Do you like rich, textural white wines? Love an oaked Chardonnay, with its creamy mouthfeel? Perhaps you favour a rich style of Pinot Grigio, or a white Rioja with its alluring aromatics. There’s nothing quite like these textured, mineral whites. Luckily, there are lots of Georgian alternatives to your old favourites to try.
The name ‘Chinuri’ is derived from the word chinebuli, meaning ‘excellent’ in Georgian – which really tells you all you need to know. When it’s produced in the ‘European’ tank style, Chinuri has elegant floral, herbal aromas, with notes of pear and yellow fruit, whereas qvevri Chinuri is more tannic and musky, with dried fruit flavours and more concentrated herbal complexity.
Mtsvane Kakhuri is one of six different Mtsvane grapes that grow throughout Georgia. It’s a really aromatic variety, with lovely fresh white peach, floral, citrussy aromas with light mineral undertones. It is quite dark and will show more apricot and stone fruit character when vinified in Qvevri.
Rkatsiteli (kat-se-telly) is one of the oldest recorded grape varieties in the world. Clay vessels (early qvevri) have been found with seeds of Rkatsiteli grapes which date back to 3000 BC. It’s since become something of a flagship white grape for Georgia, producing great textured whites, especially when fermented on the skins.
Tsolikouri is the white grape of western Georgia. Pronounced sol-li-kori, When made in a European style, Tsolikouri is medium- to full-bodied, with a slightly oily texture which gives the wine weight. It has quite soft acidity with subtle notes of yellow fruits, melon with floral hints. Unlike most white Georgian grapes, Tsolikouri is often fermented and/ or matured in oak, with great success
If you fancy trying a blend, then Manavi PDO is just the thing – it’s a blend of Rkatsiteli and Mstvane Kakhuri, both mentioned above. Rkatsiteli brings great acidity and texture to the wine, whereas Mtsvane Kakhuri adds aromatics and softness to the finished wine. Delicious.