Price: 21.99 GBP (Equivalent per bottle) ABV: 13%
We guarantee you will never have tried a wine remotely like this before! Where do we start? Perhaps with Simon Woolf’s recent review on Tim Atkin MW’s website:
“This is the wine that first won me over to the charms of the qvevri – the most astoundingly complex nose of tea leaves, baked apples, jasmine, herbs and plum compote (and bear in mind my description does not remotely do it justice). Very much an amber/orange style, with chewy but perfectly ripe tannins – and yet the fruit shines through effortlessly. Outstanding. (95 points)”
This Rkatsiteli is created by Friar Gerasim of the Alaverdi Monastery in the Kakheti region of Georgia, in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. The Monastery itself was founded in the 6th century, and their winery dates from the 11th century - Rkatsiteli grapes from 4o year old vines are bought from, or are donated by, organic and natural growers from within its very large congregation. The wine is fermented with skins and stems inside the traditional Georgian quevri, and left on the skins and stems for 3-6 months. There is no filtering or fining, and only minimal amounts of sulphur added. Unoaked.
Matured in bottle for 8 months before a limited release of 6,700 bottles.
Empty bottles lined the windows, greening the grey Tbilisi afternoon; I sat next to Metropolitan Davit of Alaverdi in the gathering gloom. We stared together at a deeply coloured white wine in our glasses. It had been made at his monastery.
That wine seemed, strangely, to gather and amplify the remaining light. I asked the bishop (a former architect) what words he might use to describe it. “Golden wine,” he said, after a pause. “Gold is a thing of great value. When the painters were choosing colours, gold would give the most depth of impression. The wine has spring aromas, but at the same time those of golden autumn, because it has passed through those periods. You can even feel a bit of winter freeze in it, a coolness experience. If gold could have an aroma and a flavour, this would be it.” And then his iPhone rung.
Georgian journalists visit the Royal Wine Cellar of the Alaverdi Monastery in Kakheti Region of Georgia. In the cellar journalists have the opportunity to learn the ancient tradition of Georgian wine making.
As it is mentioned on the official site of the monastery, since the XI century the Royal Monastery of Alaverdi represents a sacred place for the Kings of Kakheti - Hereti area of Georgia. It is the dwelling place of many Georgian saints and monks. At the same time, the monastery and its wine cellar has become one of the core places of Qvevri type Kakhetian traditional wine making.
Georgia, one of the oldest producing wine regions in the world, is rich in tradition. However, it is not every day that you get an opportunity to experience the rich wine and food traditions of a unique wine producing country, like Georgia. Given its uniqueness Georgia's wine is getting attention, as noted by #winelover Luiz Alberto (Lotus Vini Inc.). During a recent #EWBC post-conference trip to Georgia sponsored by the Georgian Wine Association, Spaswinefood had the opportunity to experience first hand the wonderful Georgian hospitality centered around wine making and cuisine.
Georgian hospitality at Shumi © Spaswinefood
There are said to be more than 500 grape varieties grown in the Republic of Georgia--one of the world's oldest wine producing regions--but when it comes to white wine, the most important one to learn about is Rkatsiteli.