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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wine from Georgia is totally underrated right now

by Jeffrey Shaw

03.07.2013. Oh, you thought Georgia was known for peaches? Well they are, but we’re not talking about that Georgia. We all know and love European wines. France, Spain, and Portugal are the real heavy hitters, providing us with excellent reds and whites. But there’s more to wine in Europe than just a few Western European countries. Georgia, a former Soviet republic in the southern Caucasus, is renowned across the former USSR for its wines. Archaeological research has even uncovered wines from 8,000 years ago in what is today Georgia.

The biggest wine-producing region in Georgia is Kakheti, where the majority of Georgian grapes are grown. Some Georgian wines are still served in their traditional clay bottles. If you can find these, they’ll make a great conversation piece to go along with your glass of wine!

A popular red wine from Georgia is called Kindzmarauli. It’s a semi-sweet wine. Fans of dry reds will like Mukuzani, which is aged for at least three years in oak casks. Mukuzani wines have won awards all over the world for their unique taste. Both of these wines are made from the Saperavi grape, but they taste vastly different because of the differences in how they’re aged and stored. Georgian reds are particularly good with red meat dishes.

White wine fans will love Mtsvani, a dry white wine that shares its name with the grape from which it’s made. And Tsinandali white wine is fermented and then aged for three years to bring out its own distinct flavor. All of them pair well with chicken or fish, and a glass of cool Georgian white wine would be perfect in the summer heat.

And for the adventurous, Georgian fortified wines are some of the finest around. Anaga is a good equivalent to Madeira, while Veria is a delicious vintage white port.

While Georgian wine gets a lot of praise from wine lovers, it’s quite hard to get a hold of in the US. Your best bet is to look for it in grocery stores that cater to Russian-speaking emigrants, or looking online for it. No matter what, getting a few bottles will be completely worth the trouble. Wine from Georgia is totally underrated right now. Try to get your hands on a bottle or two so that you can share with friends and spread the word!

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