I love Saperavi, an indigenous Georgian grape, and was intrigued while perusing some wine shelves at Baza Gourmet Food & Spirits in Newton, to see a wine from Moldova produced from this grape. I had to buy it, so I could see how it was expressed in Moldova,
As I wrote in Exploring Moldova Restaurant & Moldovan Wine, "The Republic of Moldova is the least visited country in Europe as well as the poorest country in Europe. However, Moldova has been producing wine for about 5,000 years and currently exports about 67 million bottles annually." I recommend you read my article for more background information about Moldova and its wines.
Chateau Vartely is a newer, and large, winery, established in 2004, and "Vartley" means "city-fortress." The winery has about 300 hectare of vineyards, located in the regions of Codru and Bugeac, and produces over 4,5 million bottles annually.
The 2017 Chateau Vartely Individo Saperavi ($16) is part of their Individo collection, which is said "...seeks to satisfy the thirst for individuality. Thus, the entire collection is synonymous with strong emotions." It is made from 100% Saperavi, and its name translates as "paint" or "dye", due to its intense dark red color. It's often compared to Nebbiolo, and is commonly described as brambly and rustic. This wine is aged for about 12 months in oak and has only a 13.5% ABV.
This was a pleasing, easy drinking wine, one which should appeal to many different palates. It possessed a fruity aroma, with only a hint of spice, and on the palate, the fruit was prominent, delicious notes go ripe plum, blackberries and black cherry, with subtle spice notes and a hint of herbs. It was silky and smooth, with a moderately long and enjoyable finish. Simply delicious, although it wasn't a simple wine! You could enjoy this wine on its own, although it would work well with a wide variety of foods, from pizza to burgers.
A good value wine, this would be a nice choice for grilling this summer, or just if you are feeling adventurous and want to try a different grape from a different country.