vinosseur

…spontaneously fermenting

Welcome (Back) to Georgia Part III – Prince Makashvili Cellar

Prince Makashvili Cellar – Soliko Tsaishvili, Irakli Pruidze & David Kapanadze

Date tasted:  July 11th, 2010 13:45

This grapes for this wine come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Akhoebi, in the village of Kardanakhi in the low hills of the Kakheti region.    The vineyard covers 1.9 HA and are farmed biodynamically and harvested by hand.  The soil is  black  and carbonate-rich.  The vines are widely spaced at approximately 2500 plants/HA, trained in a double Guyot pattern.  The vineyard is planted with approximately 90% Rkatsiteli, 4% Mtsvane, 4%Khikhvi and a red variety called Saperavi, all on original (non-American) root stock. Harvest is done by hand, the grapes pressed softly.  The wine is spontaneously fermented and macerated for 6 months with skins in Qvevri.  After skin and stalk separation, the resulting wine is stored in smaller Qvevri for a further 12 months.   Bottled without filtration.  In 2007 approximately 20hl/ha was produced, or 1200 bottles.

90% Rkatsiteli 6% Mtsvane 4% Khikhvi
Total SO2 is 31 mg/l (31ppm)
Residual Sugar is 1.83 g/l

Appearance: Apricot-orange hued with golden edges.

Nose: Herbs and spices (lavender & rosemary)  layered on top of  yellow fruit.  Sweet arctic cloud berries with strawberry (yes, strawberry) notes.

Palate: Great focused fruit. Apricots mostly. Medium tannins with medium level acidity.  30+ second finish. Bone dry.

The Grand Cru Akhoebi was my favorite of the three I wines tasted.

Date tasted:  July 11th, 2010 13:45

This grapes for this wine come from the Grand Cru vineyards of Tsarapi, in the village of Kardanakhi.  The vineyards cover 1.25 HA and are farmed biodynamically and harvested by hand.  The wine is spontaneously fermented and macerated for 6 months in Qvevri, then stored in the Qvevri for a further 12 months.   Bottled without filtration, and on this particular bottle, this was quite obvious.  Approximately 20hl/ha is produced, or about  1200 bottles.

100% Rkatsiteli
Total SO2 is 24mg (24ppm)
Residual Sugar is 2.75 g

Appearance: Darker and more copper-hued with loads of visible sediment :-)

Nose: Sponty aromas with apricots, with less herbs and spices than the Akhoebi Grand Cru.  My favorite on the nose of the three wines because it had that perfect balance between fruit and wild aromas with just enough minerals to give the wine a serious edge.

Palate: More vinous than the Akhoebi – thick, structured and concentrated.  Quite a serious wine and very mineral.  Medium + tannins and acidity with a long finish.  Bone dry, elegant fruit.

This wine wanted desperately to be my favorite, but it came in second behind the Akhoebi. However, with a few years more of cellaring, this may show even better than the Akhoebi.

My overall impressions were that these three Georgian wines I tasted were of top quality and quite serious food wines.  I would have no problem drinking them alongside my Friulian & Slovenian favorites.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Georgia, Kakheti, natural wine (just about), orange wine, Welcome (Back) to Georgia

2 comments



Welcome (Back) to Georgia Part II – Clos des Amandiers

Now, back to the future (today) and the wines of Georgia, all hailing from the Kakheti region located in Eastern Georgia, the driest of the 3 regions.  It is the largest wine region in Georgia spanning over  11,000 square kilometers.

All three wines were (mostly) of the same grape variety, Rkatsiteli (or Rkatziteli – pronounced rkah-tsee-tely, and directly translated means “red vine”).  The only Georgian wine experience I have had before today, was  tasting some half-sweet (non-representative) red wine that was poured from a decorated clay bottle, and let’s just say it wasn’t a wine to remember. In fact, I only remember the bottle to this day.   These three wines were not at all what I had anticipated. They were aromatic, complex, fresh and tannic wines that would do well with food.

