2009 Pheasant's Tears Rkatsiteli Republic of Georgia
Aromatic, with notes of black tea leaves, sandalwood and incense, this smoky Georgian amber wine boasts delicate orange rind and blossom flavors, swathed in bristling, chestnutskin-like tannins. There's a wonderful textural richness attributable to the wine's prolonged maceration in traditional Georgian qvevri.
Before the Greeks, before the Romans, it was the Georgians who were making wine. Archeological evidence dates back 8,000 years, references to Georgian wines can be found in the writings of Homor and Apollonius, and even the Georgian alphabet seems to have its origins in the shapes made by the tendrils of grape vines. Pheasant's Tears is the joint effort of American John Wurdeman, Georgian Gela Patalishvili and Swedes Erik Andermo, Jakob Mörndal and Henrik Callerstrand, to preserve and promote this ancient cultural legacy. All of Pheasant's Tears wines, including this Rkatsiteli--which means "red stem" in Georgian--are fermented and aged in the clay vessels called qvevri. According to the winery, the effect of this time-honored winemaking process is to impart "distinctive nutty and savory aromas and flavors to the wine, adding layers of complexity. It also promotes the development of roundness and viscosity in the mouth, but keeps acidity fresh." A full-bodied white that will pair well with roast chicken, quail, or even duck.