Collisioni: What Begins with Barbera Must End at Nizza!

My experience at this year’s Collisioni Progetto del Vino began the same way my first forays into Italian wine did, years ago, with Barbera. Why Barbera? My wine education began with Mosel Riesling, I loved the ripe juicy fruit and the bracing, cleansing acidity it provided. After a bit of research, Barbera was the obvious choice – bright, with ripe fruit and beautiful acidity. It did not hurt that both were also ridiculously affordable, even for a college student. I settled on Barbera d’Asti, and a name easily recognizable: Michele Chiarlo, Barbera D’Asti “Le Orme”. It was exactly what I had hoped for, with ripe red fruit and yet a bright mid palate, leading to a clean finish. One bottle led to another… and so it was through Barbera that my interest in Italian wine was born. 

Years later, I was able to try Barbera with age, thanks to a good friend, Eric Guido, who shared more than a few of his bottles with me, and it added another layer to my love for the grape. Age-worthiness not only provides the ability to develop a more complex array of flavors, but also a deeper emotional attachment to the wine. Wines are like books to me (shocking analogy for someone who teaches literature) – and a good book must be held on to, cherished, reread over the years. Tasting decade old Barbera was exactly that, the same bright, juicy fruit, but so much more nuance, texture and power. The wine Eric brought to dinner was 2005 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba Cascina Francia, a powerful, ripe and rich version indeed. However, having tasted the Barbera Superiore and the Nizza wines, including some excellent older bottles, I can say without a doubt that Barbera can age. Yet, I am jumping too far ahead. When asked if I would like to come to the Collisioni earlier and learn more about Barbera and Vini del Monferrato, the answer was obvious – yes, please!

I jumped on a red-eye flight to Milan and arrived at Costigliole D’Asti by midafternoon, just in time to taste about 40 Barbera d’Asti at the Castello di Rorà. The ability to taste a group of producers at the same time can be just as valuable as single producer tastings, though for different reasons. A tasting with a single producer, at their cellar, allows one a deeper understanding of the specific wines, of the soil and the story that goes along with them. However, a group tasting, like the one at the Castello, gave a broader impression of Barbera d’Asti and its potential. We saw a multitude of winemaking styles and were able to assess how the grape responds to these techniques. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the Barbera we tasted, as well as the aging potential of the superiore style. The best wines showed ripe, red cherry on the nose, along with a hint of spice. The mid palate varied from a lusher, riper red fruit, to a tart cherry, balanced in by the bright core of acidity. My favorite wines tended to finish with a hint of savory, meaty note with a long, dry finish. 

Ksenia Berta of Berta Paolo

Wines of note: Alfiero Boffa Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2013 Cua Long – mineral, deep cherry tones, serious already and shows aging potential; Berta Paolo Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2011 La Berta – savory, rich cherry tones with a deep, lush feel; the long, spicy finish keeps going – even with age on the bottle the wine feels fresh and young; Cascina Gilli Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2015 Dedica – powerful, riper fruit leaning toward black cherry, savory and spicy notes, needs time to integrate; La Gironda Barbera d’Asti 2015 La Gena – fresh (no oak), tangy red fruit, notes of iron, good grip on the finish; Tenuta Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2015 Le Rocchette – complex, deep sexy cherry fruit, mineral, structured, will age; Villa Giada Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2015 Quecia – bright, tangy cherry fruit, impressive balance.

Susanna Galandrino of La Gironda

Our Monferrato experience concluded at Nizza, with an amazing lecture on the terroir of the DOCG by Alessandro Masnaghetti, who has completed a map of the region’s vineyards. We were then able to taste thirty-six Nizza wines from the excellent 2015 vintage, presented in flights by municipality.  Nizza DOCG is young, having received its status in 2014, but the ambitious and forward-looking Association of the Nizza Producers is seeking to establish the reputation of its wines in the world by focusing on quality and a unified approach to the marketplace. The wines have a minimum of 18 months aging, of which six must be in wood, the Riserva wines up that amount to 30 months of aging, 12 in wood. Having tasted the excellent 2015 vintage, I can confidently say these are wines built for age and power. They possess the fruit and the structure to mature, and, having tasted a few older examples at the Gala dinner after the tasting, these wines age well, developing savory, earthy tones that enhance their complexity and make for excellent pairings with rich, meaty foods of Piedmont. 

