WineHandpicked by IWSC

The Wine Society’s Freddy Bulmer selects eight top bottles from ‘The Cradle of Wine’

Following on from the IWSC’s latest round of northern hemisphere tastings, judge Freddy Bulmer, a buyer for the Wine Society, shares the eight wines he most enjoyed from Georgia and eastern Europe

Words by Vahan Agulian and IWSC Judges

freddy bulmer georgia wine review
Handpicked by IWSC

At The Wine Society, buyer Freddy Bulmer says the focus is on making sure wine is, first and foremost, fun. As part of his job for the co-operative and the world’s oldest wine club, Bulmer travels far and wide searching for undiscovered gems around Austria, New Zealand, Australia and eastern Europe.

At the most recent IWSC northern hemisphere judging, Bulmer was put to the test to analyse wines from inside and outside his remit, tasting wines from around the Caucasus, and further afield.

Bulmer tasted from a wide range of countries, but it was Georgia, arguably the birthplace of wine, that most impressed him. ‘I was really struck by the quality of wines coming from the Kakheti region, in particular the quality of qvevri wines – a category which can so often be disappointing. But when the wines are good, they are really good, as was the case during the judging,’ said Bulmer.

freddy bulmer holding georgian wine at iwsc 2021

Lebanon also impressed, with Domaine Wardy’s Château les Cedrés – a Shiraz-dominant red – showcasing bold fruits and herbs. There was even a silver medal for a fortified Turkish red by Kavaklidere Saraplari – Tatli Sert Öküzgözü 2011 – using the indigenous Öküzgözü grape variety. Bulmer stated it was something he had never tried before, and that he was impressed by its flavours of toffee apple, spice and, charmingly, Turkish Delight.

Teliani Valley JSC’s Glekhuri Rkatsiteli Qvevri 2019 was another highlight for Bulmer. ‘I was blown away by the complex flavours of marmalade, gingerbread and ripe nectarines. This was without question one of the best qvevri wines I’ve tried.’

Read on to see Freddy Bulmer’s top eight wines from Georgia and eastern Europe from the IWSC 2021.