The name ‘Chinuri’ is derived from the word chinebuli, meaning ‘excellent’ in Georgian. It refers to the grape’s reputation for excellence in terms of appearance, colour and flavour. Chini also means ‘reddish-green’, appropriately matching the blush red-yellow-green the grapes turn as they ripen. Some winemakers even call Chinuri ‘Chinebuli’.
Chinuri is one of the most important white grape varieties indigenous to Kartli, though it’s also grown in Kakheti. Because it is naturally so high in acidity, Chinuri is particularly famous for making exceptional sparkling wines. Notably, it is used in the sparkling PDO Atenuri, where Chinuri is blended with other white grapes, particularly Goruli Mtsvane and Aligoté.
Alternatively, Chinuri harvested a couple of weeks after the grapes destined for sparkling wine can be made into a still wine. These whites have moderate alcohol levels and a crisp, mouthwatering acidity whether fermented in Qvevri or in a tank. As a sparkling wine, or when produced in the European tank style, Chinuri has elegant floral, herbal aromas, with notes of pear and yellow fruit. Qvevri Chinuri is more tannic and musky, with dried fruit flavours and more concentrated herbal complexity. Chinuri is also notably used in the production of amber wines when in Qvevri.