2014 Doqi Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, The Republic of Georgia
Region: Kakheti < The Republic of Georgia
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic farming; rocky soils at 450m elevation; fermented in traditional Georgian quevri, zero additions
Winemaker: Burkhard Schuchmann
People think of natural wine as a new ‘trend’ but, we’re really talking about a return to tradition than TNBT. But where did it all start? The answer, my friends, is Georgia. Not the one next to Alabama, the one just north of Turkey that has a coast on the Caspian Sea. This is the original wine region where ancient winemaking traditions never went out of style and ‘natural’ is just the way things are done. Wines are fermented in clay vessels, called quevri, that are buried underground for months to years, until the wine is ready to be bottled – both the reds and the whites. The thing is, if you don’t immediately press white wines off their skins, they develop tannin and structure similar to a red – which can make for some weird wines that drink more like dry, tannic jasmine tea than friendly white wine. The Doqi label, a project of German-born Burkhard Schuchmann, attempts to make wines traditionally but a little more approachable. The Doqi Rkastitelli is still fermented in quevri on its skins, so you get a touch of soft tannin and a gorgeous copper color. It’s so intriguing… with every swirl and taste new flavors emerge, from baked apple to kiwi, to white tea and turmeric. Pop it on a cold night and guzzle with a hearty winter dish like braised cabbage or grilled cheese!