This project started about 4 years ago when a group of Italian wine and spirit merchants (Luca & Paolo Gargano) from Genova purchased a 1.8ha vineyard in the village of Mararo.  With the help of Jean Jacques, a friend of Nicolas Joly, and a local farmer named Nodar Shinjiashvili who was  cultivating old varieties of cereals biodynamically, Clos des Amandiers was born.  In 2007 they released their first vintage, the first wine in my tasting.

The vines for this wine share the space with almond trees and are cultivated biodynamically.  Harvest occurred in October, the grapes subsequently softly pressed.  Fermentation occurred spontaneously with indigenous yeasts  in old Qvevri without temperature control.  Maceration lasted for six months in these Qvevri then transferred to smaller, non-buried Qvevri for 12 months maturation.  The wine was then bottled without filtration and left to age in the bottle.

Date tasted:  July 11th, 2010 13:45

Appearance: Quite a dark orange hued wine with copper and amber tones (think Cat’s Eye gemstones)

Nose: Wow, intense. Quite a sponty and wild nose of dried peaches, raw almonds, marmalade and yellow plums. Hints of jasmine and lavender emerge after about an hour.

Palate: A delicate and elegant entry. Red apples (yes, red) and yellow apples. Medium ++ tannins, medium + acidity (tangy). I found more fruit on the nose then I did on the palate.  The wine had a 30 second+ finish with dominating tannins and toast.

I feel that this wine would be very suitable to food.  Especially dishes with high contrasting flavors and moderately spicy food (because of the fruity aromas in the wine).  A dish specifically recommended to me would be yogurt-marinated baked mutton (meat of mature sheep).  My experience with orange wines is that they merry quite well with food in general, from your sweeter, more aromatic dishes, to meat dishes and finally with cheese.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Georgia, Kakheti, natural wine (just about), orange wine, Welcome (Back) to Georgia

3 comments



Welcome (Back) to Georgia Part I

Clay Qvevri ready to be burried neck-deep in the ground in the outdoor cellars, called Marani

Let’s go back let’s say, 7000 years, to 5000 B.C. … a time when grape-pip findings suggest that this country may be responsible for some of the first winemaking, and artifacts of the same age to help support this theory.  Georgia is unique in that, today, they still employ pre-classical winemaking techniques such as fermenting and storing wine in earthenware vessels known as Qvevri, (aka – amphorae), buried neck deep in the soil in the outdoor cellars, called Marani.

crushed grapes in Qvevri

hermitically sealing Qvevri

In these Qvevri you’ll find trodden grapes: skins, stalks and all!  These Qvevri are then hermetically sealed and left alone for months. The Georgians have been making wine in this way for at least 5,000 years, and they’re still doing this today.  It’s important to remember that wine is native to Georgia!

Very often winemaking is done with no chemical intervention both in the vineyards and in the cellar.   The resulting wine, which is be fermented either dry (without sugar) or not dry, can be extremely aromatic and seriously tannic.  And I mean seriously tannic!

The Georgian Wine Society

Georgia has 3 historic wine regions: Kakheti (more than 2/3 of all Georgian grapes are grown here); Kartli (where Qvevri are rare); and Imereti. (See map above)

The most commonly grown grape in Georgia is the Rkatsiteli, (pronounced rkah-tsee-tely, and directly translated means “red vine”).  This is perhaps the world’s second most planted white grape variety, the Italian variety Trebbiano being the first. The Rkatsiteli probably produces less wine (then the Trebbiano) and accounts for about half of the wine production in Georgia.  It used to be the most popular wine grape in the Soviet Union, due in part to its resistance to harsh winters and partly to  its universality.  The Rkatsiteli’s high acidity and maturity gives it the ability to make quality wine and quality spirit.  Even with all this talk of quantity, this is still considered a quality grape producing wines that can have style, character and refreshingly high acidity.  Good examples are full of spicy, floral aromas that can remind us of tannic versions of Alsatian wines.  If you’re curious about these wines and want to know more about what they look, smell and taste like, you’ll find out in Part II.

Category: 1 WINE, biodynamic wine, Georgia, Kakheti, Welcome (Back) to Georgia

1 comment



categories

  • 5 VIDEO WINE TASTING
  • 8 FOOD
  • Events
  • Instagram quick post
  • Photos

about


Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com


Foodista Featured Wine Blog of the Day Badge