Tag-Archive for ◊ Mudzhuretuli ◊

22 Oct 2009 Georgian Wines…7000 years and going strong!

Archeologists have found evidence of wine production carbon-dated to around 5000 BC in the country of Georgia.  The word, wine, comes from the Georgian word “gvino” which the Greeks and Romans shortened to vino which the French then changed it to vin.  Georgia has over 500 unique grape varietals.  38 grape varietals are officially allowed for commercial viticulture.  The approved varietals include: Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Chinuri, Goruli, Mtsvane, Kakhuri Mtsvane, Odzhaleshi, Orbeluri Odzhaleshi, Aladasturi, Obchuri Dzvelshavi, Aligote, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Usakhelouri, Alexandriuli, Mudzhuretuli, Otskhanuri Sapere, Krakhuna, Chkhaveri, Tetra, and Khikhvi.

Georgia geography is basically a valley located between two mountain ranges and the Black Sea.  Most of the valley is planted with grape vines.  It is the same latitude as parts of France, Italy, Spain and Northern California.  So, it has the potential to produce great grapes and should start to be taken seriously in the West.  Georgia has five viticultural zones: Kakheti, Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi, and the humid subtropical zone.

Georgia has become known for its sparkling wine.  The sparkling wine has been nearly completely consumed by Russia and former Soviet Union states  until the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.  Russia has started to boycott Geogian products, so Georgian wine producers have started to export their still and sparkling wines beyond Russia. 

The wine distributor that I work for has started to carry the Bagrationi 1882 sparkling wines from Georgia.  If you have an opportunity to try these sparkling wines, I suggest that you do.  The wines are made from varietals only available in Georgia resulting in a unique flavor profile somewhere between Champagne and Cava.  The methode champenoise produced sparkling wines are produced from the Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska varietals.  Chinebuli is a rare varietal from the Kartli region of Georgia.  The charmat method sparkling wines are non-vintage with some variable % of  Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska varietals depending on the specific lot.