If you’ve ever been to a supra (feast), you’ll know the respect with which Georgian wine is held by its people. Frequently referred to as the ‘cradle of wine’, Georgia is soaked in winemaking history, with various vinous artefacts such as pruning knives and stone presses from as far back as 8,000 years ago excavated by archaeologists. Legend even has it that soldiers would weave a piece of grapevine into their armour to protect their chests before heading into battle, so if they died, a vine would sprout from their hearts.
In the 20th century, Georgia was the powerhouse wine producer for much of the Soviet Union, but after gaining independence in the 1990s, the Soviet ‘wine factories’ are disappearing, replaced by smaller-scale producers intent on raising the quality bar.
Georgia is – perhaps unwittingly – at the cutting edge of winemaking, too. The penchant for fermenting wine in large clay amphorae (known as qvevri) is a technique now used by some of the world’s most influential producers, but they’ve been doing this in Georgia for centuries. Not only that, but while natural/orange wine may be the millennial‘s drink of choice, they’ve been making the stuff in Georgia for millennia.
One such orange wine – Tifliski Vini Pogreb, Kartuli Vazi Select Orange Rkatsiteli 2020– scooped a Gold Medal in this year’s IWSC, scoring an impressive 96/100. Judges hailed its ‘fresh and bright nose of golden apples, pears, ginger biscuit, and honey’ and crisp palate.
Georgia received two other IWSC Golds this year, one of which was a red wine made with the indigenous grape variety Saperavi. Its name simply means ‘colour’, and it delivers rich, full-bodied wines, with notes of liquorice, plums and spice, and is sometimes made in a semi-sweet style.
Each Georgian wine at the IWSC 2022 was arranged by colour and style before being tasted blind by an expert panel. Sarah Abbott MW was in charge of proceedings, and was joined by wine communicator Brad Horne and wine buyer for The Humble Grape Will Hill, along with Freddy Bulmer, a buyer at The Wine Society. Read on to see some of the best Georgian wines from the competition.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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