Archil Guniava works on his family’s estate of 1.5 hectares atop clay soil in the central, western region of Georgia known as Imereti. This is a region of the historic winemaking nation (the first nation, by many accounts, to have ever made wine -- 8,000 vintages in!) that is known for both grape and mulberry production and, as such, is conducive to beautiful, deep wines. Imereti is itself one of the 5 major winemaking regions of Georgia though in a nation that has such immense diversity of terroir and grape combined with a long viticultural heritage that means the number of winemakers in the nation is enormous - perhaps it is a fool’s errand to “define” a hierarchical system as has historically been set out by the likes of France or Italy. In any case, the climate here lends itself particularly well to winemaking where the humid, salty air of the Black Sea wanders inland to temper the otherwise relatively arid conditions of Kvaliti (the village in Imereti where Archil’s estate rests). A stone’s throw north of the winery is the Kvilira River - another body of water, in addition to the much larger Rioni River that helps define the topography of Imereti. In the cellar, Archil works with Qvevri and macerated-aging as is typical of traditional Imereti and Georgian winemaking. He also utilizes trellising for his Otskhanuri Sapere vines (grapes that benefit in a special way from height). Corn, clover, and other ground cover and flowering plants grow in the combes of these vines - the result is a totally symbiotic, complete system of viticulture, but perhaps more so, a portrait of Archil, his personality, and the depth of his family’s roots here.
Tasting Notes: Reminiscent of a Loire Red, but with Georgian sensibilities. Denser red fruit and savory tomato mingle with a mushroomy aroma. Lightly tannic with a long, smoky finish. A perfect BBQ red. Serve at room temperature with a hearty Mediterranean feast.
Vinification: A blend of Otskhanuri Sapere and Tsolikouri grapes hand-harvested from halfy-trellised vines grown in clay soil. The white Tsolikouri grapes go into Qvevri first after a short maceration and press before the red Otskhanuri Sapere grapes are harvested in November, macerated, and pressed into the Qvevri along with some chacha (pomace and stems). The wine ages for a short period of time before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero additional SO2.