This has been my favourite of the Georgian wines. Despite being light in colour this Tsolikauri reminds me strongly of Gamay or Pinot Noir. Close your eyes and take some quick sniffs. There is cherries, plums and floral notes. Underneath is some grittier, earthy and mineral. The palate is light and clean with great acid. I’d drink this now, potentially on its own or definitely with salumi and cheese.
Pheasant’s Tears is a project of John Wurdeman and Gela Patilishvili. Producing natural wines from Georgian varieties that are farmed organically. 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 a 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.
Ripening fairly late in the season but retaining acid. This high acid, high aromatics varietiy is grown in nearly 90% of vineyards in western Georgia because of its quality.