Alessandro Masnaghetti

While some producers are clearly still finding their way with the use of oak aging, my favorite wines tended to show excellent balance between the use of wood and the bright, fresh cherry tones of the wine. A great example is the Dacapo 2015 Nizza, which spends 12 months in barrique, yet shows all the beauty of sweet bright red fruit Barbera is prized for and the depth and length of a wine meant for the cellar. It is already a complex wine, and I can only imagine what it will develop into. Another wine that impressed me was the Villa Giada 2015 Nizza Dani, which also spends a full year in oak. Again, I found the balance impeccable here, with a darker cherry on the nose, leaning toward lusher, richer notes, but the bright acidity and the redder note in the mid palate brought one back to Barbera, with a spicy, if lusher, finish. The third wine was Alfiero Boffa 2015 Nizza La Riva showing brighter, redder cherry tones, leaning to sour cherry and with a bright, tart finish. This one was the most “ready” of the wines, but with clear potential ahead. 

The La Gironda 2015 Nizza Le Nicchie, on the other hand, showed a riper core of blue and red berries with hints of vanilla above cherry tones. I clearly needs time to develop, but the serious, complex mid palate shows immense potential. Another impressive wine was the Sant’Evasio 2015 Nizza – showing ripe bing cherry, and rich sweet mid palate where the ripe, soft fruit meet the structure of the wine. If structure and power is your calling, I suggest the Tenuta Olim Bauda 2015 Nizza, which spends 30 months in oak, developing a power and seriousness beyond many others wines. The fruit here is more subdued, brooding, begging for a few more years in the bottle, but it will reward with time in the cellar. The last wine I must mention is the Cascina Garitina 2015 Nizza Neuvsent, a giant wine, clocking in at 15.6% alcohol level and over 7g of acidity. The old vines of the vineyard curb the yield and the high elevation and the exposed position of the vineyard further concentrate the flavor. Use of larger oak barrels allows the brightness of the fruit to shine through. This is surely a wine of unusual power and concentration, but impressively balanced and the serious, mouth-coating fruit, playing off the high acidity suggests the possibility of aging and taming the beast within. 

Renata Bonacina of Dacapo

Gianni Bertolino of Tenuta Olim Bauda

Andrea Faccio of Villa Giada

I wanted to take a brief moment and thank the Associazione and the Consorzio for their hospitality, and the amazing staff of Collisioni Progetto Vino for all their help. We were invited to join the Nizza producers at their yearly Gala, and were humbled by the generosity of our beautifully dressed hosts. We had the opportunity to taste some of the older vintages of Nizza wines, and see their potential for ourselves. Chef Enrico Bartolini’s food must be commended as well – for many of us it was the last night in Italy and he delivered a truly sensational experience. I don’t even know whether to talk about the incredible appetizers, the stunning, Barbera-colored risotto or the veal that melted in my mouth. I have yet to discuss all the other wines tasted during our Monferrato adventure, the perfumed Ruché, the bright and spicy Grignolino and the deep and age-worthy Freisa. But, I promise I will get to them soon! I cannot wait to re-taste some of these wines at home, and surely will be looking to cellar several Nizza wines in order to enjoy them in years to come.

Skurnik/Theise Tasting: 2017 German Wines

I’ve been lucky enough to attend these tasting for years, and get a peek at the new
vintage for myself. Obviously, to judge a vintage from a tasting – even as
extensive as this one – would be unfair. But I can offer my impressions – and
honestly, I was surprised. I was in the Mosel and Nahe area during the early
part of this harvest, thus I already knew the quality of the fruit coming in
was very high, a big relief after a disastrous spring with hail and frost. I
knew that this meant a smaller crop – and would result in a more concentrated
wine. But what surprised me, and I must say quite pleasantly, was the
brightness of the fruit and the impressive zing the wines had. I was prepared
for the baroque and lush yellow peach and sappy, dripping apricots with hints
of orange blossoms from the botrytis… and I was met with bright white peach,
pear, and loads of ginger! A multitude of delicious Kabinetts, lithe and
bright, sunshine and stone. In some ways, it reminded me of 2002, if one was to
see 2015 as 2001 (I don’t think 2015 is exactly like 2001 – but the pair made
for a good comparison). While perhaps not spiking to the heights of the 2015s,
these offer a depth and beauty. Yet, a word of warning – do not mistake the
brightness of these wines for lightness. They are big, serious and will show
their true power if given the chance to age. I cannot speak for the Auslese
wines, I tasted too few to even make a guess, but the Spatlese have power and
structure to develop over time. A side note for the lovers of Scheurebe – this
is the time to grab some, the cat is out and it is hungry. 


