Discover The Wines Of Georgia
Unique Winemaking Style Ray Charles Didn't Sing About
By: Philip S. Kampe & Maria Reveley - Feb 22, 2017
Discover the Wines of Georgia
Our pursuit of Georgian Wines has led us to New York City, where there was a tasting that brought over forty wines from the country known as the ‘cradle of wine’ with over 8,000 vintages. The nation is possibly the world’s oldest wine region and presented traditions to the forefront of the unsuspecting, but, curious tasters.
Georgia is home to over five hundred (500) indigenous varietals, but, only a few venture into the world market. Old World winemaking paired with New World styles drive many of the exported wines into the palate of veteran wine tasters into a frenzy. With the introduction of the ‘Qvevr’ clay vessel used for winemaking and storage, the end result in the palate dominates the taste buds.
What we learned at the Wines of Georgia tasting: Kakheti, located at the extreme eastern edge of the country, is the main wine producing region. Grapes have been cultivated for over 8,000 years in this area, hence, the 8,000 vintages this country boasts about. Kakheti is divided into two regions: inner and outer Kakheti.
Georgia has eighteen appellations and fourteen are in Kakheti, making it, historically, the largest wine growing area in Georgia. Winemaking practices have been transferred from generation to generation in Kakheti, making the regions winemaking traditions unique, mainly due to the use of Qvevri. They are also known as Churi in western Georgia. The Qvevri is a clay vessel used for fermentation, aging and storage of traditional Georgian wines. Wines made using the Qvevri are unique on the palate and especially on the nose. Yes, oak and stainless steel are used for the modern style wines, but wines aged and stored in these terra cotta vessels are the lifeblood of Georgian wines.
Our journey through the wines of Georgia is just beginning.
The photo accompanying represent the wines that stood out at the tasting but need more exploration for me to understand why they are so good. The styles range from white and red to fortified.