Georgia: a visit to dreamland

by Tim Atkin
Visitors to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi were warned to stay off the streets last month. The city has seen its share of disorder over the centuries, but this had...
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
90

2008 Jakeli Saperavi, Kakheti

( N/A, 13.8%, Available from the winery )

An excellent qvevri-fermented Saperavi from a small (6ha), organically certified producer in Georgia’s Eastern Kakheti region. Spicy nose, and candied cherry fruit. Seriously structured, with an attractive rosemary scent, and perhaps not suprisingly a great match with lamb.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2018Similar Wines: 86-90, Georgia, Red, Saperavi
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