2019 Ocho 'Who RU?'
Region: Kakheti < Georgia
Grapes: Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming; 6 months on the skins in qvevri (traditional clay pots that are buried in the ground); bottled unfined/unfilteredwith no added So2; zero-zero; 13.5% ABV
Winemaker: Giorgi Tsirghvava and Mamuka Tsiklauri
When it comes to winemaking, Georgia (the country, not the state) is the OG -- literally, Gerorgia is widely considered to be the cradle of winemaking culture dating back 8,000 years!! And as for natural winemaking, there is no other country so embedded in the ideals of the movement -- mostly because it's not a 'movement' or a new concept for them, it's simply the way they've always done things. Grapes are grown in a biodynamic vineyards and aged in qvervi (large clay pots buried in the ground), where they remain on the skins for long periods of time, with no additions or subtractions. Winemaking culture is everywhere in Georgia -- not reserved for an elite few, here everyone makes wine because it is an important part of their culture, something akin to food that should be enjoyable and nourishing, not dissected and put on a pedestal.
That said, most Georgian wine is not for beginners - it can be austere, tannic and foreign to the American palate. Enter Ocho, a new project from the people behind the Doremi winery (started by 3 friends in 2013), created to offer more approachable Georgian wines, all from organic and biodynamic vineyards from throughout Kakheti and all made with zero additions. 'Ocho' in Georgian mythology is the protector of forests and wild animals, so the cute critters on the labels represent animals that are facing extinction.
'Who ru?' with just 6 months in qvervi, is their least tannic, most beginner-friendly amber wine (they call it amber here, not orange). Intellectual and complex, with savory herbal notes, exotic spice and rich, concentrated apricot and orange rind, this is a wine that makes you feel interesting and smart just for choosing it. Its also super delicious, with a subtle tannic quality that makes it a perfect food wine. Pair with your holiday charcuterie or cheese board, because amber wine sings with gooey, stinky cheeses. And with all the structure and complexity, it would be excellent with a roasted chicken or rich holiday spread.
SERVING NOTES: chill slightly, but not as much as a normal white wine, and if you're feeling ambitious, decant into a pitcher -- air brings out the pretty floral notes.