KAKHETI VISITS: KHAREBA
During our single day round trip in Kakheti, we visited SCHUCHMANN winery (Kisikhevi) in the morning (see article), KHAREBA winery (Kvareli) in the afternoon and PHEASANT’S TEARS wine cellars and much more (Sighnaghi) in the evening. It was a fantastic day, perfectly organized by MAKA APKHAZAVA-GERBER by order of the GEORGIAN WINE ASSOCIATION. Highly recommended!
Our host LADO KIRVALIDZE (Executive Director) of KHAREBA Winery gave us a great impression of the past and the future of the Eastern location of this company, in Kvareli. The past was a 7,7 km long tunnel under the massive Caucasus mountains, where the best wines were kept for ageing under ideal temperature and humidity. The future is a more ‘photogenic’ recently rebuild tunnel for tastings and visits. The soil of Kakheti is very rich in lime and gives a great potential for white wines, especially from traditional local grapes. Khareba winery uses modern technology to keep the white wines very fresh, elegant and fruity, both in the Eastern as the Western part. In the Western part, in Imereti, Khareba produces sparkling wines from the very interesting tsitska grape variety and some white and red wines. Both parts have a great future thanks to the perfect combination of modern technology and old autochthonous varietals. This is absolutely a winery to follow, not only because their wines are well made and really pleasant, with a high drinkability, but also because they can produce good, modern and unique wines for a very interesting price (I didn’t write ‘cheap’, but every cent is worth it).
I really enjoyed the WHITE WINES of this company:
TSITSKA 2009 (Western Georgia): fresh, juicy, floral, some yellow fruit, very well-balanced, mild finish. (NB: the TSITSKA 2010 got a gold medal at the Georgian Wine Awards 2011)
KRAKHUNA 2009 (Western Georgia): fresh, pretty aromatic (yellow fruit), soft and really enjoyable, reminding a white Provence wine.
MTSVANE 2009 (Eastern Georgia, Kakheti): very fresh, fruity, floral, elegant and well-balanced.
(NB: not tasted during the visit in Kvareli, but just a reminder of the gold medal for the TSOLIKOURI 2010 wine at the Georgian Wine Awards 2011)
The tasted RED WINES:
KHAREBA SAPERAVI 2008 (Eastern Georgia, Kakheti): easy selling, going and drinking wine, fruity, fresh, not too heavy and surely not too tannic and bitter. If you want to introduce saperavi in the Western supermarkets, that would be the perfect one!
KHAREBA SAPERAVI PREMIUM (Eastern Georgia, Kakheti): strange bouquet, reminding me some pinot noir grapes from warmer vineyards, on a soil with iron oxide… Nice wine, very well-made, good balanced, fruity, juicy, fresh, with ripe and soft tannins. Easier to sell and drink than many other saperavi wines.
KINDZMARAULI (Eastern Georgia, Kakheti): a semi-sweet wine made from saperavi grapes cultivated in the micro-zone Kindzmarauli. The fermentation has been stopped by strong cool-down and the wine is fresh, fruity and quite sweetish but not sticky and jammy. Only 10.5% alc. I am not really fancying drinking such wines, but I surely would love to use it in my cooking! I had some combinations in my head with duck-breasts, goose or red venison … with a reduction of this wine finished with beaten cold salty butter.