GEORGIAN WINE HOME-TASTING (3)
* See also part 1 and 2 *
This tasting of Georgian wines imported in the Netherlands (Theo Jansen – GeoDev ) was not exhaustive. I didn’t ask to taste wines from ‘international’ grape varietals like merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Nor did I ask for the few ‘modern’ made k’vevri (qvevri) wines that Theo imports as well.
This tasting was much more meant as a new comprehensive approach on Georgian wines made from typical Georgian autochthonous varieties by different renowned producers with an open mind for the Western market. To be honest with you, I would not recommend all Georgian wines I tasted in the past 6 years… But what I noticed is that the Russian ‘embargo’ (the official term, but I’d prefer to say ‘boycott’ because it is actually more a political than a quality or health-hazard matter) has been – economically speaking – a disaster for many Georgian wine companies. On the other hand, it might just have been a blessing! No doubt that the Russian market might still be very important for some producers. However, there is much more in the world than an unwilling and hazardous Russian market which sounds mostly like playing a sad, old fashioned bully Russian roulette game.
New central European markets like Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria etc. are developing quickly and discover more and more ‘new’ wine countries. Georgia is a kind of ‘missing link’ between West and East, and it could fill the gaps which appeared after the ‘big changes’. The taste of traditional k’vevri (qvevri) wines will please many consumers from those countries mentioned above. And even if they don’t say it loudly, many Russian, Ukrainian and Bielo-Russian will confess that they love those wines as well.
Things are really different on the Western market. K’vevri (qvevri) wines might be very interesting for a few ‘connoisseurs’ or ‘wine freaks’, but the common consumer will never get used to that very peculiar taste. The Western consumers want fruity, fresh, easy drinking, juicy and tasty wines, matching with a wide range of dishes, but also enjoyable on their own (chill-out, lounging, club etc.). In that context, some Georgian companies have been increasingly improving their viticulture and wine-making skills, investing a lot in vineyards, cellar equipment, and … human resources!
I am glad and impressed to see what some companies like CHÂTEAU MUKHRANI, TBILVINO, MURANI/TELAVI WINE CELLAR, BAGRATIONI, KHAREBA, CHELTI, SCHUCHMANN and some more, have been achieving in the past years. I do believe that Georgia could be soon playing an important role on the international wine market. The progression is now getting faster and the quality much better. The results of this tasting reinforced my opinion on this fabulous wine (food and culture) country.
I wish all my Georgian friends peace, happiness, love, success and … wisdom! GAUMARJOS!