Country Location: Georgia
Abanoeti vineyard in Racha
The AppellationThe wine region of Racha-Lechkhumi. is an idyllic environment, rich in biodiversity with few human inhabitants. Set in the basin of the Rioni river valley and surrounded by perilous forested mountains are small plots of local grape sorts that likely originated within the small wine region. This is the home of “Khvanchkara”, Georgia’s most famous and often overrated wine. By definition, “Khvanchkara” is a semi sweet blend of the local red grape varieties Alexandreuli and Mujuretuli. It is named after the wine village of Khvanchkara. Before Khvanchkara, “Kipiani Rachuli” made the region famous. Originally produced by the Kipiani family and based on old local wine traditions, it rose to fame as early as the 9th century and was praised by connoisseurs for more than 1,000 years. “Pataridze’s Rachuli” is an homage to this bygone legend.
The PeoplePataridze’s Rachuli is a joint venture between cousins Paata and Shorena Pataridze. Together they have invested in and renovated their family’s old home and vineyard in the village of Abanoeti. Paata grew up in Racha where his grandfather carefully taught him why the wines must be made by hand according to local tradition. 2015 was their first commercial release. The wine exemplifies this.
In the VineyardIn 2008 Paata planted a 1.5 hectare vineyard of 3,200 vines on a south facing position 695 meters above sea level. It is outside the village of Abanoeti in the Ambrolauri region, part of the micro-zone for the Alexandreuli and Mujuretuli grape varieties. These endemic grape sorts are only found in the villages of the Racha region. The soils are primarily hummus above a carbonate base interspersed with flint, sand and clay. The growing season is relatively dry and warm with cool nights and a cold snowy winter. The hand-tended vineyard is treated only with ecological preparations. The wine only contains fruit from their organic vineyard.
Foot stomping Rachuli
In the CellarThe maximum production of the vineyard is 5,000 bottles but in 2016 they made only 350 bottles because their marani (Georgian for cellar) was under construction. In 2017 they will produce approximately 2,000 bottles. The 2016 Pataridze’s Rachuli is a blend of 60% Alexandreuli and 40% Mujuretuli. Grapes were destemmed and co-fermented spontaneously with the skins and some stems in old oak for 10 days. The wine was then pressed off into glass demijohn. When the natural fermentation finished there was 11 grams residual sugar. The wine was gently filtered and bottled with no added sulfites.
Rachuli in demijohns
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