Georgia has become internationally known for its qvevri wines, helped in no small part by a swelling global interest in natural wines and orange wines. But did you know that qvevri wines only account for about 1% of Georgia’s total wine production?
On the flip side, 70% of the country’s production is sweet and semi-sweet wines. So far, so not international-export friendly. But just because sweet wines don’t dial into current drinking trends, doesn’t mean they’re not delicious and interesting.
So before you dismiss them, check out this intriguing description from Lisa Granik MW, who is currently writing a book about Georgian wine:
“Semi-sweet red wines, […] intended to be drunk when young and vibrant (even with a bit of a chill), are characterized by a fruity, sweet attack that’s immediately freshened by nearly imperceptible tannin and bright acidity. With flavors of dark forest fruits and spice, they finish clean, not sticky, and can be a surprising match with intensely flavored, spicy cuisine. Although most of the Georgian wines shipped to the U.S. are dry, these sweet and semi-sweet wines constitute 70 percent of the country’s wine production. Of this number, 30 percent are produced from state-designated appellations, or PDOs (Protected Denomination of Origin).”
Off-dry red made from late-picked Saperavi is in fact a historic wine style of Georgia. The best examples combine a fine, tannic, grippy texture with brightly juicy fruit flavours and light, seductive sweetness. Kindzmarauli is the most famous village and appellation for this style.
Georgians serve these sweet red wines lightly chilled, and drink them with richly spiced and grilled meats and mature cheeses. They’re perfectly suited to the subtle spice of Georgian food with it’s multi-cultural influences. Why not try a sweet Georgian red with your next curry?!