2010 Iago's Wine Chinuri Republic of Georgia
Wine & Spirits
*Best Buy* Iago Bitarishvili’s family has made wine for hundreds of years; Iago started 30 years ago, and makes his one wine in much the same ways his ancient ancestors would have: Using Chinuri, a variety indigenous to the Kartli region in central Georgia, he crushes the grapes in a large hollowed-out log, and pours the must, skins and all, directly into 300-year-old qvevri, where it stays for about six months. The wine is decidedly cidery in flavor, and tannic, with a bitter spice that recalls digestivi; yet, in the end, it comes off feeling delicate, with a bright, lemony acidity adding light and lift. While some may find it rustic, others will find it fascinating to taste as it morphs over the course of several days’ exposure to air, and to pair with anything from sausages to vegetable samosas.
Whiffs of smoke and sea breeze entice on the nose of this amber-hued Georgian wine, which was aged in traditional clay vessels. Earthy on the palate, with hints of orange rind, mushroom and roasted chestnut, it’s shockingly tannic for wine made from white grapes—thanks to being exposed to its grape skins during fermentation and maturation. A fascinating accompaniment to almost any kind of cuisine.
Iago is the man, Chinuri the grape. Iago has always farmed organically, and produces a small amount of Chinuri in the traditional Georgian way. This includes foot-stomping and aging the wine in Qvevri. Qvevri are large clay vessels that are buried underground. The first vessels developed by humans for the purpose of aging and storing wine, the origins of this Georgian winemaking tradition traces its lineage back to the ancient origins of winemaking itself. This is all about substance - texture and layers - framed by bright acidity and fleeting nuances of dried fruits and minerals. Super rare, very cool wine.