This name means “green Kakheti,” and is usually called simply “Mtsvane” (Green). Mtsvane Kakhuri is one of six different Mtsvane that grow throughout Georgia, each with a different DNA fingerprint, and each named for the origin of its growth. Older than Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane Kakhuri’s five-lobed leaves are dark green and funneled; the medium-sized bunches can be quite dense, sometimes with one shoulder and medium-sized berries.
The variety buds late, usually in late April and matures in the mid-season, in the last two weeks of September, before Rkatsiteli. It is an easy bunch to pick. It accumulates sugar easily yet retains high acidity levels, hence its suitability for sweet, fortified wines. Yields are good, it is hardy to winter frosts, and is prized for its ability to show the nuance of site. It is sensitive to disease and needs attentive viticulture. Mtsvane Kakhuri grows well on the calcareous soils of Kakheti, particularly in the appellations of Tsinandali, Manavi, Gurdjaani, Vazisubani and Kardenakhi.
When vinified in a European style, the young dry, white wine often has a greenish- straw tinge. Mtsvane Kakhuri imparts fresh white peach, floral, citrus and tropical aromas, with a light mineral undertone. It is quite dark and will show more apricot and stone fruit character when vinified in Qvevri. An aromatic variety, it oxidizes easily, and unless vinified in Qvevri, it requires sensitive anaerobic handling. Alternatively, it may be blended with a percentage of Kisi or Rkatsiteli; Mtsvane Kakhuri adds aromatic high tones and complexity, the other varieties inhibit oxidation.
Mtsvane Kakhuri is a solo performer in the PDO Manavi, a dry white wine from the region of the same name in Kakheti. Up to 20% of Mtsvane Kakhuri may be blended with Rkatsiteli for the classic Tsinandali PDO. Mtsvane Kakhuri also may have a small part in fortified wines such as Kardenakhi.