Georgian Wine Tasting

Inside the Qvervi 2016

Last night at Prince Wine Store we had a very interesting tasting with a  selection of wines from Georgia, this ancient wine producing country has been garnering a good deal of interest around the wine world.  

There is archaeological evidence of winemaking in Georgia dating back to 6000BC, though in reality it’s probably been going on even longer than that. Its huge diversity of endemic grape varieties is well-known and the traditional production vessel qvevri inspires winemakers around the world. What isn’t so well-known is the deep ancestral family winemaking customs that have kept traditional natural wines alive; bottling and commercialising these wines is a recent development.
 
Georgia’s traditional qvevri winemaking method involves pouring crushed grapes with their juice, stalks and pips into the hand-made clay vessels, which are then sealed and buried in the earth for fermentation and ageing to take place. As there is little, if any, chemical or technological intervention, this method has gained a strong following by natural wine producers throughout the world, including the United States, France, Italy, Croatia and Austria. The traditional natural wine scene in Georgia is essentially embryonic: long-time respected makers are only putting wines in bottle for the first time, the next generation is only a few years old and most producers’ production is minuscule, many totaling in the 100's of bottles! It’s just the beginning of a beautiful and culturally-significant renaissance of this ancient art form.

But right now the wines are a bit of a mixed bag. At a natural wine tasting RAW in London in 2014 I tasted over 100 Georgian wines and through that about a dozen where any good, with many showing really strange oxidation and characters that where considerably 'funky'.

last night the strike rate was much better. Whilst these are certainly not wines for everyone our pick of the tasting were:

LAGO'S CHINURI 
PHEASANTS TEARS RKATSITEI 2014
PHEASANTS TEARS SHAVKAPITO 2014
OKROS SAPERAVI 2010
OKROS RKATSITELI AMBER 2013

These are very textural wines with tanninic firm body from extended skin contact, interesting complexity on the nose and distinctive freshness.  We felt that the better wines where the more traditional styled wines making the most of the Qvervi system. 

With a look.

 

Alex Wilcox