Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Here's a report on one more wine from the recent Georgian wine and food tasting event that I ran, organised jointly with Unique Singapore Magazine.
🍇 100% Saperavi
🌎 East Georgia, Kakheti
⭐ Vivino 3.6
There's a handful of teinturier grape varieties in the world and Saperavi is one of them. "Teinturier" originates from French "to dye" or "to stain" and means grapes whose flesh and juice is red in colour due to pigments accumulating within the pulp of the grape berry itself and not just in skin. In other words, it's a grape variety that you can't produce white wine from. Two other more known teinturier grape varieties are Portuguese Alicante Bouchet and American Chamboursin.
Interestingly that the name of the grape, Saperavi, in Georgian means "paint, dye, give color". It's an indigenous grape variety believed to originate from Zemo Kartli, a historical region in the southwest of modern Georgia, bordering Turkey. Wine produced from Saperavi is known for its very intense ruby colour. If one looks at glass of wine made from Saperavi at the light, one will realise that wine is so intense in colour that it doesn't let any light through. Many winemakers like Saperavi exactly for this feature and use it to blend with other wines to add intensity to colour of blends.
Mukuzani is one of the protected designations of origin that's been producing wine from Saperavi since 1893. The PDO is located in the Inner Kakheti (or Shida Kakheti) to the east of Tsiv-Gombori mountain range, along the right bank of the Alazani river. Most of Saperavi vineyards are located on the slopes of Tsiv-Gombori, where terroir is know for a high content of lime brought by Alazani river. High-quality Mukuzani wines are produced from vineyards located at 350-450 meters above sea level. There are vineyards even at 700 meters however, grapes grown in those vineyards can't provide the right flavours and taste profile because glaciers located at the summit of Tsiv-Gombori continually cool down air masses and grapes at high altitudes don't receive enough warmth to ripe and accumulate sufficient amount of sugar. After fermentation, Mukuzane wine must be aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels.
This bottle of 2018 Schuchmann Mukuzani comes from Schuchmann Wines Georgia. Dark fruits, cherries and plum on the nose, with high tannins and high acidity on the palate. Very well balanced with good structure, long dry and spicy finish.
Mukuzani generally pairs well with grilled meat, spicy meat dishes, poultry, game and cheeses. In this instance it was paired with khinkali—a very popular Georgian dumpling made of twisted knobs of dough, stuffed with meat and spices, considered to be one of the national dishes of Georgia.