Dzelshavi is a variety of red grape that mostly grows in the regions of Racha and Imereti. Dzelshavi is believed to be one of Georgia’s most archaic varieties of grape. Wines made from this variety are usually very soft and airy, but lively and highly-acidic summer wines can also be made. Dzvelshavi grapes are equally well-suited for pink wines, and in the past were used as coupage material.
Another grape with same linguistic root, but genetically distinct from Saperavi, Otskhanuri Sapere is linked to Otskhana, a village in western Georgia. Otskhanuri Sapere grows only in the western part of the country, mostly in Racha-Lechkhumi and Imereti. Otskhanuri Sapere wines are of an intense ruby colour, and a distinctive flavour profile. Firmly structured and tannic, with high acidity, when young they exhibit nright flavours of cherries, forest fruit, plums and herbs. Grippy and toothsome when young, the wines peak after 10-15 yars of aging.
Literally, the ‘grape with no name”, Usakhelouri is indigenous to western Georgia, Lechkhumi. Usakhelouri produces best on loamy, calcareous hillsides. Usakhelouri currently is produced both in Qvevri and in neutral open-top containers, with no new wood maturation. The latter method generates a vibrant, high-toned nose of lilacs, violets, mint and pepper, the palate is similarly high-toned and peppery with very acidity, light tannins and sometimes a feral note.
One of Georgia’s Oldest vine varieties, Ojaleshi, means ‘growing on a tree’ in the Megrelian dialect of Georgian (ja meaning tree). It was the dominant variety in the mountainous region of Samegrelo in north-western Georgia, where it was trained as a maghlari vine to grow up persimmon or adler trees. Ojaleshi was widely cultivated in this manner throughout Guria’s central and upper mountain villages before the arrival of fungal diseases and phylloxera in the late 19th and early 20th centuries decimated vineyards. Current plantings are trained lower to the ground, as in Guyot simple or double, which lowers yields but produces higher-quality fruit. Typically, Ojaleshi is ruby-coloured, semi-sweet to sweet wine with a gentle bouquet of red fruits lifted by hints of pepper or spice. With aging in bottle, the wine gather complexity and approximate a dry red.
A western Georgian variety, Chkhaveri is mostly planted near the Black Sea coast in Ajara and especially in Guria, but also in Imereti. Chkhaveri was originally a maghlari wine – a vine trained to grow up trees. This pinkish-violet variety is rather sensitive to site and its methods of cultivation. Alcohol levels are always moderate. Regardless of whether they are still or sparkling, dry or semi-sweet, Chkhaveri wines are vibrant pink, fresh flavours of red berries, cherries, forest fruit and baking spices. The naturally semi-sweet roses, produced anaerobically in tank and intended for early consumption are delightful and refreshing. Produced as a light red in Qvevri, the fruits are more subdued but the spiciness offers lift and complexity.
Meaning “vine with a black cane”, European and traditional Qvevri Shavkapito originated in Kartli, in styles. esatern Georgia. Shavkapito is rather terroir-reflective, as groupes grown on the valley floor will produce relatively full-bodied wines, wines from the slopes will be lighter and softer, whereas those from the mountain slopes and foothills are light and fresh with delicate aromatics. Typically, Shavkapito wines are of a light cherry or ruby colour, with berry and herbal notes. They are vinified both in European and traditional Qvevri styles.
Mujuretuli is a variety of red grape that is mostly found in the Racha region. Some scientists believe that the Mujuretuli variety of grape could have been brought from Imereti, but equally they consider it to be a variation of Aleksandrouli. Ripens later than average and has an exceptional capacity to accumulate sugars. Normally, Mujuretuli grapes are combined red and naturally semi-sweet wines from Racha. Today, this variety is mostly used for making Kvanchkara wine.
Aleksandrouli is a variety of red grape, which is mostly found in the Racha region and it ripens later than average. Wines produced from Aleksandrouli grapes are dry or semi-sweet and are amazingly soft, with aromas of raspberry and black cherry. In the XIX century, the Kipiani family was making naturally sweet wine from Aleksandrouli grapes (blended with other varieties) grown in Kvanchkara and neighboring villages. Kvanchkara PDO wine has also been made from this variety of grape since the 1930s.
Tavkveri is a variety of red grape from the region of Kartli. It is widespread in the region of Shida (inner) Kartli, but Tavkveri grapes must have grown all over eastern Georgian at some point in time, for this variety still grows in several parts of Kakheti. It ripens late. The Tavkveri Grape gives rise to interesting dry red or rose wines with late. The Tavkveri grape gives rise to interesting dry red or rose wines with aromas of wild roses and fruit. Young wines made from Tavkveri grapes are particularly pleasant.
Saperavi is the most widespread Georgian red grape variety, which can be found in every vineyard of the Kakheti winemaking region as well as in almost all other regions of Georgia. Saperavi grapes can also be found abroad. Some scientists(e.g. D. Tabidze) believe that western Georgia was birthplace of Saperavi and that it spread from there to Kartli and Kakheti via southern Georgia. Saperavi grapes ripen during the second half of September, but are not harvested until the second half of October. High-quality red dry wines with great potential for ageing are produced from Saperavi grapes. Saperavi grapes are also used in the productions of sweet, semi-sweet, and rose wines. Some of the best wine is produced from Saperavi grapes picked in Mukuzani-Akhasheni, Khashmi, Kindzmarauli, Napareuli, Kvareli and Kondoli.
Rachuli (Tsulukidzis) Tetra is a variety of white grape from the region of Racha, which ripens during the mid-season and produces soft wines with aromas of linden honey.
