ALSO AVAILABLE IN 6 OR 12 BOTTLE CASES
PRICE 1 BOTTLE: £8.50 per bottle
PRICE 6 BOTTLES: £7.75 per bottle
PRICE 12 BOTTLES: £6.75 per bottle
A crisp, dry white wine with a harmonious balance of aromas, evocative of flowers and hints of citrus. It’s a pleasure on the senses, with a nose that offers apricots and honey. A pale, straw-coloured white which is 100% made from the Rkatsiteli grape, grown and cultivated in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia. This part of the country gives it a fresh, pleasant taste, but it also has a richness that can really be savoured. With light tannins and high acidity, it’s a smooth, velvety wine that’s soft on the pallet and is perfect for sharing. Best served with seafood, white meat, salads, vegetables and un-salted cheese.
A traditional Georgian dinner party is called a ‘supra’ and it has an institution called a tamada’, or ‘toast maker’. These toasts can last up to 20 minutes and it’s considered a great honour to be chosen to be a tamada.
The Rkatsiteli grape originates from Georgia and is one of the oldest grape varieties in the country, dating back to 3000 B.C. Rkatsiteli literally means ‘red stem’, although it’s used to make white wine! Go figure. It’s a pale-skinned grape with strong resistance to cold weather, making it a fantastically versatile wine, especially in Georgia, where winters can be particularly harsh.
In the days of the Soviet Union, Rkatsiteli was one of most popular grapes for making wine, responsible for more than 18% of all the wine produced. It was used to make everything from fortified and table wine to sherry and liqueurs.
Over the years, it has also been used to create a sparkling variety, but its naturally high acidity / alcohol levels stopped that idea before it really started. It’s because of this acidity that can make the wine so tart, unless the grapes are picked very late in the season. This will ensure to maximise the sugar content in order to balance its flavours. Whilst Kakheti is the home of the Rkatsiteli grape, there are other large vineyards growing it in many other Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Moldova, Macedonia, Azerbaijan and, of course, Russia. It also occurs, albeit in much smaller quantities, in the US where it’s called the equally difficult to pronounce ‘Baiyu’ grape. Wherever it’s grown, Rkatsiteli is perfect for making noticeably acidic but balanced white wines with an aroma of spicy and floral notes.
Maranuli, Rkatsiteli, dry, white wine, crisp, Georgian white, Georgia, Kakheti, dry Georgian white wine, red stem
Kakheti is arguably Georgia’s premier wine-making region. It’s not the only one, but Kakheti is increasingly popular with visitors wishing to sampling its ancient viniculture. Kakheti sits in eastern Georgia, on the borders of Russia to the north, and Azerbaijan to the east and south.
The Kakheti capital is the city of Telavi and it’s one of the most diverse areas in the whole country. Don’t forget to visit Sighnaghi also. Both of them have undergone significant redevelopment in recent years to make them more ‘tourist friendly’. Whilst much of its landscape is semi-desert, it can almost feel like a different country, compared to other areas of Georgia.
The weather in Kakheti varies from hot to blustery. Whilst it may not scream ‘bikini weather’, it’s perfect for growing grapes. The Kakheti climate is quite similar to many Mediterranean countries, which gives it the ideal conditions to grow grapes. Today, the region is now just as famous for its wine, as it is for its stunning landscapes.
One of its most colourful and influential historical figures was poet and public figure Prince Chavchavadze. You can take a tour of his estate, laid out in a style that’s very reminiscent of an English stately home. He was also a pioneer of bringing European wine-making techniques to Georgia. When you’re there, make sure you take a tour of his estate and see the famous cellars which contain over 16,000 bottles of wine.