Lockdown is making life far more challenging for us all but we’ve found a silver lining is a heightened appreciation for what we put on our tables. With summer fast approaching, thoughts turn to the delicious lighter foods and drinks we can enjoy in the sunshine. Fingers crossed the British summer stays fine!
Dzelshavi is fondly referred to by many Georgian Wine aficionados as a ‘summer wine’. That’s because the wines produced by this thin-skinned grape are light, fresh and lively. They’re similar in style to lighter Beaujolais, Pinot Noirs or Cabernet Francs – all fantastic options for warm weather. You can even try this style of wine lightly chilled, making them the perfect weekend accompaniment to summery salads.
Though its fresh, light style makes Dzelshavi feel thoroughly modern in style, it’s actually ancient even by Georgian standards. Though Georgia is only the size of Scotland, over 500 grape varieties call it home, with many enjoying records which stretch back for centuries. In such a country, overflowing with ancient and rare grape varieties, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Dzelshavi is believed to be one of Georgia’s very oldest grape varieties, dated to have emerged in roughly the fifth century AD.
Dzelshavi is most prolific in Racha, pictured above. Racha is one of the smallest wine regions in Georgia, sandwiched between Imreti to the south and the Greater Caucasus mountains to the north. Imreti also has notable plantings of this little-known grape. Dzelshavi is also often used as a supporting grape in blends, or to produce elegant roses. There is also much experimentation with its suitability for Champagne-style sparkling wines.
As Dzelshavi is a rare grape and still only produced in small quantities, it is not readily available in the UK. We’re hoping this changes in the near future!