To complete the article "Georgia the cradle of Wine", here is a selection of Georgian wines that are currently in terms of quality at the Top (it is a selection and there are many others). This selection focused on tasting wines from large companies, which make up the bulk of the country's export offer, as well as a range of experimental micro-vinified wines from some of Georgia's many lesser-known indigenous varieties, suggesting that it may be a pity that the Saperavi grape variety has such a strong presence on the Georgian wine scene.
Wines vinified in qvevri (the large terracotta jar) will be indicated as such. All the other wines evaluated were vinified in the "classic" way.
The name of the brand or producer is presented first, followed by the grape variety and then the Region of production.
This wine, from Giorgi Dakishvili and his son Temur, is labelled with admirable simplicity: "Dry Amber wine from old vineyards". Only vines 50 years old or older are cultivated, the fruit is carefully selected, some stems are used depending on the vintage. Fermentation is relatively recent, 2000 litres of qvevris for the moment. It is light amber in colour, with scents of grain, mushrooms, plums, rain on dry soil and flowers. In the mouth, the wine is concentrated, dominant, full-bodied, with sweet acidity and fleshy maturity. Its bouquet is very clean, with aromas of grapes, apricots, mushrooms and umami. A fragrant, elegant and long wine.
Consumption 2018 - 2025
A brilliant blend of Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane and Kisi vinified in qvevri by Temur Dakishvili. It is amber in colour with aromas of nuts, mushrooms, sap and curdled milk. Smooth, long and lively, it reveals a richness of nuts and apricots, with generous and supple tannins, a round, ripe and well balanced acidity. A gourmet and even gastronomic amber wine.
This wine comes from the Tsolikouri grape variety grown in the Racha-Lechkhumi region of western Georgia on limestone soils at an altitude of 550 m. The specificity of this variety is its late maturity - harvested at the end of October - but it retains its acidity very well. Deep gold rather than amber, with fewer mushroom flavours than Rkatsiteli, and more apple, grape and leaf aromas. On the palate, it is brilliant, elegant and darting, structured by its acidity rather than its tannins. Its acidity is reminiscent of apple, lemon, pear, quince and even pomegranate. A real contrast in style, clearly illustrating regional and varietal differences.
Consumption 2018 - 2022
Deep black-red in colour, it has aromas of blackberry and earth. Deep and concentrated in the mouth, the acids are magnificently linked to this black fruit, the tannins have a fine texture. It is on arrival that you will notice the spicy note of the Saperavi variety, exotic and distinct. A wine similar to the most beautiful red wines of the northern Rhône.
Consumption 2018 - 2023
Vinoterra is the name used in the German cellar Schuchmann for quality Qvevri wines. This wine of the Kisi variety is pale gold in colour, with sober and refined aromas of dried wild flowers and dried apricots. On the palate, too, it is sober and elegant, in all its nuances, but never slipping into the obvious. Once again, the subtle floral style, slightly "walnut", is characteristic of this Georgian aristocratic variety.
Consumption 2018 - 2021
Tsinandali is the name of one of the most popular PDOs in Georgia (for its blend of Rkatsiteli and Mstvane, classically fermented), but in the centre of the PDO is the historic Tsinandali Domain, founded in the 19th century by Prince Alexander TChavchavadze, 175 years ago. This white qvevri is a pure Rkatsiteli, barely deeper than its gold colour, with aromas of walnuts and beeswax. There is apricot fruit and walnut on the palate and its tannins are slightly textured. Graceful, balanced, elegant and fresh.
Consumption 2018 - 2021
Few major Georgian producers have higher quality requirements than Tbilvino, and its qvevri wines are an intrinsic part of it. The company is currently building a new cellar to specialize in Qvevri wines. This excellent Saperavi from its 200 ha of red grape varieties is fermented with 30% stems. It is very dark in colour, with a strawberry tonality. On the palate, there is a fine balance of liveliness and richness typical of the variety, but the fermentation of qvevri and the use of stems seem to have brought a complex aroma, a textural intrigue and a freshness of nut oil that makes this wine deeper and more complex than its peers. An ambitious wine.
One of the darkest and deepest Saperavi wines. This wine needs five years of ageing in the cellar, and it is better to decant it if it is drunk earlier. Its aromas of intense blackberry, blackcurrant and sloe make it a lively and robust wine.
This grape of the Saperavi variety comes from the famous village of Napareuli, which has its own PDO for red wines based on Saperavi. The wine goes through a French oak barrel for a year after its fermentation in qvevri. A wine with fresh, clean and refined aromas of undergrowth and spices, against a backdrop of dark fruits and currants. The classically vinified Schuchmann reds also have this elegant freshness and gooseberry tones on the palate, but this qvevri version is warmer, richer, with a beautiful inner clarity. A very elegant wine following the example of the style of this famous house in Georgia.
Dugladze is a large company specialized in Tchatcha, Georgian brandy made from grape marc or plums. But its qvevri range (superbly bottled in curved glass bottles) is well designed, accessible and articulated. This young qvevri Kisi has much more aromatic accent than most other qvevri wines, with notes of fruit, moss, jasmine and citrus peel, while on the palate it is complete, long, with supple tannins and acids typical of Kisi wines. A superb introduction to the style of qvevri wine. Dried amber.
Consumption 2018 - 2020
Khareba is a large company that works hard to constantly renew its offer - partly with complex and well-packaged blends of varieties from eastern and western Georgia under the names "Prince Giorgi" and "Queen Tamar". Among its classically fermented grape varieties, Krakhuna from the Imereti region is superb. It has aromas of fruit flowers, alpine flowers and sweet apples, with a very fresh palate that reveals spicy and crunchy flavours of impressive delicacy.