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Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Daily Mail": Make mine an amber nectar! Marks & Spencer serves up orange wine surprise from Eastern Europe...but is £8.99 tipple really the drink of the gods?

    No ordinary plonk: The new wine called Tblvino Quevris is from Kakheti in Georgia
  • The wine called Tblvino Qvevris has come from Kakheti in Georgia
  • Follows an 8,000 year tradition where it is aged in traditional clay amphora
  • Specialists said they were impressed with the 'complexity' of the wines
by Sean Poultier

17.11.2013. Colours have long been used as a simple cue to help identification. Children’s medicines are a sickly pink, Ferraris are red, apple juice comes in green cartons and wine is red and white – or rose.

However, a new orange or amber wine has arrived on shelves from Georgia, an eastern European country not universally known as a producer of fine vintages.

In fact the Tbilvino Quevris wine, which comes from Kakheti, Georgia, has a long and intriguing history.

Georgia lays claim to being the birth place of viticulture and this wine is made from Rkatsiteli grapes, which are one of the oldest known varieties in the world.

The evidence comes from the fact the seeds have been found in Georgian clay vessels that date back to 3000BC.

The production method involves leaving the skins in contact with the juice for longer than usual period during fermentation, which results in the unique colour and complex taste.

Following the 8,000 year old Georgian winemaking tradition, it is fermented and aged in traditional clay amphora, or qvevri.

Mid-range: The 'complex' wine is being sold for £8.99 per bottle at the retailer
Mid-range: The 'complex' wine is being sold for £8.99 per bottle at the retailer

Importantly, this is no cheap plonk, for the wine is being sold by Marks & Spencer at £8.99 a bottle.

Wine expert from M&S, Jeneve Williams, said: ‘Most ‘normal’ white wines are produced by quickly separating the juice from the seeds and skins, keeping a pale colour.

‘Orange wines, or amber wines as they are often called are actually white wines produced more like reds – with prolonged contact with the crushed grape skins and seeds, resulting in a deeper colour from the pigments found in grape skins.

‘When visiting Georgia earlier this year to blend new wines, we were excited to try the style – and were impressed with the complexity of the wines.

‘Rather than being orange, they are actually more a deep amber or tawny colour and on the palate possess the texture, body and tannins of red wines with the fruit and minerality of white wines.

‘Increasingly our customers are becoming more adventurous and on the search for something a bit different. I think people will need to be open minded, but they will be rewarded with something unique.’

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