In a recent article, Julia Harding MW reviews more than 50 Georgian wines including some tasted at a Trade Tasting by GinVino, and others over the course of several months as press samples.
Harding’s coverage paints a picture of a vibrant and diverse Georgian wine industry, rich in tradition yet adaptable and innovative, producing a wide array of high-quality wines.
According to Harding, the wines demonstrated Georgia’s varied viticulture. While qvevri wines (made in clay vessels buried underground) receive more international attention, they represent only about 5% of Georgia’s total wine production. Harding highlights the country’s proficiency in both qvevri and ‘European style’ winemaking.
Georgia’s wine scene is distinguished by its diverse grape varieties. Saperavi, the most planted dark-skinned grape, features prominently, but Harding also praises lesser-known varieties like Naberauli’s Aleksandrouli. She notes the production of excellent sweet reds in regions like Racha-Lechkumi and Kindzmarauli, part of the Kakheti region, Georgia’s primary wine area.
The article breaks down the wines into colour/style categories, with white wines further subdivided into white and amber (often referred to as ‘orange’ wines internationally). These amber wines, made from light-skinned grapes fermented with their skins, and sometimes stems, in qvevri, particularly impressed Harding. She points out that Georgian qvevri red wines aren’t drastically different from traditional reds since red wines globally are typically fermented with their skins.
Despite the focus on qvevri wines, Harding encourages keeping an open mind towards Georgia’s ‘European’ wines, which are fermented and aged in stainless steel and/or oak. She provides detailed notes on a variety of wines, including sparkling, white, amber, rosé, red, and sweet wines, each offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Georgian winemaking. This comprehensive overview underscores the evolving and dynamic nature of Georgia’s wine industry.