Not everyday one's getting a chance to compare two great orange wines from Georgia in Singapore and once you do, you're more than happy to share
🍇 100% Kakhuri Mtsvane
📅 2018 | 2017
🌎 East Georgia, Kakheti
⭐ Vivino 4.2 | 4.2
In a nutshell, orange wine is produced from the white grape varieties where pomace is not removed from must, as in typical white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for for a certain period of time during vinification. The wine is also known as skin-contact white wine or skin-fermented white wine, whereas the term used in Georgian—"karvisperi ghvino", stands for "amber wine".
Both wines come from Kakheti, the principal winemaking region in Eastern Georgia and both are made from Kakhuri Mtsvane (or "Kakhetian Green"), one of several hundreds of indigenous Georgian grape varieties. Both wineries are located on the border of Tsinandali Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) on the right bank of Alazani river and are separated from each other by a distance of less than 10 kilometers. Both wines are produced with qvevri winemaking method. Qvevri (also spelled kvevri) are egg-shaped clay vessels designed to be buried underground. Since residual evidence of winemaking was found on fragments of 8,000-year-old qvevri, Georgia is believed to be one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions. In 2013, UNESCO added the qvevri winemaking process to its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
A bottle of 2017 Biovinea comes from Ruispiri Biodynamic Vineyard located in Ruispiri village. As one can guess from the name of the winery, Biovinea is biodynamic wine. What does that mean? According to Wine Folly, this means that the producer follows a philosophy of balancing the resonance of everything, including celestial bodies, between vine, man, earth and stars. Besides, no chemicals or "manufactured" additions (like commercial yeast) are allowed in biodynamic wine. Some believe that biodynamic style is the only way to truly express terroir. According to reports, there are just over 630 certified biodynamic wine producers in the world. The winemaker, Giorgi Aladashvili studied the biodynamic practices in Switzerland and had set up Ruispiri Biodynamic Vineyard in 2016. It's a small-scale production of approximately seven thousand bottles a year.
A bottle of 2018 Jakeli comes from Jakeli Wines, a certified organic wine producer and one of the pioneers of organic winegrowing in Georgia who sources grapes from Khashmi PDO at southwest foothill of Tsiv-Gombori mountain range. I'm honoured to be personally acquainted with the winemaker and owner of the winery Zaza Jakeli and his wife Khatuna. My friends and I were absolutely amazed with their hospitality when we visited their place sitting atop the winery back in 2018. Jakeli vineyard was set up in 2001, and began commercial production seven years later. Initially, they vinified grapes using conventional methods such as stainless steel tanks, and oak barrels. After several years of producing some of their wine in qvevri, Jakeli Wines decided to go qvevri-only, and from 2018 their entire production switched to this traditional method.
Both wines needed more than an hour of decanting.
Jakeli Wines Kakhuri Mtsvane impressed with vibrant aromatics, freshness and concentration. Marmalade, tangerines and honey on the nose. High on tannins, medium— acidity and tons of textured personality, and it comes unfiltered, too. This wine would pair well with fatty and spicy food.
Biovinea turned out to be a very gentle wine. Toffee and barberries on the nose, good tannins, medium acidity and dry meadow grass on palate. One could probably have a bottle with light appetisers or veggie salads. Or with a good book :)