Georgia is the place where monks and some winemakers alike still bury wine-to-be under the ground in ancient vessels called ‘qvevri’. These pitchers resemble amphora with their shape and material from which they are made of – the clay. Everything goes inside the quevri – grapes with skins, stalks, grape stone. Grapes ferment on its natural yeast and later mature into full-bodied wine in qvevri hermetically closed and buried under the ground. This aging process takes usually about 5-6 months leading to full-bodied and highly tannic wines (long contact with skins and stalks releases more tannins into wine). Such description might sound a bit detracting, yet these wines are velvety, intense and if made by conscious producers also surprisingly very well-balanced.
A brooding look from Alaverdi Monastery
So, London is sitting back and relaxing (baking in a heatwave no less), after possibly one of the busiest weeks in the annual wine calendar – ever. We had two “natural” wine fairs running back to back, and merging seamlessly into the four day London International Wine Fair (which I didn’t attend). I’ve been trying to reflect on my personal position vis-a-vis “natural wines”, and how that may have changed after two such major expositions of this developing movement.