Never heard of Shavkapito? Me neither. A customer asked for it and I am happy to supply it. Read an article from our Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. According to Pheasant’s Tears, it has:
“A nose rich with smoky leather and tobacco plus a hint of anise and fills the palate with plum and cherry with a hint of licorice in the smooth finish. FOOD PAIRINGS Roasted or grilled lamb or beef, game birds, tomato sauces”
Pheasant’s Tears is a project of John Wurdeman and Gela Patilishvili. Producing organically farmed, natural wines from Georgian varieties. All of their wines are made in qvevri. The earthenware jars buried entirely in the ground used for fermentation and storage up until bottling in accordance with ancient Georgian winemaking traditions. They focus on rare varietals such as Tavkvevri, Shavkapito and Tsolikouri (amongst many) and preserving an expression of unique terroir. They even make a grape archivist’s dream blend from 400 different varieties.
First of all, this is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. 8000 years ago the world’s first cultivated grapevines and wine production was in the South Caucasus Georgian wine regions of note including Kakheti, Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and Abkhazia. Of particular note in Georgian wine is the extensive use of native varieties and the use of Kvevri.
While the wines of Georgia require a re-calibration of your palate and thinking. But the rewards a great for those with an open mind.
Also known as churi. Large egg-shaped, handleless earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine. They are either buried below ground or set into the floors of large wine cellars. Volumes range from 20 litres to a rather large 10,000 with 800 being the typical size.
Very much influenced by the terroir in which it grows. Shavkapito is actually only available in tiny amounts from two producers. It has naturally low in alcohol and a soft-texture. It makes red-fruited wine with a smoky flavour, even without the influence of oak.