Light Red Lovers, Here's Georgian Red!

Light Red Lovers, Here's Georgian Red!

Do You Love Lapierre, Susucaru and Pelaverga? You'll Fall For Gaioz Sopromadze's Light Georgian Red.
Here at Flatiron, we love to sniff out and promote the lesser known grapes and regions of the wine world. It’s always a thrill to find honestly-made wines, from indigenous grapes and following local traditions and reflecting their place, with that little something extra, unique and yet undeniably delicious.

The Chkaveri from Gaioz Sopromadze is one such wine. Last month, tasting through a lineup of 30 Georgian wines, this one stood out.  We kept going back to it! The first sip of something new always prompts us to make associations with something we're already familiar with. This had us recalling some of the wine world's standard bearers: Burlotto’s Pelaverga, Lapierre’s Morgon and Frank Cornelissen's Susucaru. These are wines any winemaker would be proud to be associated with. And yet, it was totally its own thing.

Gaioz and his family encapsulate the history of their country on a microcosm. The Republic of Georgia is the birthplace of wine, with 8,000 years of history, yet nearly a century of occupying forces, civil war and economic depression conspired to erase all that knowledge. In its modern incarnation, it really could be one of the world’s youngest winemaking scenes. Gaioz’s great grandfather built their Marani (winery) decades ago, but it was only in 2009 that the family actually bottled wine for the first time.

With the exception of a few large, industrial, “European style” wineries, most of Georgian winemakers today have followed the same path as Gaioz. They pull from ancient traditions, but are relearning the art of traditional qvevri wine making anew. Not all of them are doing so with such success as Gaoiz.

For those who have only experienced the dense red Saperavi of eastern Georgia, today’s wine is NOT that. Imereti is cooler, the soils are calcareous and alluvial and stems are only included in the fermentation, not the 6 month aging process. This means elegance, finesse, cool red fruits, crunchy acidity and intoxicating aromatics. A new wine for us, a new wine for Georgia, but an ancient idea.

Gaioz Sopramadze, Chkaveri Red, 2019
Pure cranberry, violet floral high tones, wild lavender and rose petals, orange zest without the bitter pith, slight pepper and a touch of herbs. These are some super silky tannins, fine grained but perfectly integrated with the very high limestone-laden acid. Really amazing.
Clara Dalzell