Some interesting ideas about amber wines

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» Gregory Alonzo: The Georgian Feast: Supra, the Tamada, and Sweet Wines Photos below story » Eve’s Wine 101

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What is a supra? This is the Georgian word for a “feast.” Food and drink are especially important to the cultures of the Caucasus. The supra is comprised of a vast array dishes oftentimes representing the various regions throughout the country. Let’s not forget the wine. The supra is also accompanied by large amounts of wine and a dinner can last for several hours.During a Georgian supra, the role of the “tamada or toastmaster,” is an important and honored tradition. Since the dinner is more of an event rather than a meal, the tamada is expected to keep the festivities moving along and ensure that the wine keeps flowing. Since the tamada is in essence an entertainer, it is not unusual for our toastmaster to sing songs or recite poetry, and of course, make the obligatory toasts.

via » Gregory Alonzo: The Georgian Feast: Supra, the Tamada, and Sweet Wines Photos below story » Eve's Wine 101.

kvevri — Food Stories

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They get these massive clay pots called qvevri, and they bury them in the ground. Then they whack everything juice, skins, stems in there, seal it up with clay and let it all separate out. The wine is then drawn off the top very carefully using a special jug on a stick. They use a really old grape variety called Rkatsiteli which comes out freakin’ orange! Then there’s another one, which is red and called Saperavi. They’re both native to Georgia. The first time I tasted the orange wine, I was quite taken aback; that stuff is just totally unlike any wine I’ve ever tasted; kinda funky but, you know what? I got into it. By the end of that trip I think we were all a bit Georgian.

via kvevri — Food Stories.

Wine tours in Georgia

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The region tour allows you to visit a number of Georgian wineries, taste the wines from the modern wineries or home made wine and experience the people and landscape where the grapes are harvested. Visit the flourishing vineyards and wineries of Kakheti and enjoy the delicious wine and warm hospitality of the local population!The richest wine-growing and wine-making region of Georgia, populated with hospitable, openhearted and straightforward people, who live surrounded by mountain chains, old castles, beautiful churches and drink wine as early as mother’s milk – Kakheti province is a “must do”.

via Wine tour.

BBC News – My Business: From old cellar to successful winery

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For the Gamtskitsulashvili twins, the clay vessels are a source of income but also of great pride. They are everywhere: even some of the hotel rooms are decorated with examples of the vessels, split in two to reveal the unique way they make their wine.

According to Gela, making wine in the big clay kvevris infuses it with a special aroma and rich taste. “This way we have learnt from our ancestors and it differs from the European way,” says Gela.

via BBC News – My Business: From old cellar to successful winery.

Qvevri | Qin Xie

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it’s impossible to deny the vibrancy of the fruit and natural sweetness of the wine. And there’s really few phrases which would describe that feeling well, except perhaps “the overwhelming sense of being alive”.Is it just because it’s a natural wine? Having tasted a sizeable selection of other natural wines and non-qvevri Georgian wines, I’m not so sure. There was definitely something about the qvevri which gave the wine its special characteristic, unrepresented anywhere else. Perhaps that’s why qvevri wine production has gained increasing popularity outside of Georgia with Josko Gravner in Italy being one of the most well known amongst the international wine crowd. Sadly, production and export is so limited that it’s extremely rare to find qvevri wines for sale.

via Qvevri | Qin Xie.

The FINANCIAL – Georgia Aiming to Hold Top Place in the List of Wine Tourism Countries

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“We have a list of the best ‘maranis’ which are already prepared to receive international visitors. The majority of such places are located in Kakheti. But some other regions including Racha, Imereti, Guria, Qartli and Ajara have great potential,” Sidamonidze stated.The list is published on the special webpage http://www.winetours.ge. There is detailed information about Kakheti, the biggest region of vineyards in Georgia. Information about 16 maranis at Kakheti with all details including price, possibilities of accommodation, Georgian cuisine, souvenir shops and guides are available on this webpage. All necessary information about tour operators is published on this webpage as well. Each tour operator offers their own programme with different services and prices.

via The FINANCIAL – Georgia Aiming to Hold Top Place in the List of Wine Tourism Countries.

TRAVEL: Jews in Georgia

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I was looking forward to visiting Kutaisi, the second biggest city in Georgia, and I was not disappointed. David the Builder lived there, and, according to legend, Jason sailed in the Argonaut on the local Rioni River to get the Golden Fleece. The Bagrati Cathedral was built at the end of the 10th century and is worth a visit. Nearby are the ruins of a military fortification, a small church and an 11th century wine house where you can still see kvevri, or clay wine vessels, in the ground. Each kvevri is about three and a half feet across. Our guide said that surely the Jews in Georgia used this traditional wine-making technique.

via TRAVEL: Jews and Jeeps | San Diego Jewish Journal.

Sampling Georgia’s Old World wines – Travel – NZ Herald News

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The traditional Georgian way to make wine is with a kvevri. Putting the grapes – with the skins still on – into a big clay pot and burying it in the ground. The pot is lined with beeswax to stop oxidation.

The result is a very different tasting wine from what we’re used to. Now I’m not going to pretend to be a wine expert, but I drink enough of the stuff and I know what I like. And I like Georgian wine.

Pheasants Tears didn’t offer a white, instead it has an amber wine, with a nice hint of honey. I also enjoyed their black wine. A very dark red, apparently the skins are left on the grapes until the very last minute.

Up until recently, Georgia exported its wine solely to Russia. But amid worsening relations in 2006, Russia banned all Georgian exports so wine producers were forced to explore the global market.

The traditional kvevri process came under threat as big producers adopted European methods using stainless steel and oak to give the wines a mainstream taste. A handful of organic producers have stayed the course though and as international wine drinkers get bored of the same old stuff they’ve been drinking forever, places like Pheasants Tears are slowly but surely seeing a demand for their product. So if you ever see traditional Georgian wine in New Zealand – give it a go.

Next destination after Georgia, well that’s where we hit a snag. Our plan was Central Asia but being journalists makes getting visas to some countries there very difficult. So our next stop is India, we’ll explain why in the next blog.

By Charlotte Whale

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