WashPost: Saperavi..The Next Big Thing...

According to DavMcIntyre in today’s WashPost:

Saverapi is the next big thing in new USofA varietials. Playing up its Georgian & Ukraine connections.
Interesting that Dr.KonstantinFrank brought it into the FingerLakes in 1958, but the grape has been languishing
around in that vnyd until it’s just been recognized for it’s greatness. He brought in some 60 varieties from
Ukrainia. I wonder what some of the others are destined for greatness besides Rkatsiteli?? Presumably these were not
legal imports.
Never done did have a US Saperavi, but have had a handful from Georgia. I was struck by their black color and the
degree of extract. However, inept winemaking didn’t help my recognizing Saperavi’s potential for greatness.

I read that article.

It won’t age well.

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Based on exactly what data points, Brig??
Be aware I’m a LosAlamos guy & we can draw dramatic conclusions based on zero data points.

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Just the declaration of the next hot varietal trend which never seems to pan out.

Nothing to do with the grape or the producer.

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I’ve had a few good ones from Georgia, along with a few decent and a lot of mediocre Saperavi wines (more about the wine making than the grape). Not had one from the US.


Story Winery in Amador Co. is owned by Georgians. Ken Zinns and I went there in July. They still make wine in Georgia and bring those wines over to the US to be bottled under the Story label. Ken and I were quite taken with their 2018 Saperavi (now sold out). I have no clue how long to age it.

I believe the plan is to plant Georgian varieties on their property. We saw many qvevri there, waiting to be used. They currently have a Carneros Chardonnay for sale, raised in qvevri. That wasn’t available for tasting when we visited.

Hardly ‘languishing’ as more is being planted around the FL. And as you know, it should be planted up and down the East Coast!

I think they will age fine, I believe Brig’s comment was more about the aging of the “next big thing” prediction. The grape is capable of making deep wines with good tannin levels even at moderate ripeness.


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Well, Marcus… it’s been in the ground for over 60 yrs in the Frank vnyd. And now it’s suddenly the next big thing.
I think that could be termed “languishing” !!

Had a really nice Dr. Konstantin Frank 2016 Finger Lakes Saperavi that a friend brought to an informal wine dinner a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was the best red wine on the table, which included a Carlisle and some other highly-regarded bottles.

There’s a great Saperavi from the Columbia Gorge made by Jeff Vejr at Golden Cluster. He calls it Paint, Dye, Give Color. I sell it for $30/btl in my wine shop here in Portland; not sure about national distribution, tho.

Or maybe (though I doubt it) it’s time has finally come. Of course that wouldn’t [stirthepothal.gif]

We’ve known about it here for awhile. I think its the West Coast flyovers that are caught unawares. [thumbs-up.gif]

Tom isn’t West Coast. FWIW, I’ve seen Saperavi wines on the West Coast starting maybe 25 years ago and was already somewhat familiar with the grape.



Let’s get that as a berserkerday offering. Expand the exposure.

Crap, you’re in NE? My sister lives in overlook. I’ll look you up next time I’m in PDX.

I haven’t been to McGregor in over 20 years so can’t speak for the current quality. Back then it used in a blend and really nice. Just checked to see if that’s still the case and a bit floored on prices.


NM is west coast from where I sit, and most of his reports seem to be from California, so…

NM may be west, but not near a coast.


You consider Chicago to be East Coast then, I assume? Pretty close to the same distance from the coast as where Tom lives in New Mexico. I don’t think he’s been to California for years - just buys some California wines, among others, and posts tasting notes.

And as Al mentioned, Saperavi is far from unknown on the West Coast, but it doesn’t seem to be generally considered that exciting of a grape variety. Obviously there are going to be some great bottles here and there, but very few of the ones I’ve tried would lead me to imagine that it will be the next big thing.

Most people I talk to who’ve heard of Saperavi have a negative impression due t all the plonk made from it. I’ve had good ones that showed it seemed to have the potential to make great wine. But, I think it suffers from being a good workhorse grape.

The Georgian grape I’ve had excellent examples of is Kisi. As good a white variety as any, and distinct. Put it up there with the likes of Fiano, Falanghina and Carricante as a white grape we would benefit from seeing more of. There are plenty of red grapes we don’t see enough of. And, of course, I don’t mean they should be mindlessly planted in every unsuitable plot available, as previous fad grapes have been. But, when you’re looking beyond the same ol’ same ol’ you can find grapes that are good bets to excel at site the standard French grapes don’t.

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