A shorter version of this article was published in Meininger Wine Business International Issue 4, 2017. Georgia’s ancient wine culture is undoubtedly marketing gold, with taglines such as “8,000 vintages”, “The cradle of wine” and “525 indigenous varieties”. Together with the sacred tradition of making wine in giant, buried terracotta vessels (qvevri), this has exalted
Christmas means different things to everyone but to me it means dodging career talks and getting new pyjamas. It doesn’t stop there – There is much, much more not to like. To pick but a few from the Grinch’s hat: Rampant commercialism, Christmas music, Christmas TV, Christmas hats, him and her and ‘for the cooks in
I’d like to propose a toast to the Georgian grape harvest. To Georgia’s ancient ladies and their pirate knives and three-legged stools, their hair in scarves to deflect the burrs I still find in my socks. To a total lack of mechanisation, organisation and weather stations; and to zero early starts. To Ramaz’s family
What you should know about Ramaz Nikoladze is that he eats chillies whole, listens to punk and has a great former stray cat that he once drove 3.5 hours to the vet, who slept on our bed and whose name we said wrong for days until someone finally asked who we were talking about. He lives
“Sorry, but this is absolutely nuts!”, says one member of our group during a visit to restaurant/apartment/winery Bina 37, and he’s merely stating what everyone else is thinking. We’re talking with Zura Natroshvili, a medical doctor turned traditional winemaker. Well, almost traditional. Most winemakers don’t install their cellars on the 8th floor of a city residential block.
Chinuri is one of the more important white grape varieties indigenous to Kartli, and Iago BItarishvili is without doubt its best exponent. His focus on the grape is absolute, inviting comparison to the Vodopivec brothers in Friuli who focus solely on their native Vitovska. Iago makes two Chinuri wines, one with and one without skin contact.
I’m a huge fan of Georgian qvevri wines – that’s to say, wines made in the 8,000 year old traditional manner, where grapes, skins and sometimes stems are piled into a 500 – 2,000 litre clay amphora-like vessel, buried up to its neck in the ground. The challenge has always been how to get hold of them. But times are changing and one adventurous Dutch wine merchant “Andere Wijn” has hugely expanded their Georgian range.