95

2010 Alaverdi Monastery Rkatsiteli, Kakheti

( POA, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )

This is the wine that first won me over to the charms of the qvevri – the most astoundingly complex nose of tea leaves, baked apples, jasmine, herbs and plum compote (and bear in mind my description does not remotely do it justice). Very much an amber/orange style, with chewy but perfectly ripe tannins – and yet the fruit shines through effortlessly. Outstanding.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2018Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Georgia, White, Rkatsiteli
93

2008 Vinoterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Kakheti

( N/A, 13%, Available from the winery )

A fascinating example of what happens if you take an international variety (Cabernet Sauvignon in this case) and ferment/mature it in a qvevri – in this case the wine was also matured in oak. Cabernet’s minty blackcurrant footprint is clearly present, together with herbaceous, spicy and balsamic hints. This is a big wine, with very ripe fruit, but super fresh and really rather elegant. Perhaps not entirely authentic, but original and stays true to the qvevri style. I drank this with Christmas roast goose and all the trimmings – a tough gig, but it held up.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2028Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Georgia, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon
92

2009 Vinoterra Saperavi, Kakheti

( €15.90, 13%, Geovino )

Trademark Saperavi produced by Gogi Dakishvili at Schuchmann Wines – Saperavi is perhaps the most important indigenous red grape variety in Georgia today. Peppery, raspberry and prune fruit with an attractive balsamic note. Spicy, tannic but well balanced. Feels effortless.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2020Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Georgia, Red, Saperavi