It is always a pleasure to taste with Johannes and Hannah Selbach. Their wines represent the Mosel I fell in love with: floral, full of grace, with a nod to history but not afraid to be themselves. They are not the wines that scream for attention, but they reward patience and introspection. I am
currently drinking my stash of 2002 S-O Spatlese (Zeltinger Sonnenuhr *) and I
am very happy I waited. White peach, mineral, flowers… a true Mosel Riesling. 

2017 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese feinherb Ur Alte Reben: Green peaches, deeply aromatic with herb and pear. Ripe mid, leaning quite dry with bright acidity over the rocky, mineral-laden fruit. This needs time but should prove to be another excellent Feinherb.  

2017 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese : Already a beauty - this wine opened up with bright white peach and floral notes, big sexy peach and pear in the mid with minerality adding edges to the curves. Quite creamy but with a long ginger and zest finish.

2011 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese: Once the hint of petrol blows off - this wines is grabs you, ripe, candied lemon, ginger, smoke, and loads of autumnal fruit. While clearly bigger, it has much to give in terms of structure and minerality - a great showing for a still young wine. I really enjoy tasting these back vintages together with the new wines - as a reminder of how much patience is rewarded. 

Hannah Selbach

2016 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Anrecht:  This has all the best qualities of the 2016, light floral, elegant wine, teeming with ripe yellow peaches in the mid and a mineral core. Long sweet and tart finish. Delicious.

2017 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese ‘Schmitt’: While most Selbach-Oster wines prefer the quiet of chamber music and polite conversation….Rotlay and Schmitt are the rowdy rock stars. This wine is no exception: rich melange of tropical fruit and berries, ginger, acid, stone, power… And for all that, this stays light, avoiding the sappy, sugary tones. An excellent wine, and will require and reward patience.

 Weingut Spreitzer  

From the Mosel, it seems right to jump to the Rheingau, trading in the floral notes and pastels for steel and muscle. And Weingut Spreitzer is Rheingau, even in the persona of Andreas himself. But don’t mistake the steel in the wines for coldness, they will greet you with open arms, if given the chance. The feinherbs and kabinetts are a great example of that, I am on my last bottle of the 2012 Kabinett halbtrocken and it is delicious now, citrus and lime galore. 

2017 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Doosberg Riesling Alte Reben: Did someone ask for Rheingau? Lean, bright with grassy and herbal tones on the nose, core of pineapple and tropical fruit in the mid, underscored by ginger and stone. Intense Trocken - on par with the GG in style.

 2017 Weingut Spreitzer Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Großes Gewächs: Shockingly good, especially for such a young GG, already stunning in its stony armor, but look under - and it is ripe and rich, bursting with tangy fruit. This is wine of power and elegance. One of my favorites from the tasting.  

Andreas Spreitzer

2017 Weingut Spreitzer Winkeler Jesuitengarten Riesling feinherb Alte Reben: Floral and earthy, with a core of white peach. Bright middle of tangy fruit over mineral, light zesty finish, drier than it seems. The balance here is key. Delicious.

2017 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett: Bright, autumnal fruit with notes of pear and even apricots. rich wine, with a serious mid-palate and a long finish. It will really reward a few years of patience.

2017 Weingut Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Spätlese 303: This is, in many ways, an Auslese, if perhaps brighter and more lifted. With 98 grams of RS and 10g/l of acidity - it is a beauty. Ripe, rich fruit, hints of tropical notes and orange blossom from the botrytis, mirabells take over the mid, adding a zing and bite. Long sweet and sour finish with lemon curd. Excellent wine.

Jacob Schneider

I love Hermannshohle Wines, I can’t help it. Especially as a Spatlese or Auslese. With age, they show cream and red berry notes that are simply irresistible. And here is a family that makes amazing wine from the vineyard, both dry and lieblich. How are they still a secret? I recently had the trocken version - the Magnus - and it stood up well to a Chablis in a flight. Purity and texture. The wines I tasted today, the 2017 vintage, were in the same vein - purity, great fruit and the acidity to match

2017 Weingut Jakob Schneider Riesling MELAPHYR Qba trocken: Mineral, smoke, herbs and grass - what a pretty little QBA. Although little may not be fair - it is packed with spicy citrus fruit. 

