Otskhanuri Sapere (oh-sah-kh-ah-noo-ree sah-pear-eh) is thought to be one of Georgia’s oldest grape varieties – which is really saying something in a country bursting with ancient grapes. Otskhanuri Sapere is principally grown in Racha Lechkhumi and Imereti in Western Georgia. According to grape experts, it is a transitional variety, a hybrid if you will, between wild and domesticated varieties. This may account for its often gamey aromas.
Otskhanuri Sapere’s name is related to the village of Otskhana: it means “Otskhana’s colorful.” The wines it produces do indeed have a vibrant colour – they’re typically intense ruby red. The wines also have vibrant flavours of cherries, plums and forest fruits. Grippy and toothsome when young, the wines peak after 10-15 years of aging, but can age for an additional 20-30 years.
Otskhanuri Sapere is a fascinating wine to try. Luckily, a delicious example is available to purchase in the UK made by Vachnadziani, one of the oldest producers in Gurjaani. Buy this Qvevri-made wine from Great Wines Direct, Corking Wines and 23 Wine & Whisky.