Georgia holds an enchanting, almost mythical place in modern wine circles. Widely heralded as one of the oldest wine regions in the world - wine has been made here for over 8,000 years - Georgia boasts over 500 indigenous grape varieties grown in a mind-boggling array of micro-climates, soil types and altitudes. Add to this the ancient Georgian winemaking traditions of fermenting white grapes with skins (orange/amber wine), and using large clay qvevri (amphora) burried undergound for fermentation and ageing, and it's easy to see what makes Georgian wine so beguiling.
Ének Peterson of Freya's Marani is a young Massachusetts native who moved to Georgia in 2014. After becoming fascinated by the unique history and techniques of Georgian winemaking, she first managed Tbilisi natural wine bar Vino Underground, before buying a small house and vineyard in Persati, a small town in the foothills of the Imereti mountains in Georgia's west. In the vineyard Ének works organically with local varieties Tsolikouri and Krakhuna, which she tends by hand and without the use of any additives or chemicals. In the cellar the approach is hands-off and with respect to ancient methods and styles, with grapes crushed by foot, wild fermented and aged in qvevri. We are delighted to have 3 wines from Ének, each very individual but all vivid, energetic and precise.
Queen of the Night: Tsolikouri and Krakhuna grapes fermented without skins in qvevri. A beautifully taut and fragrant white wine with a floral nose, silky texture, fleshy stone fruit and great balance.
Mimoza: Tsolikouri with 10 days on skins and ageing in qvevri. Tangy and structured with masses of pithy grapefruit and some riper stone fruit running underneath. Delightful.
Wind & Rain: Tsolikouri and Krakhuna with 4 months on skins in qvevri. The most savoury and intense of Ének's wines, with spicy quince, citrus peel, smoke and mineral notes.
Over to the east of Georgia, Pheasant's Tears is located it Kakheti, Georgia's largest wine region that sits below the Caucusus mountains and accounts for around three-quarters of Georgia's total wine production. Here a plethora of indigenous varieties are cultivated in iron-rich calcareous soils, with both reds and whites fermented with seeds, stalks and skins in beeswax sealed qvevri that are burried underground for between 3 weeks and 6 months.
Mtsvane Tibaani: Mtsvane from a single hectare of 70 year old vines growing in sandstone and limestone soils in Tibaani. Fermented on skins for 30 days, this is complex and beguiling with a kaleidoscope of aromas from thyme and walnut to dried apricots, white flowers and smoke.
Saperavi: From the local red variety Saperavi, this is bright and very aromatic with smoky redcurrants and violets, leather and spice aromas. Silky and open on the palate with plenty of freshness and structure, reminiscent of a Georgian Cabernet Franc.
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