2017 Weingut Jakob Schneider Niederhäuser Riesling “Auf der Kertz” feinherb: Peaches, red slate, load of apples. This shows good sweetness up front and in the mid, with a tangy, zesty note of ginger, mint and lime.  

Jacob Schneider

2017 Weingut Jakob Schneider Niederhäuser Klamm Riesling Kabinett : A real Kabinett has become a rare thing. This is one - full of yellow and white peaches, but light, lithe, and…the glass is empty.

2017 Weingut Jakob Schneider Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spätlese: This was a rather intriguing Spatlese, in a room full of white peaches, this one swung for the apples, and riper toward the mid, apple pie, nutty notes and quince. Lovely citrus and spice on the finish with perhaps a hint of savory herbs. 

2017 Weingut Jakob Schneider Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese : Another one of my favorite wines at the tasting - a Spatlese of stunning purity. My notes say - “Perfect. Buy. Cellar. Enjoy.” And that really is all that is needed, with bright acidity (9.8 g/l) and excellent levels of RS for a Spatlese (70g) - it is both ripe, and bright, sweet and refreshing. It will need some age to come together, but this is a star.

Weingut Darting

Heike Darting

One table I never miss at tastings is that of Weingut Darting. And I always know what to expect - honest, delicious wines, made with love and skill. Oh, and the best Rieslaner in the land, of course. But this year there was more the Durkheimer Hochbenn Muskateller Kabinett Trocken 2017 was impossible to resist, deeply aromatic with sweet yellow flowers on the nose and bright, acid driven mid. Summer and shellfish are calling. 

Talking about the summer, is there a better summer-time party wine than the Darting Durkheimer Nonnengarten Riesling Kabinett? I mean, it already comes in liter bottles. To me - that says party time! The 2017 is very bright, ripe and clean, with a delicious citrus tang on the finish.

…. and then there was the 2017 Ungsteiner Honigsackel Scheurebe Spatlese. Showstopper. Big delicious tropical notes, mixing with the salty sea breeze and whole garden of herbs. This was delicious, and so very scheu. 


The tower needs no introduction. I was lucky enough to visit in late September and capture the above image. Standing with Helmut on that vineyard road, discussing the vintages and the impending harvest - that is a Riesling geek dream. The Donnhoff 2017 wines show class, and I really enjoyed the power and elegance of the 2017 Felsenberg Riesling “Felsentrumchen” GG. Spicy, with a long midpalate and a bright finish. This is showing well already. 

The 2017 Hermannshohle Riesling GG is a different beast, still elegant and powerful, but brooding, darker and deeper than the Felsen. This one needs time, the complex flavors will surely find their way through, and calm the brooding storm. It is a masterpiece, but patience is required. 


Phillip Rumpf

I really enjoyed the 2017 Kruger-Rumpf wines, especially the lieblich side. Starting with the floral, tangy and sexy Muensterer Rheinberg Kabinett, and on to the more lithe, peachy and pear-y Muensterer Im Pitterberg Kabinett shat showed my favorite Riesling note - red berries (think red currant). But my two favorites were the Spatlese from Dautenpflaenzer. 

First, the Riesling: a striking balance of sweet, tropical fruit, with its tangy, sappy notes, and the brightness and lightness of a true Spatlese, staying savory and rich without overwhelming the palate. And then there was another Scheurebe. The 2017 Scheurebe Spatlese is a beastly thing. Rich, sexy, plush at one moment and racy at the next. Deep and complex. Catch me if you can. 

A Few Other “Do Not Miss” Wines

Sebastian Strub

Guido Justen

Enrico Saam

There were many standouts in this tasting. Every single A.J. Adam wine I tried was delicious, but I must highlight two. First, the Dhron Hofberg Riesling Feinherb “In der Sangerei”, powerful, with peaches and grapefruit notes, with the mid-palate leaning mineral and a dry, spicy finish. And the Dhron Hofberg Riesling Kabinett, with its mint, sage, savory herb nose over ripe white peach and pear. Delicious. 

I can never say enough about the baroque beauty of Merkerlbach wines. Their 2017 Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Spatlese “2” is the perfect example. Old school Riesling, perhaps even Old Skool. Spicy, savory, with an understated elegance and a tart richness that keeps you coming back for more. But the star was the Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese Lang Pitcher “#7”, the melange of spices, tropical botrytis-influences aromatics and the bright Urziger fruit is simply delicious. Seek this one out. 

