A Night of Natural Wines in Tbilisi, Georgia
24 September, 2016
 A Night of Natural Wines in Tbilisi, Georgia
Exotic Wine Travel, a platform to promote wine culture and less-known, unique wines, published an article featuring unique and less known Georgian wines. The article offers a helpful guide to various types of Georgian wines that are distinguished for their unique flavor, color and history. Exotic Wine Travel was hosted by John Wurdeman, an American wine producer in Georgia, who invited the guest to his Georgian restaurant and introduced to a big variety of natural Georgian wines. The story starts by describing Georgian supra (feast table) and kantsi, traditional drinking horn, from which Georgians drink wine on special occasions. Here is what the author says:

“The restaurant started to fill up and John and his gang began to perform the famed Georgian polyphonic singing. Next, the guitar came out, then more wine, and then the drinking horns – ‘’Kantsi” in Georgian, the drinking horn is a vessel typically made from an animal horn. Once it is filled, one cannot put it down until the content is emptied–preferably done in one continuous series of gulps. When done drinking, the holder turns the horn upside down and proves to everyone that the content has been emptied out.

Here’s a recap of the wines from that night, along with tasting notes (of course). Natural wines generally have no middle ground; people usually love or hate them. While we may be partial to amber and natural wines, we believe that several of these wines do have the ability to win conventional wine drinkers over to the natural camp. In this context, when we use the term “natural wine”, we are referring to wines that are chemical-free and unfiltered, with little to no sulfites added.

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Kidev erti Tavkveri Pét Nat NV

Tavkveri is a red wine variety from eastern Georgia, native to Kartli but also grown in Kakheti. It is a high-yielding variety and can be made into dry red, dry Rosé, sparkling, and sweet wines. Currently, it isn’t a widely used variety for wine production, even though it shows a lot of potential to deliver many types of crowd-pleasing wine.

This is a pétillant naturel which means that the wine is bottled before the first fermentation of the wine is finished. The fermentation finishes in the bottle which gives off the bubbles. This is a technique embraced by many natural wine producers. This wine is made by a
Frenchman living in Georgia. It is light and has persistent bubbles that create a frizzante sensation in the mouth. It is clear and pink in color. There are subtle strawberry and cream soda flavors, which have us craving for more intensity from this wine.

Makaridze Winery Tsitska 2015

Tsitska is a grape variety grown in west Georgia and a variety that we have become very fond of. This traditional qvevri wine is incredibly light, crisp, and delicious. The flavors are dominated by characteristics of peach, pear, melon, and lemon. This wine has obviously received skin contact because of the nice, soft tannins but people might not think it is a qvevri wine because of the lack of nuttiness. A refreshing wine that kickstarts a celebratory evening on the perfect note.

Archil Natsvlishvili Rkatsiteli 2015

Rkatsiteli is the most ubiquitous white wine variety in Georgia; almost half of the white wine grapes grown in Georgia are Rkatsiteli. It is a hardy variety that is resistant to cold weathers and maintains high acidity and high sugar as it ripens. This variety can be made into dry, semi-sweet, and fortified wines and brandy. Rkatsiteli is relatively quiet in aroma and as such, is often blended with Mtsvane Kakhuri to create a more expressive nose. Such blends of Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane Kakhuri are found in PDOs like Gurjaani, Tsinandali, and Vazisubani.

John is usually a strong proponent of this wine, but is disappointed with how it’s showing this particular evening. The first aroma that pops out of this amber wine is peeled banana. Flavors of pineapple, peach, and apricot show up afterward and the grippy tannins make this a perfect companion to food. Wonderful and well-made, with not even a trace of muskiness–a common characteristic found in many natural wines–but not the most striking bottle.

Tsikhelishvili Wines Rkatsiteli 2013

Made by a winemaker who owns two-hectare of vineyards and uses the grapes to produce only this wine and a Mtsvane. This is the star of the night for both of us, Charine and Matthew. It is an amber wine made in Kakhetian qvevri method–a method that is touted to create the fullest, most powerful and most expressive wine in Georgia. Golden in color; on the nose, it has aromas of cherry, strawberry, cilantro, and a touch of straw. On the palate, it shows up immediately with a pronounced yet gentle weight, held together by a directive structure. A wine that shows the typical flavors of a well-made amber wine with characteristics of honey and green tea, yet it drinks like a fresh red wine with its red fruit and dark floral notes and astringent tannins.

Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli 2015


A bright color, clean, and fresh qvevri wine. The explosive flavors are reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, and apricot, executed with a gentle weight on the palate. Despite the skin contact, there is no nuttiness present but the tannins may be considered strong by a lot of people. A bodacious wine that does very well with food.

Pheasant’s Tears Rosé Rkatsiteli 2015

Made with a rare clone of Rkatsiteli in traditional qvevri style; Rkatsiteli is typically used to make white or amber wine, but this clone departs an alluring bright ruby red pigmentation to this rosé wine. The wine is light on the palate and shows flavors of strawberry, apricot, and nuts, powered by a subtle but distinct grip. This is the first vintage of a Rosé Rkatsiteli made by Pheasant’s Tears and is a very solid offering", - The article reads.

Read full story here

Related stories:

New discovery of 5000 year old grapes suggests Georgia is the cradle of viticulture

“Raise a glass in Georgia” – CNN’s Anthony Bourdain joins Georgian feast


Alice Feiring’s “Odyssey through the world’s most ancient wine culture” in Georgia


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