WorldWine Tasting Highlight

2011-10-04

Georgia - Beyond the Amphorae

the wines
 

Four years had passed since I first visited Georgia, the ancient Caucasus nation. Therefore, I gratefully accepted the invitation to a Symposium on the history of Georgian viticulture and on the traditional winemaking in amphorae, kvevris as the Georgians call them more precisely. Like my first visit, this one, enabled by Tina Kezeli and her Georgian Wine Association, was extremely interesting and thrilling.

Yet, the quality level of the wines, which I was able to taste during the trip, last September, had dramatically improved against what we had experienced in 2007. Of course, during both trips we had only been able to sample a small, not representative selection of the Georgian wine production. But the fact that the collective efforts of Georgia's winemakers had resulted in a veritable quality revolution, in internationally competitive wines, was undeniable. Regardless if vinified in a modern way, perhaps even in barrels, or traditionally, in kvevris and with extremely long macerations on the skins - the wines from Kachetia  demonstrated the enormous potential which is still slumbering in this remote part of the wine world.

Even if it seems clear by now that Georgia is not the cradle of vine and wine, at best one of their first stops on their way around the world, you very often feel taken back to remote centuries or even millenniums. Buried amphorae, in which the wine macerates for months on the skins, after having been stomped in long wooden tubs, still create an atmosphere like out of the history book.


Kloster Alaverdi, wo orthodoxe Mönche traditionelle, aber auch ganz moderne Weine keltern. (Fotos: E. Supp)

But, fortunately, there also is another side of wine making in Georgia. It's the side of enormous investments from Russia, Germany or the US, the side of steel tanks and oak barrels, of modern bottle design and internationally competitive wine qualities. No matter if, at present, only 28 local grape varieties are commercially exploited - there is a total of 621 of them which represent an enormous gene reservoir and could become precious for the world's viticulture, especially if you consider that all of them are closely related ancestors of our well known European quality varieties.

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The wines

for detailed descriptions see the German pages  

***** Maisuradze Wines - 2200 Telavi, Solikauri Lechkumi Ice wine 2007
***** Maisuradze Wines - 2200 Telavi, Mukuzani 2005
**** + Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kvareli Kisi 2010
**** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kachetien Tsolikouri 2010
**** Maisuradze Wines - 2200 Telavi, Kachetien Rosé Ice wine 2007
**** Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Saperavi Vinoterra 2005
**** Pheasant’s Tears - 4200 Sighnaghi, Kachetien Mtsvane dry unfiltered Amber Wine 2010
**** Pheasant’s Tears - 4200 Sighnaghi, Kachetien Rkatsiteli 2008
**** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kvareli Rkatsiteli 2010
**** Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kachetien Saperavi barrel select 2007
**** JSC Tbilvino - 0153 Tbilisi, Kachetien Kvevris Rkatsiteli 2010
**** Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Chateau Kisi Saperavi 2009
**** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kachetien Tsitska 2010
**** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kvareli Mtsvane 2010
**** Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Mtsvane Vinoterra 2008
**** JSC Tbilvino - 0153 Tbilisi, Kachetien Tsinandali 2009
**** Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kisi 2007
**** ? JSC Tbilvino - 0153 Tbilisi, Kachetien Saperavi 2010
*** + Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kachetien Saperavi Cabernet 2006
*** + Pheasant’s Tears - 4200 Sighnaghi, Kachetien Kisi dry unfiltered 2010
*** + Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kachetien Kakhetian Royal 2005
*** + Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kachetien Kakhetian Royal 2007
*** + JSC Tbilvino - 0153 Tbilisi, Mukuzani Saperavi 2008
*** + Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Rkatsiteli Vinoterra 2009
*** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kachetien Krakhuna 2010
*** Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kvareli 2005
*** Monastery Wines - Winery Khareba Ltd. - 0108 Tbilisi, Kachetien Otskhanuri Sopere 2010
*** Kindzmaraulis Marani - 4805 Kindzmarauli, Kachetien Saperavi Cabernet 2006
*** Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Kisi Clay Jar Fermented Vinoterra 2006
*** Schuchmann Wines Georgia LTD - Vinoterra - 2200 Kisiskhevi / Telavi, Kachetien Cabernet Sauvignon Kakhetian style Vinoterra 2008

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