They are meditative wines, sumptuous and subtle.


ANDREW JEFFORD, WINE WRITER IN FINANCIAL TIMES

Home to more than 500 unique grapes. 

Georgia boasts more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes—nearly one-sixth of the world’s grape varieties—including endangered vines found nowhere else on Earth. In fact, some vineyards feature living vine” libraries” where visitors can sample rare grapes. Winemakers employ a range of winemaking techniques—from the traditional Georgian method of fermenting wine in clay qvevris to the European process, to a hybrid approach that incorporates elements of each. 

Today, more than 70% of wine is produced in Kakheti, making it Georgia’s primary winemaking region. Although approximately 80 different grape varieties are recorded in Kakheti, perhaps the two most important are Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. 

Which means that if you’re interested in exploring the unique flavors of Georgian wines, these are the two you should know:

Saperavi

Deep in fruit character, yet brisk with acidity, this gutsy grape presents a unique alternative to everyday reds. The leading red variety in Georgia, Saperavi (sah-per-ah-vee) is indigenous to the country.

Translated literally as “the place of color”, Saperavi reflects a deep, inky and often fully opaque colorIt is one of the few teinturier—red skin and red flesh—grape varieties in the world. This varietal has aromas and flavors of dark berries, licorice, grilled meat, tobacco, chocolate and spices. 

Rkatsiteli

Though it can now be found growing throughout Georgia as well as abroad, this white grape variety is believed to have first appeared during the 1st century A.D. 

Rkatsiteli makes noticeably acidic but balanced white wines with a full flavor profile and good body. Restrained and refreshing, with crisp green-apple flavors and hints of quince and white peach, Rkatsiteli yields a more complex and fortified wine when made using the traditional Georgian method. 

Many high-quality table wines, regional wines, and appellation-controlled wines are produced from Rkatsiteli grapes, using both European (classical) and Georgian (traditional qvevri) methods. Rkatsiteli grapes are frequently mixed with the Mtsvane kakhuri variety.

Continue the journey with a host of indigenous varieties. 

Of the 500 grape varieties cultivated in Georgia, approximately 40 are currently in commercial production. 

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