Friday, May 10, 2013

Whole truth about Georgian wine

10.05.2013. Who can tell about Georgian traditions of feast and Georgian wine better than a true toastmaster, an expert in the history and origin of famous toasts? Solomon (Bichi) Tezelishvili is not only a professional toastmaster, but the author of many books about the culture of the Georgian feasts, way of life, mythology and philosophy of different centuries, legal benefits and unique Encyclopedia of aesthetics. He has told GeorgiaTimes the whole truth about Georgian wine.

- Today, the phrase "Georgian feast" has become the personification of hospitality of the Georgian people. How was the culture of doing the Georgian feast born?

- Georgia is one huge feast, a gift of the ancestors who have taught us to abide all the rules of conduct at the table. Georgian feast is as much art as our past history. In Georgian mythology the land, the grapes and the sun are closely tied, all depends on each other. The vine in ancient times was considered a symbol of life postponing the death. In Georgia, there was a pagan custom: a woman could not touch the vessel in which the wine was fermenting; she also could not wash the wine dishes. She was allowed to touch these wine vessels only if in the house there was no adult male. It was allowed to pour the wine only remembering the deceased; today this tradition has remained only among the Georgians: remembering the deceased we pour a little wine is bottled on food and bread.

- Which country is the birthplace of wine?

- According to the old Jewish legends, the birthplace of wine in the Caucasus is Georgia. In ancient times, the grape was used only for food, a little later they began making juice and wine, and then began using grape leaves. In Georgia, there are more than 300 varieties of grapes.

- Can the wine rightly be considered the pride of Georgia?

- Wine in Georgia is not just a drink - it's a national treasure. Center for the cultivation of grapes and making wine has always been Eastern Georgia - Kakheti. Alazanskaya Valley is located geographically perfectly: it is protected from the wind and surrounded by many rivers and endowed with excellent soil - all this creates a unique and original flavor and bouquet of wine. The vintage in Georgia is a special feast, accompanied by joy, singing and dancing. The crop is being brought to "Marani" - a special room, and poured into a juicer - "satsnakheli." Usually grapes should be crushed down with legs to protect the pits that give a special spicy bitterness and change the taste. Then the crushed pulp is being mixed in a special large clay jars for fermentation - "kvevri." "Kvevri" is completely buried in the ground, and only a neck hole is at floor level. This creates a constant temperature for fermentation.

In Georgia, today there are more than 500 varieties of grapes, so Georgia is considered the center of viticulture and winemaking. Climatic and geographical features are the main conditions for growing grapes and producing particularly tasty wine. Kindzmarauli is considered to be a symbol of Georgian wine. Microzone Kindzmarauli is located in Qvareli, on the coast of the river Duruji, and extends to 400 hectares. Grapes grown here is different from all the other thanks to original taste and high sugar content in the fruit. But one of the main features is the fact that even if the grapes is not collected until late fall, it would not get out of order, quite the contrary, it would only improve taste, which subsequently will affect the quality of wine. Kindzmarauli was Stalin's favorite wine. In the territory of Kindzmarauli, in addition to saperavi, there also grow white grape varieties, and it is a mistake to believe that Kindzmarauli is only red wine. The company "Kindzmarauli" has a collection of wines including the white and rose wines, specially manufactured for women.

- It is true that the taste of wine depends on the dish from which it is drunk? Were there certain rules of drinking wine?

- Dishes for the wine may be made of wood, copper, silver, gold. This may be a horn, a bowl or a small barrel. But now, unfortunately, they often drink wine from glass or cut glass dishes, and this separates us from ancient traditions. Horn has always been an important attribute of a feast of all nationalities living in Georgia and in many countries of the Caucasus.

- From the stories of many elders we know that there were some nuances of the feast. Tell us about them.

- In Georgian feast there should be no man with weapon. This was considered a sign of distrust to the host and others. In ancient times it was believed that the weapons defiles drink of the Gods. Therefore, the host hid the guests' weapons in a safe place and after the feast returned it to the owners.

Prior to 10-12 centuries, the women were banned to take part in the feast in Georgia. Since 14-15 centuries, woman seated at one side of the table, and men - at the other. Many historical documents show that it was not accepted to drink a lot of wine at the table, an average of about 7-8 cups.

- Do you have any own recipes for alcoholic drinks?

- There are a few, but I would like to talk about vodka on Stalin's recipe. It consisted of 500 ml of fruit brandy (chacha), 1 red capsicum, 2-3 cloves of garlic. All this was to be infused for several days and drunk in a small amount every day before dinner.

- Since ancient times to the present day scientists are arguing about how much alcohol is harmful to the body, the effect on a person's appetite and, of course, on weight. What is your opinion?

- Sweet drinks, of course, are high-calorific. They increase the appetite. On the other hand, it is proved that alcohol helps lipolysis in the body. I can give you a few examples of calorie in alcoholic beverages: beer - 38, dry wine - 50, gin and tonic - 95, vodka - 180, cognac - 200, rum, whiskey, tequila - 237, liquor - 336. Dr. Guaze wrote: "For human health the wine - it's a way to avoid the disease, for ailing - it is a means of healing." Pure grape wine has a beneficial effect on the liver, helps dis-intoxication and many other processes. Of course, I mean small amount. Wine contains vitamin C and sometimes it is used in surgery. It has very good effect on renal function, stimulates the nervous system and increases blood hemoglobin.


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