Today we are talking about an event similar to winning the lottery: the Wine Travel Awards editors, as part of their trip to Georgia, visited the WTA winner at three categories – Shumi Winery. And the gift was a tasting of unique wines arranged by the world-famous enotouristic location owner.
In general, it was a comprehensively extraordinary visit to the winery. Firstly, the owner personally conducted the tasting – which in itself is a fantastic event, as he is not a public person at all and do not prefer an encore to tourists.
And finally, our journalists felt like fate’s favorites when it became clear that we would test wines in the company of the famous author and wine critic Robert Joseph. (By the way, according to our insider information, Mr. Joseph has launched his own wine production in Georgia, so we hope to announce more about this event in the near future).
In addition, such experienced tasters as the popular Georgian blogger and wine connoisseur Sofia Nikabadze and the well-known Ukrainian sommelier and businesswoman Jenia Nikolaichuk joined the company of the WTA and Drinks+ team.
The tasting was preceded by a not-so-light aperitif of several samples and further acquaintance with the numerous Shumi’s attractions – the spectacular marani and its huge qvevri, with the wine cellar where the miraculous Zigu is aged (the name ‘Zigu’ is translated from ancient Georgian as ‘heart of the sun’). This wine is made from 320 grape varieties, includes chacha and brandy infused with high-altitude flowers; however, its strength is only 19%.
Then there was the museum of artifacts “Vazioni”, a review of the ampelographic collection (more than 900 varieties of grapes), etc. During a sumptuous traditional Georgian feast and polyphony of singing, a tasting of ten wine samples took place. Including such unique ones as the world’s first sparkling and ice wine in qvevri (102 grape varieties). The participants, at the request of our editors, shared their impressions, and Mr. Robert Joseph even provided working tasting notes with the points given (please note that this is of rare value, because the notes were made by the experts for themselves and by no means for marketing reasons).
We hope that these posts will inspire our readers, if not just get on a plane tomorrow to Tbilisi to see and experience all this in person, then at least – entice them to visit the nearest Georgian wine shop and buy one or several (don’t limit yourself!) bottles of Shumi.
Tsinandali 2021 (Rkatsiteli /15% Kakhuri Mtsvane).
A really good example of this style. Fresh and bright, with some pear fruit and creamy texture. Very well done, although I found it somewhat lacking in complexity. 89 points.
Kisi Qvevri 2019 Akhmeta. 100% skins – 6months. 100% M<L in qvevri – 6-8 months Fr 2nd/3rd year oak.
Rich, some floral, some ginger. Nice, peary, fruit. Slightly hard finish. But good, balanced wine. 91 points.
Shobili, sparkling, 70% Chinuri\30 Kakhuri Mtsvane 2017 – 3 months in qvevri, 22 months on yeast 2017.
An interesting variety with a distinctive pepper – red fruit character. It has nice mid length with a touch of bitterness that I don’t mind. The finish is a bit dry, but it’s a good, interesting wine. 94 points.
Editor’s note: Shobili is a white dry sparkling wine created using qvevri and the unique technology of Shumi Winery. According to D+, it’s the world’s first sparkling wine in qvevri.
Shumi Iberiuli Aladasturi Qvevri Red Dry 2019, 12.5%.
I can’t review this. Both bottles are spoiled by a bad cork. Behind that, I can see some raw plum and rose petal, but I’m sure this is not a typical example.
Simonaseuli 2019 – 100%, Qvevri 4 months.
An interesting variety with a distinctive pepper – red fruit character. It has nice mid length with a touch of bitterness that I don’t mind. The finish is a bit dry, but it’s a good, interesting wine. 89 points.
Mukhuzani 2020 – aged in barrel.
Rich red with some good juicy, dark plum and black cherry fruit and quite nice oak. There’s a little rawness that lets it down, but the length is ok. Nice, but not very complex. 89 points.
Salome 2020. 100% Saperavi, 5 ton oak ferm, battonage, on lees, 1st vintage 2005.
This is good, rich wine with dark fruit aplenty and very good texture from the batonnage. Good length. 93 points.
Editor’s note: At the London Wine Competition, the SALOME 2020 won a gold medal and was recognized as the Best Wine of Georgia.
Khvanchkara 2020 – semi-sweet.
Traditional, semi-sweet, with plum jam character. Nice. 88 points.
Lazare 2017 – 450 varieties, red and white in qvevri.
This is rich, intense wine with interesting spicy, peppery character plus olive and strawberry. The label says 14%. I think it’s more. Slightly let down by a slightly bitter finish. 92 points.
Editor’s note: some Georgian sommeliers claim that this wine has 10,000 aromas.
Barbale, first qvevri icewine, 102 aromatic grape varieties.
This is rich, intense and sweet, with some rose petal and a bit of bitterness. I’m not sure what the 102 grapes are bringing to it… In my opinion, the sparkling in qvevri leads in preferences. 89 points.
Sparkling wine Shobili – vintage 2017 – from two grape varieties: 70% Chinuri and 30% Kakhuri Mtsvane.
Fermented in qvevri partially with pulp, secondary fermentation is carried out in the bottle by the classical method. Excellent and rich taste, aroma of tropical fruits and citrus, characterized by a long bubles.
Tsinandali 2021 – white dry – Tsinandali microzone – Rkatsiteli 85% and Kakhuri Mtsvane 15%.
Greenish-yellow color – classic – characterized by a wonderful bouquet and fruity tones. Rich and elegant taste – with a pleasant fresh taste and balanced acidity.
Kisi Qvevri – vintage 2019 – amber, traditional dry, wine from the qvevri, 6 months in contact with the lees and 4 months in French oak.
The wine is refined and rounded, with well-defined tones of dried fruit and honey. After aeration – saffron, vegetal tones, vanilla, light traces of oak. Harmonious, soft and persistent taste.
Aladasturi, red dry wine – harvest 2019 – qvevri, made from Aladasturi grapes – Guria, Ozurgeti municipality.
The vineyard is located at an altitude of 120 meters above sea level. Fermented wine, noticeable currant, with aromas of raspberries and strawberries. It has medium, soft tannins and lively acidity with a long aftertaste.
Sparkling wine, 3 months in qvevri.
Extremely fresh nice sparkling. You don’t feel qvevri ageing in this wine, but definitely this wine worth to try. Ripe apples and brioches in the flavour. Fresh, but not acid.
Just nice every day white summer wine. Great price/quality ratio. Good choice for big noizy parties, when you plan not to stop after one or two glasses. Easy-going, full of citrus fruits flavours.
Qvevri Ice Wine.
Love the balance of sweetness and acidity. Flavour full of ripe tropical fruits. Great choice as a digestive.