In celebration of my coming 7 hr layover in Atlanta Monday, we tried two Georgian reds:
Otskhanuri Sapere Red dry (Qvevri’s wine; 12%; www.BlueDanubeWine.com) Amiran Vepkhvadze/Kldeeti/
Zestaphoni/Imereti/Georgia 2014: Very dark/black color; very intense grapey/extracted/PS-like very dusty/earthy/loamy/Kansas root cellar chocolaty/licorice very ripe/overripe nose; soft/fat/porky intense grapey/chocolaty/overripe/over-extracted/PS-like earthy/loamy some bitter/astringent flavor w/ light soft/chewy tannins; very long somewhat bitter intense/grapey/chocolaty/PS-like loamy/earthy rather alcoholic finish w/ light soft/overripe tannins; a Jabba the Hut wine; very soft/porky/overextracted no-structure unattractive wine that might go w/ possum fricasse; sorta like a PhilippeCambe-lite wine; way overpriced at $30.00 (CB)
Kindzmarauli Marani Saperavi/Kakheti (14%; www.BlueDanubeWine.com; www.KMWine.Ge; Bttld: 18 09 15)
Kvareli/Georgia 2013: Very dark color; very strong grapey/licorice some boysenberry/PS-like/chocolaty slight herbal earthy/loamy rather alcoholic/fumey bit Dolcetto-like nose; soft/fat/oafish/porky intense grapey/boysenberry/chocolaty/extracted/some Mourv-like earthy/loamy hot/alcoholic flavor w/ light soft/overripe tannins; long soft/oafish/porky intense grapey/boysenberry/chocolatey/PS-like some earthy/loamy quite fumey/alcoholic bitter finish w/ light overripe tannins; a bit more interesting & less over-extracted than #1 but still an ugly/porky/oafish wine and way overpriced at $10.50 (BB)
A wee BloodyPulpit:
- Otskhanuri Sapere: One of Georgia’s oldest grapes:
Another grape with the same linguistic root, but genetically distinct Saperavi, Otskhanuri Sapere is linked to Otskhana, a village in western Georgia hence meaning “Otskhana’s colorful.” Considered to be one of the oldest Georgian varieties, Otskhanuri Sapere grows only in the western part of the country, mostly in Racha-Lechkhumi and Imereti.
Otskhanuri Sapere has medium size leaves with three or five lobes; the teeth are triangular with sharp tips. Its medium-sized bunches are cylindrical-conical, composed of various-sized small and medium round berries. The berries themselves are dark blue. Budburst occurs in mid-April, with ripening in early October. It is susceptible to millerandage, hence uneven ripening and a problem with shot berries, or “hens and chicks.” It has average resistance toward most fungal diseases but is comparatively resistant toward grey rot (Botrytis cinerea), allowing it to remain on the vine even if it is a humid and rainy autumn – an advantage in western Georgia’s humid climate.
Otskhanuri Sapere wines are of an intense ruby color, and a distinctive flavor profile. Firmly structured and tannic, with high acidity, when young it exhibits bright flavors of cherries, forest fruits, plums and herbs. Grippy and toothsome when young, the wines peak after 10-15 years of aging, but can age for an additional 20-30 years. There were but 5 hectares in production reported in 2004, all family holdings in Imereti.
Saperavi: Another old Georgian grape:
Saperavi, meaning “something to color with,” or “to dye,” is Georgia’s leading red grape variety. A very old variety, it is Georgia’s most widely planted red grape, with 10% of all plantings throughout the country (over 4000 ha). Saperavi can be dry, semi-sweet, full-on sweet, or fortified. Both traditional and European methods are used, and it may be aged in French, American, Slavonian, Russian, or Hungarian oak. Regardless of how produced, this tenturier variety gives wines that are inky, often fully opaque, with aromas of dark berries, licorice, grilled meat, tobacco, chocolate and spices. Texturally, the wine is sappy and tannic, with considerable acidity; alcohol levels can range 12-14%. The aromas are terroir-sensitive: cooler regions with cool mountain breeze influence, red berries dominate the fruit character and the wines show more elegance; warmer regions, with darker soils, further the mountains, have more black fruit and meaty notes, with higher alcohol levels.
The diversity of clones and varities of Saperavi attests to the ancient nature of the grape. Ampelographers studying Saperavi over 150 years have discussed at least 17 variations and clones. Many have colorful, evocative names (e.g. Saperavi Budeshuriseburi, lit. “Saperavi with prolonged berries.” In 2012 N. Tsertsvadze alone lists 7 seven different variations of this version and, characterizes S. Budeshuriseburi as a mutant of Saperavi.) Typically the variants were interplanted in small numbers with common, Kakhetian Saperavi.
Leading PDOs based on Saperavi include Napareuli (dry), Mukuzani (dry, often with riper, more intense flavors); and Kindzmarauli (semi-sweet, but with crisp, fresh acidity). The area of Akhasheni, in Kakheti, has a decent concentration of older vines that can produce complex, dynamic and age-worthy expressions of Saperavi. When vinified dry, concentrated, serious efforts merit extended (10-year+) aging. Semi-sweet wines such as PDO Kindzmarauli and PDO Akhasheni are intended for early enjoyment, usually within 1-2 years of bottling. According to the 2004 census, there were 3704 hectares of Saperavi vineyards in Georgia.
- These wines were actually better than I was expecting. No oxidation and pretty much dry…not off-dry or sweet like many Georgian reds. What I find interesting is that (presumably) SweetAlice loves these kinds of wines. They are an over-blown characterization of a Parkerized wine…carried to the extreme.
These come from very old vnyds in Georgia. I would love to see what somebody like Morgan or Tegan could do w/ these wines.