De Long Wine Moment

 

June 8th, 2006

Drink Georgian* Wine?

Georgia WineLast month, faster than Boris Yeltsin could say tough shitzki y’all, the Russian government pulled the plug on Georgian wine, banning all imports. Since Georgia exports 89% of its wine to Russia, it’s been devastating to the Georgian wine industry.

The ban continues and has generated a good deal of press but they’re still in a terrible situation. So what can be done to help other than just yapping about it? Easy. Drink Georgian Wine. Wait just a minute there mister, why would I want to go and do a thing like that?

Top 10 reasons to Drink Georgian Wine:

10. It’s the world’s first wine region, over 7000 years old (Pre-Bacchus!)
9. The wine is actually very good. And not just good, but interesting as well; unique flavors, food-friendly, good acidity, low alcohol (12% for the reds).
8. They won’t set you back too many rubles.
7. Be adventurous: when was the last time you had a Saperavi or a Mtsvane?
6. An easy introduction to the world of vowel-challenged wine grapes. Before you know it, you’ll be demanding Tskhenisdzudzu and Grdzelmtevana from your local wine shop.
5. Help Georgian winemakers escape the grasp of Soviet apparatchiks.
4. Support diversity in the wine world. You have to like a country that’s held on to its difficult to market (not to mention difficult to pronounce) indigenous grape varieties.
3. Georgia Adopts “Prohibited in Russia” as Wine Advertising Slogan
2. The Russian parliament still drinks Georgian wine even if the public isn’t allowed. Some wine drinkers are more equal than others, comrade. . .
1. Don’t be so naïve, you no-drink-Georgian-wine-meany!

TamadaAll of these wines I tasted here are from the Tamada brand, a collaboration of Pernod Ricard and Georgian Wines and Spirits. Unlike many Georgian wines, they’re dry and intended for import to western markets. Georgian Wines and Spirits also have an old Tblisi line that’s worth trying if you can’t find any of the Tamadas. All can be easily found in London at Soho Wines.

Read my complete tasting form notes on all three of these wines HERE

2001 Tamada Mukuzani 2 Stars Good, but not my favorite. A little too much new oak masking the other flavors

2002 Tamada Saparavi 4 Stars Excellent, unique cedar savory, smoky black and red currants, amazing level of acidiy for a red wine that somehow stays in balance.

2004 Tamada Mtsvane 4 Stars Excellent, unique white with citrus, pineapple, jasmine tea, licorice, spicy elegant finish.

Read more about the Georgian wine situation:

Decanter, Dr. Vino, Guardian, Kommersant, Wine Anorak

*Georgian here refers to the country that was part of the former USSR and not the US state. If you’re in Georgia USA and determined to sample the local produce, you may want to start here.