Tsolikouri is a Georgian variety of white grape, belonging to the Imeretian family of aboriginal varieties of grape. Two varieties are known: one from the village of Obcha and the other from the village of Bazaleti. Scientists dispute the idea that these two varieties are linked, but great wine was mage from both. From the XIX century onward, Tsolikouri became the defining variety of western Georgian and the country’s second most widespread variety after Rkatsiteli. Besides Imereti, Tsolikouri grows in the regions of Racha-Lechkhumi, Guria, Samegrelo, Adjara and Abkhazia. Lechkhumi’s only PDO wine – the semi-sweet Tvishi – is made from Tsolikouri grapes. Wine made from this variety is also used in the production of sparkling wine. Tsolikouri ripens late, and gives rise to light, straw-colored wines with aromas of citrus fruit, white plum, yellow fruit (mushmala, for example), and flowers. Wines produced from Tsolikouri are more full-bodied than those produced from Tsitska.
Krakhuna is an Imeretian variety of white grape, which tends to ripen late, and from which some of the strongest and most full-bodied Imeretian white wines are produced. Wines produced from Krakhuna grapes have a high alcoholic content, are straw colored with tints of golden sunlight, and have aromas of ripe fruit (apricot or banana, for example) and honey. This wine has great potential foe ageing, and indeed becomes deeper and more interesting after a few years. The best micro-zones for Krakhuna are villages of Sviri, Obcha and Dimi.
Kisi is indigenous to Kakheti. It ripens before Rkatsiteli, typically in the last 2 weeks of September, and is made both in the European and Georgian manner. Occasionally it is fortified. A straw-coloured wine when produced in the European style, the nose is quite floral with flavours of pear, citrus and green tea on the palate; the amber Qvevri wines reveal more apricot, mango, lime, orange and walnut character. Some Producers believe it to be capable of producing finer, more expressive wines than Rkatsiteli. Kisi is also grown in Kartli.
The Variety grows widely in eastern Georgia, especially in Kakheti where it originated. It is recommended for higher-altitude, cooler mountain plantings along with Mtsvane Kakhuri. Khikhvi is relatively versatile, as it can be produced in light dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and, as in PDO Kardenakhi, fortified styles. Its aromatic signature is distinctive: floral notes of boxwood and wild flowers heighten broader flavours of ripe yellow fruits and apricot. The light wines appear both in European and Qvevri versions, the latter wines accentuate the dried fruit and flower character. With moderate alcohol levels and soft acidity, Kikhvi may stand alone as single varietal wine, or may contribute high-tones to enhance a blend.
Ivane Javakhishvili, an early 20th century historian, argued that Chinuri’s name derives from the old Georgian word chini (reddish-green), but commentators now contend it comes from the Georgian word chinebuli meaning ‘excellent/the best’ – in this instance referring to the grapes superb appearance, colour, and flavour.
Orginating in Kaktli, but also grown in Kakheti, Chinuri, with its naturally high avidity, is most famous for the sparkling PDO Atenuri wine. Harvested a week o two later, Chinuri also is made as a still wine, with moderate alcohol levels and crisp acidity, whether fermented in Qvevri or tank. Chinuri has floral and herbal aromas, including hints of mint, pear and other yellow fruits. Chinuri from Qvevri is tannic and muskier, with flavours of dried pears and apricots laced with a slightly more concentrated herbal complexity. The grapes alone also grace many tables in season.
Not to be confused with the Mtsvane from Kakheti, this ‘Green from Gori’ has a variety of alternative names and synonyms. Commercially, however, it is labelled consistently as Goruli Mtsvane.
The Variety is mostly planted in the alluvial soils along the river Mtkvari including the Aten Valley. Thick-skinned, the berry is yellow-green and medium-sized. The bunches are cone-shaped and winged. Goruli Mtsvane is relatively resistant to downy mildew with average frost resistance. One of Georgia’s lighter-bodied wines, Goruli Mtsvane is the best drunk when young and fresh, when its floral, lime, and subtle honeyed notes are crisp and most vibrant. Goruli Mtsvane is also blended with Chinuri and Budeshuri Tetri for sparkling wines, most notably th PDO Atenuri.
Goruli Mtsvane, fermented with the white Chinuri and red Tavkveri in Qvevri, produces the classic red Khidistauri (i.e. from the town of Khidistavi near Gori). Goruli Mtsvane may also be blended with Chinuri alone for sparkling wines.
Literally, ‘green from Kakheti’, this variety grows well on the calcareous soils in Kakheti, south-eastern Georgia, particularly in PDOs of Tsinandali, Manavi, Gurjaani, 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.
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.
Rkatsiteli, whose name means “red stem” (rka meaning vine cane; tsiteli meaning red) is the leading white grape variety in Georgia, comprising 43% of all vineyard plantings across 20000 hectares. It is native to Kakheti in eastern Georgia and is cultivated throughout the province, as well as in Kartli.
Rkatsiteli is produced through both traditional and European vinification methods, and is the principal grape in most Kakhetian white wines. Beacause Rkatsiteli has relatively quiet aromatics, it is often blended with 12-20% Mtsvane Kakhuri, such as for the PDOs Gurjaani, Tsinandali, and Vazisubani to add high-toned aromatics and to soften the resulting wine. When vinified in the European style, Rkatsiteli offers subtle floral aromas with notes of citrus, quince, and apple. If vinified in Qvevri, the wine typically is more powerful, moderately tannic, with crisp acidity; the oxidative handling elicits flavours of honey, dried orange peel, spices, apricot and other stone fruits. Rkatsiteli is predominantly vinified in a dry style, but it is also a core grape variety in the PDO Kardenakhi, a fortified wine, and is suitable for all styles of wine.