92

2008 Vinoterra Mtsvane, Kakheti

( €11.90, %, Available from the winery )

Apart from being almost impossible to pronounce (seemingly half the letters are silent), Mtsvane has an entrancing soft, rounded texture, and in this example, an aroma of tea leaves and spiced plums. This is a great example of how these amber wines age effortlessly – and indeed are much better after a couple of extra years in bottle, when the tannins resulting from extended skin contact in the qvevri have integrated a bit.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2016Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Georgia, White, Mtsvane
94

2010 Alaverdi Monastery Kisi, Kakheti

( POA, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )

Alaverdi’s Kisi spends 6 months in the Qvevri, the skins and stalks lending it its deep amber colour, with fine-grained but persistent tannins. The aromas are intensely herbal, almost medicinal with hints of caramel and musk. Quite full bodied, with peachy, cooked stone fruit dominating the palate. Hugely complex, but needs food to show at its best.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2022Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Georgia, White, Kisi
90

2011 Alaverdi Monastery Saperavi, Kakheti

( POA, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )

Alaverdi only produce around 20,000 bottles a year, and they had already run out of the 2010 vintage when we visited in November 2012. This 2011 Qvevri sample needs another year for the rather brutal tannins to resolve, but the purity and focus of the dark, berry fruit is evident. There’s some attractive ginger spiciness, terrific freshness and what Charles Metcalfe describes very aptly as a “balsamic hint”.

BuyDrinking window: 2014-2024Similar Wines: £20-£30, 86-90, Georgia, Red, Saperavi
92

2011 Kera Wine Tsolikouri, Kakheti

( N/A, 13.5%, Available from the winery )

Apricot stone aroma, intense minerality and savoury fruit. You’d hardly know this qvevri-fermented wine had spent much time on the skins, as there’s very little phenolic influence. Beautiful balance, bone dry and a terrific match with a traditional Georgian salad of aubergines and tomatoes.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2014Similar Wines: 91-95, Georgia, White, Tsolikouri