We take a slight turn south here to visit Meskheti, the eponymous region of the mountain range that dominates this southerly sleeve of Georgia. And the story here is elevation. All of a sudden the vineyards which have been found on the slopes of softly rolling river valleys, or trellised in the Kolkheti Lowlands, or along the shores of the Black Sea – here, the anatomy of the vineyard transforms into terraces. From about 900-1700 meters elevation (that’s over 5500 feet into the sky), grapes are grown – and in the case of our producer from this region, foraged – and varieties such as Meskhuri Mtsvane and Meskhuri Shavi thrive. Giorgi Natenadze of Natenadze’s Wine Cellar has crafted two different cuvées we are lucky enough to have on hand – a gently amber wine and a smooth-as-can-be cool-climate red, with a silken texture as comforting as you can find in any bottle. These wines have the distinction of being borne by foraged grapes rather than farmed – truly insane, logic-defying stuff. Rare as rare gets.
Foraged, indigenous grape varietals that were rediscovered after being destroyed during the Ottoman occupation of Georgia.
Grapes: Meskhuri Sapere, Meskhuri kharistvala (Bull’s eye red), Tskhenis dzudzu tetri (Horse breast white, 400 years old).
Fermenting and aging in Qvevri for 6 month with skin contact, later in stainless still.
Tasting notes: Fresh red fruits, berry juice, wild cherry, dried wild herbs.