspects of production.

lapati qvevri
Grapes in qvevri

In the Cellar

The Saperavi Super Ravi (in French, the word "ravi" means "happy") cuvée is made by placing whole clusters of Saperavi from the village of Mukuzani into two qvevris. After sealing the qvevris with clay, the wine ferments for 2 weeks with carbonic-acid gas. There is not much compression in a qvevri so this carbonic maceration is particularly gentle. After 2 weeks, the qvevris are opened, everything is destemmed, crushed, then the final juice goes to age into one qvevri. The 2016 vintage was bottled directly from qvevri in March of 2017.

lapati sparkling wines
Lapati Sparkling wines

Their naturally sparkling wines are bottled under the Kidev Erti label. It means "one more" in Georgian and sounds like the French phrase "qui divertit" literally, "what entertains". The wines are indeed entertaining and irresistible. Both the pale Chinuri and rosy cross of red Tavkveri and white Gorula are from Shida Kartli vineyards and underwent the same vinification. Fruit harvested in mid October was foot trodden in a traditional satsnakheli (canoe shaped press hewn from a single tree trunk) and poured into qvevri. After 2 weeks the wines were bottled at sugar levels that would give 6 bars of pressure.

lapati riddling cellar
Lapati riddling cellar

Vincent suspects Georgian yeast produces more gas because they use Champagne glass and still have bottles that exploded through March when the pressure was greatest. These cellar bombs are what inspired the 2016 labels, which change annually to reflect something specific about the vintage. Ultimately, the wines were clarified and the pressure reduced during hand disgorging. A messy affair that includes a fair bit of loss justified only by the elegance and transparency of the resultant wines.

Lapati News:

#WineWednesday Spotlight #139: Lapati Super Ravi

#WineWednesday Spotlight #139: Lapati Super Ravi

Saperavi, one of Georgia’s oldest grape varieties, usually produces serious, deep-colored wines with high acidity and tannin. But two Frenchmen,...
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Kidev Erti Chinuri

WAS $36.95. Low inventory. Only 2 bottles available. Natural white sparkling wi... more >
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