Strub is another estate that I cannot help but love. Their wines are a great representation of the people who make them - the smile is earnest, and the sun shines both from their faces and their wines. Sebastian is a perfect example - and I really enjoyed discussing the wines and the vintage with him. The 2017 “Thal” Feinherb defines the style, floral, bright, with a herbal note in the mid and a long, zesty finish. The “Soil to Soul” Kabinett is always a ridiculous value, but the 2017 offers a generous helping of pineapple on top of the ripe peach and the creamy mid rounds the whole thing off. I enjoyed both the “Herzstueck” and the Pettenthal Kabinetts, both showed bright apple and peach, ripe mid and an excellent core of acidity. The nod perhaps goes to the Pettenthal, which showed more minerality and a deeper, complex finish with ginger tones. 

While I always enjoy the wines of Meulenhof, I was even more surprised with the 2017s. These showed finesse and brightness that really served to underscore the deep fruit characters of their wines. My favorites were the Erdener Trepchen Riesling Spatlese Alte Reben and the E.T. Riesling Auslese #102. Both wines showed peaches, white flowers, hints of tangerine and excellent depth, with the Auslese adding more cream and riper peach and apricot to the mix. 

The wines of Weingut Kunstler are Rheingau wines. Elegant, masculine, with a hidden core of power and a clarity that borders philosophy. My favorite wine was the Hochheimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Kabinett Trocken, because it personified all of the above, a true Rheingau wine, masculine, complex and yet, crystal clear. One cannot overlook the Berg Schlossberg Riesling GG from 2016 either, elegant, but with yellower fruit and a more delicate feel, as expected from the vintage. 

Overall, the 2017 vintage seems extremely promising. And, at least in my case, will probably offer a good amount of wine for long term storage while I enjoy the 2016s. Overall, Riesling rewards those who can wait… but that, of course, may be just my opinion. 

Georgian Wine Tasting and Seminar: 2018 NYC

What does the image of Georgia conjure up in the American psyche? Other than peaches… wait, wrong Georgia… Perhaps mountains? I know my students may think of Medea, the strong, stubborn, lovesick princess of Colchis, daughter of the haughty Aeetes. Aeetes did have an eternal set of springs at his palace that poured forth honey, milk and wine… Thus, there is at least that connection (though Georgian wine history goes much further). I, on the other hand, along with everyone who grew up in the Soviet Union always think of…Pushkin (Pushkin is always the answer - no matter the question.) 

“На холмах Грузии лежит ночная мгла, / Шумит Арагва предо мною. / Мне грустно и легко; печаль моя светла; / Печаль моя полна тобою…” (The hills of Georgia, covered by the Night, / The mighty Aragva roaring below / My mind is both gloomy and light / My heartache is full of You…) 

I visited Georgia as a child, and I distinctly remember the impression it made: fresh, bright and vibrant. Yes, perhaps to an outsider, the Soviet period Georgia would not have made that impression, but for an urban child from a dull industrial city, this was a different world. Fresh lamb, fresh water, bright voices, fresh - and full of life - faces! And that water, flowing out of seeming every rock, sweet, mineral-laden and, surely, the cure for every disease. But wine? I was only eight… 

Georgian wine was THE wine of the Soviet world. Sure - there were some imports from Hungary and Bulgaria, and a few weak wines from Moldova, but Georgia made the wine everyone wanted and no celebratory occasion was complete without. When my family immigrated to the United States in the 90’s, Georgian wine was another link to the “old country”, a nostalgic pleasure. But the immigrant community drank (and drinks) wine that reminded them of the Soviet period, often sweet, overripe and medicinal - hardly a wine geek dream. They lacked…everything. But the culture of wine-making was not gone. With the passing of the Soviet period, the fledgling artisanal industry is on the rise in Georgia, a renewal that looks both to the past and toward the future. That is why I was excited to attend today’s tasting - to taste both the past and the future. 


