Recently I met with two gentlemen in Camas forming a company to import wines from Georgia. Andre and George are testing the waters in the hopes of finding a market for Georgian wines. I sampled 6 wines that are not yet available here in the Northwest.  For a few words about their venture, visit examiner.com for my blog post.  If you’re interested in trying these wines, make your interest abundantly clear to retailers, restaurants, and to Andre!

Georgian wines aren’t very popular in America, yet. They’ve been imported to the East Coast, and some are available in local european grocers, but the lack of familiarity has NW consumers purchasing very little of these hidden gems so far. One reason is that under Soviet rule, the best wines went to the high-demand Russian market. A second reason is the lack of consumer and trademark protection in the USSR.

Republic of Georgia Map

The new countries of the former Soviet Union, Georgia on the left

Here’s one good reason to appreciate paying taxes and having a european style of government: In the old USSR, the best winemakers could have a great wine one year, only to find their success usurped by someone making terrible wines who simply copied the label. The motivation for making great wine became internalized at best, with little driving force behind investing time & effort toward greatness.

Now Georgia is a free country, and Russia has decided to ban Georgian wines. The wines are better, cheaper, and abundantly available from a plethora of highly motivated sellers!

Tasting the Kindzmarauli Marani Wines

kmwineThe wines I tasted with Andre and George would all sell for under $15 and included the following (the words you probably don’t recognize in the titles are Georgian grape names):

2005 Kakhetian Royal Dry White

The big body and creamy apple character of this wine is typical of the USSR consumer style. Balanced acidity makes the heft enjoyable and clean, as well as uniquely different from American and European whites.

2005 Saperavi Barrel Select

The bright red nose led toward a fruit forward body with surprisingly good structure.  Good acidity gripped the mid palate that preceded dark cherry.  A long cherry finish made the wine fully approachable and easy to drink.  At this age is seemed at its peak.

2006 Saperavi Cabernet

This blend was their value release and would probably retail around $11, if not under $10!  The dried cherry nose enters young, and continues with lightly dusty fruit toward a smooth finish.  Fully worthy for both being so unique and so drinkable.

Kindzmarauli Original Semi-Sweet Red

Not as sweet as a Greek Mavrodaphne, here’s a Beaujolais lover’s red.  A friendly bouquet of strawberry, raspberry and orange peel introduced the bright flavors and approachable character.  A surprising small amount of tannin in the finish gave me all the reason I needed to crave rich, creamy burnt cream desserts, flan, chocolate creme brulee or cheesecake.  It was refreshing at room temp, but could easily be served lightly chilled.

2005 Kakhetian Royal

Made from Saperavi and Budeshuri varieties, this wine was dry and had a nice structure and layered depth.  A good balanced finish and drying tannins were well integrated and delicious.  Well done!

georgiamap

Take a closer look at the country

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