2015 Gotsa Tavkevri
Region: Kartli < Georgia
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic/biodyamic farming; two level cellar, the first for fermentation the second for aging – they drill holes in the bottom of the fermentation Qvevri to allow for gravity flow into the aging Qvevri. Qvevri are then wrapped with silicon tubing attached to a cold water spring and a warm indoor pool to individually cool or warm the Qvevri during fermentation; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added So2; 11.5% ABV
Winemaker: Beka Gotsadze
This is a weird but wonderful light red wine from Georgia – the country, NOT the state. Georgia, a classic wine region, you ask? Well, yes. Perhaps the most classic of all, having a history of wine that dates back at least 8000 years – longer than any other place in the world. There was a dark time, during Communist rule, when the good stuff went underground, or stayed within families, as Stalin commandeered most of the top vineyards for the state to make industrial plonk for export to Russia. Thankfully, the traditions survived and Georgia’s wine culture is thriving. This crazy light red is made in the ancient traditional method, in qvevris (large, buried earthenware amphora) by Beka Gotsadze, an energetic architect who is obsessively natural and unafraid to modify tradition in the name of improvement (i.e., cleaner more drinkable wines). He farms is high-elevation vineyard organically, without no inputs at all, and is equally hands off in the cellar doing, just moving his juice from one quevri to another and using his archaic water cooling system (silicon tubes around the quevri with either warm or cool water flowing) for temp control. This wine, somewhere between a light red and a deep rosé, also wavering between juiciness and bitterness. Super interesting and exotic, like a magic carpet ride through a strawberry forest, hitting waves of black pepper and medicinal herbs, to end up on a blanket of rose petals. NERD TIP: Decant into a jug or pitcher and let it breathe for 20 minutes, then sip it slowly over the course of an hour or two and watch it evolve. The flavors blossom, showing more flower and soft spice over time.