Saturday, January 26, 2008

2004 Pirosmani Kakkuri

I was fortunate enough to get to try a new grape today, the Saperavi, which I had not even heard of before. But then today was probably only the second time that I have ever had a wine from Georgia. Not the state, but Georgia the country.

Georgia is located on the west coast of the Black Sea, south of Russia and north of Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. It may be the oldest wine producing region in the world, having culitivated grapevines as long as 7000 years ago. Some even believe that the word "wine" is derived from the Georgian word "gvino" which means "wine."

It was traditional for Georgians to ferment their wines in clay vessels, called "kvevri," and bury them underground. They would also store fermented wines underground in these vessels as well.

The 2004 Kakheti Cellars Pirosmani Kakkuri is a semi-sweet red wine made from the Saperavi grape. The grape is grown in the Akhobi vineyards of the Alazani valley in Georgia. In a nod to the ancient traditions, this wine was fermented in clay jars buried in the ground. It has a listed alcohol content of 10-12.5%, which is a bit curious that they do not get more specific than that. It also has a listed sugar content of 15-25 gr/dm3.

Saperavi is a Georgian word which means literally "paint" or "dye," due to its intense dark-red color. It can produce red wines suitable for extended aging and is the most important varietal in Georgia. The grape is used to produce both sweet and dry red wines.

This was a very dark red wine in color with a nose of dark berries, maybe some blueberry. As this was a semi-sweet wine, I expected some prominent sweetness on the palate. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find only the barest hints of sweetness. If I had tasted this blind, I would not have called it semi-sweet. It was a very smooth wine, with rich fruit flavors and a rather long finish. It was not very complex but was a pleasant drink. It is a wine that would please many, including those who do not care for dry wines.

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