Montesquieu Winery is proud to announce that it has partnered with the country of Georgia’s Nelkarisi Winery to bring classic Georgian wines to our customers. Nelkarisi wines are produced by JSC Friends’ Cellar, a group of 11 friends from around the world brought together by a love and appreciation for Georgian wines. They soon began harvesting grapes from a vineyard in Georgia’s ancient wine region, Kakheti.
At Montesquieu, we could not be more thrilled to have uncovered this hidden gem for our customers. We’ve been sourcing limited production, unique wines for our customers for more than 25 years and we were immediately enthralled by the opportunity to offer these wines to our clients. The history of Georgia’s wine region, the quality of the wine, and the opportunity to preserve Georgian winemaking traditions while bringing international winemaking standards to Georgia’s indigenous grape varietals was simply an opportunity we could not pass up!
History of Georgian Wines
It is now considered common knowledge that the earliest traces of viticulture began in what is now Georgia in Neolithic times. Wine has now been produced without interruption in the area for over 8,000 years, and the country’s wine traditions have become a key component of the country’s national identity.
Archeologists have discovered that since 6,000 BC grapes have been cultivated in the area and buried in clay vessels called Qvevris, which are topped with a wooden lid and then covered in earth during the course of the winter. The Qvevris’ are often coated with beeswax, and archeological excavations have found vine fossil seeds, tartaric acid sediments, and resin indicative of wine production in the remains of Qvevris. This ancient method of wine production is still being practiced in Georgia today – in some parts of Georgia wine is still drank in animal horns called kantsi, which are boiled and polished to create a unique drinking vessel. TV viewers around the world may even have witnessed TV Host Anthony Bourdain drinking Georgian wine from a kantsi when he visited Georgia in a 2016 episode of Parts Unknown.
Wine Production in Georgia Today
Georgian wines today are traditionally named after the source, village, or region from which they were cultivated, much as a French wine would be associated with Burgundy or Bordeaux. Georgia’s wine regions are known for their ideal growing conditions, where extreme temperatures and frost are rare. The Black Sea is responsible for air that is generally moist, and mineral rich water drains into the valleys from mountain streams.
There are a number of different wine regions in Georgia, but the Nelkarisi wines that we are offering our customers today come from the most famous of Georgia’s wine regions, Kakheti. The climate in this region is very similar in terms of both rainfall and heat to that of Southern France; the region offered wine growers nearly perfect terroir long before concept was formalized.
Because of the black soil from river Durudji, the temperature is about 3-5˚ higher than on the nearby territories resulting in grapes have 23%-28% sugar. According to wine-searcher.com, “A particular kind of soil, called ‘cinnamonic’, is found in Kakheti’s key wine-growing zones. This typically comprises sandy, reddish-colored, calcareous clays. The soil’s color is the result of its high iron content, which also serves to bring depth of flavor and rustic, earthy notes to the local wines.”
Most of the wine produced in Georgia today comes from small farms using traditional winemaking methods, although there are a number of monasteries and increasingly more modern wineries producing Georgian wines as well.
Montesquieu’s Georgian Wine Offerings
Montesquieu is thrilled to have partnered with Nelkarisi Winery to offer a number of small batch, limited production Georgian wines exclusively to our clients. Both of these offerings are made today in full compliance with Georgian wine traditions.
2013 Saperavi Dry Red Wine
This ruby red wine is made from the Saperavi grape grown in the Kindzmarauli micro-zone, located on a junction of the rivers Duruji and Alazani, in Kakheti, Georgia. This wine has a full body and an intense aroma, full of red berries, rose and ripe grape notes. The finish is long and spicy with expressed varietal flavor, supported by silky tannins.
2015 Mtsvane Dry White Wine
This wine is made of Mtsvane grape variety, harvested in the micro-zone of Akhmeta, Kakheti, Georgia. The vineyards are cultivated at 500 meters above the sea-level. Pale gold with greenish highlights, the bouquet of the wine is rich with white peach aromas. The palate offers apple and white fruit flavors with an elegant finish.
If you are interested in learning more about our Georgian wines, check out our offerings in our online wine shop and reach out directly to your wine specialist.