When many people think of Georgian wine there minds go to to the state of Georgia and not the country. This is a constant battle when I try and tell them why they should be drinking more Georgian wine. I'm guilty of getting stuck in a wine rut at times. It's easy. You find something you love and you don't leave it. It's conformity. What helps me is attending wine tastings and master classes so I can bring to you my love of wine.
Wine and beauty are very similar. They both present a feeling, a memory, a transformation so to speak. If you ever attend a wine dinner and wonder why they paired certain wines to go with certain dishes is because it's a delicate dance. The wine changes the taste of the dish in the mouth and the food changes the taste of the wine in your mouth. Next, an emotion sets. How do you feel when you enjoy a really good meal and a glass of wine? It's science and emotion. It's really a perfect combination. I find the same joy in a fragrance. The science that went in to make a perfume combined with the joy I feel when applying it. To me they are one in the same. Wine is living an breathing. I see fragrance the same. Although I do not wear it when tasting.
Here's what happens at most wine master class tastings. The good, the bad, and the not so pretty.
- The good. You get to taste lots of wine, meet up with fellow wine colleagues, and learn.
- The bad. You can't wear perfume because it inhibits your sense of taste and smell. Trust me I tried and it's horrible. I can't even think about wearing a goopy lip gloss.
- The not so pretty. There is a lot of spitting in various cups and buckets and weird noises. It's part of the job. You can't drink all that wine because you will be drunk.
Now you have a quick rundown of what happens at a master class tasting, let's discuss why you should be drinking Georgian wine. I dIdn't know much about Georgian wines until I attended the tasting class with a few wine journalists, sommeliers, and restaurant people. It peaked my interest and it's definitely a place on my list to visit. Now you know how tastings work, let's get on to the business of all that good Georgian wine.
First, where in the world is Georgia?
Georgia is located in the continent of Asia, but shares land borders with Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. It is at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe and next to the Black Sea. Georgia has over 525 indigenous grape varietals and has produced over 8000 vintages. Georgian wines are made in the old tradition of using a qvevri, a vessel made of clay to ferment and store wine and stainless steel. The main grape varieties in Georgian wines are rkatsiteli, saperavi and mtsvane.
Bagrationi is the big boy of the Georgian wine world. It covers over 80% of their domestic market and has been around since 1882. They produced sparkling in the tradition of Champagne and Charmat. A few others including Château Mukhrani's 2012 Saperavi were worth me finding them to bring home. My favorite of the tasting was a rosé and the 2014 Pheasant's Tears Saperavi which has notes of blackberry, reminded me of Essie's Wicked Nail Polish, and a wine I could easily get used to drinking. If you are a wine nerd like me, Alice Feiring's book on Georgian wine is a must to have on your shelf. Georgian wines are not the easiest to find, but they are definitely worth exploring. I suggest going to your local wine store to find them.