And to learn, because speaking Russian does not make one an immediate expert on all things within the Soviet sphere. And surely - not the ancient tradition of Qvevri. Luckily I was able to get a seat for the seminar on these earthenware vessels and the traditions of Georgian wine-making, lead by Lisa Granik, MW. The complexity and the sheer level of intricacy was shocking. In my naivete, I never imagined how many choices and possibilities these vessels allowed. Starting from the clay itself and the firing method, to the cooling constructs and the soil the vessel is to be buried in. The qvevri themselves require amazing attention - the giant vessels require six days in a kiln, where they must be heated to over 1000°. And then, the process begins: what size does the winemaker choose? what lining (wax on the inside or perhaps a cement outside?) Stems or no stems, or some stems? And after six months - the wines are transferred to another vessel and the maturation process begins. Ms. Granik laid out the advantages and disadvantages of these and gave us a peek at the choices facing the modern winemaker. And then came the wines - bursting with personality and brightness.

Lisa Granik, MW

Bagrationi 1882 Classic Brut and  Rosé Brut: The Classic showed apple cider, green apple and peach on the nose, with some sweetness in the mid as well as a bright note of candied ginger. The Rosé was more floral, with strawberry and citrus dominating. 

Chateau Mukhrani Rkatsiteli and Saperavi: Bright, mineral and chalk Rkatsiteli, showing light herb over citrus in the middle. Refreshing wine. The Saperavi with more in the Bordeaux style, with oak adding a plush background to the mineral notes and the bright black fruit.

Vaziani Tsinandali and Mukuzani: Both wines showed a bright acidity, with the Tsinandali leaning toward citrus and candied grapefruit and the Mukuzani toward sweet herb, red fruit and mineral notes. 

Qvevruli Tetri really impressed me with its combination of modern and traditional approaches. Made in qvevri from a combination of three grapes, Kisi, Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli (thus the name), but aged in oak. Rich citrus notes combine with tannic, herbal and tangy citrus notes in the middle and back. Quite intriguing already. 

Marani Satrapezo Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane: I enjoyed both of these, with the Rkatsiteli showing more ripe citrus notes and the Mtsvane as a lighter and brighter sibling. Both wines combine the textural uniqueness of the qvevri method with the polish of the oak aging. Hard to choose one, but if I had to, the Mtsvane, with it bright citrus, won me over.

Marani Kvareli 2009:  This was one of my favorite wines from the tasting, showing a hint of age which added to the complexity of the wine. Ripe black and red fruit, warm spices over a berry middle, leaning toward blackberry, hint of tobacco leaf. Long ripe finish with great structure and a pleasant tannic grip. This really screams for a grilled lamb.  QPR alert as well.

Do-Re-Mi Kakhiri Mtsvane: Tannic, bright, intense orange from the skin contact, ripe citrus dominating. Intriguing! 

Kakhuri Gvinis Marani  Rkatsiteli (Qvevri): Orange color, ripe floral nose, tannic and bring in the middle with citrus and mineral dominating. Chalky, stony and bright - excellent wine begging for a summer dinner with a grilled fish or poultry on the menu. 

Artevani Saperavi 2015: With only 12471 bottles made - this was my favorite wine of the tasting. In fact - if this was the only wine i had today - it would have been worthwhile. Rich black fruit on the nose, changing by the minute, showing more spice one moment and more red the next. middle is ripe, plush and comfortable, like an old library armchair: grab a glass, sit down and… stay. While this wine would clearly benefit from some aging, it showed a finesse and concentration that was hard to match. The sweet fruit were backed by both structure and acidity, keeping the wine fresh and me reaching for another glass. 

Konstantin Khizder of Interbalt Products

Orgo Mtsvane Blanc de Blanc 2015: The surprises continued. Apple, bright citrus, hind of bread, bright mineral and apple in the mid, tart and fresh finish. A great sparkling wine!

Baia’s Wine Tsolikouri Qvevri 2016: Wow. This was my second favorite wine of the day. Intense red berry on the nose, high acid wine with citrus and green herbs, bright and stony, the wine dances on the palate, never stopping, always showing another facet. Fascinating wine from a young winemaker with a bright future.  

Naotari Saperavi 2015: Very light for a big wine, red fruit leaning toward cranberry, bright middle with minerality coming to the fore. refreshing and delicious.

Lukasi Saperavi: The other side of the grape, richer, darker black and red fruit, plusher and more serious. And yet, the wine remains fresh, with a long tart finish. 

I want to thank JoLynn Howe of Silver Lining for the invitation and the event - it was quite an eyeopening experience. I must say, I came away with a deeper appreciation for the region and its artisans, and, thanks to Lisa Granik’s seminar, a better understanding of the fascinating tradition of the Qvevri. The future of Georgian wine is clearly bright - but why wait? The present is already delicious!

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