RAMAZ NIKOLADZE, IMERETI, Georgia – Organic
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- DIDIMI MAGHLAKELIDZE, IMERETI, Georgia – Organic
- IBIRIELI, ZURAB TOPURIDZE, GURIA, Georgia – Organic
- MANDILI, MARINA KURTANIDZE, CHARDHAKI, Georgia – Organic
- GAIOZ SOPROMADZE, IMERETI, Georgia – Organic
- HERMANN DONNHOFF, OBERHAUSEN, Nahe
RAMAZ NIKOLADZE, IMERETI, Georgia – Organic
Nikoladzeebis Marani was founded in 2007 by Ramaz Nikoladze on the base of his ancestors’ vineyard and typical Imeretian
cellar in Nakhshirgele. There are two white Georgian grape varieties planted in the vineyard; Tsitska and Tsolikouri. Natural
winemaking methods are used in both the cellars and the vineyards
. The grapes for this wine are co-fermented whole bunch in
1000-litre qvevri buried outside, spending four months macerating on skins and another year ageing in smaller qvevri.
The label humbly introduces the wine and winemaker as “I am Didimi from Dimi and this is my Krakhuna.” Krakhuna, a white
grape, is indigenous to the Imereti region of western Georgia and is mostly found in the village of Dimi, where seventy year
old Didimi lives. Krakhuna is reminiscent of a dry, Loire Valley Chenin Blanc (albeit with some skin contact) with flavors of
lemon peel, pear skin and dried pineapple.
IBIRIELI, ZURAB TOPURIDZE, GURIA, Georgia – Organic
Zurab has been involved in vineyard farming and making natural wines from childhood when he used to help his granddad. He
was 13 years old when he made his first natural wine on his own. His winery is in the village of Dablatsikhe (English
translation “Lower Castle”), which is located in Chokhatauri municipality of Guria region. Guria region is located in the
western part of Georgia, bordered by the Black Sea subtropical costal lowlands to the west and the mountains in the east. The
region is rich in cultural traditions and natural beauty, famous for its polyphonic music, humorous people, and used to be well-
known for its delicious rose-hued wines. When Zurab got married to Tamar to a native of Dablatsikhe, he bought small house
in the village and sufficient land for viticulture, and started planting and reinstating the variety that his grandfather loved so
much. This was Chkhaveri, a rare late-ripening variety, native to Guria region, making rosé-style wines. He makes natural
wines in underground qvevris with a total capacity of around 13 tonnes (22 terracotta vessels in total). The vineyard itself is
four hectares, planted on the terraced slopes of River Supsa valley, on the reddish-brown clay over lime with lots of
magnesium and iron in the soil. The rosé is macerated for one month on skins and seeds and aged five months in qvevri. The
Saperavi is from an organic vineyard in Kakheti on lime-rich soils. The wine undergoes two weeks of maceration (including
the stems) and is fermented naturally with its own yeats before ageing in underground qvevri for seven months.
Mandili is a project of Marina Kurtanidze (who is married to Iago Bitarishvili) and Tea Melanashvili.
Both women wanted to make a wine that was both Georgian in spirit and also conveyed the essence of creation by women.
They chose the Mtsvane grape because they both loved the wines that came from and they were also able to buy wines from
healthy, organically-farmed vineyards. In this process they had the help of friends, and encouragement from fellow qvevri
producers. Georgia has a very tight-knit wine community, vine growers and wine producers are being nurtured to grow, both
in their outlook and in their businesses. Winemaking in Georgia may have an 8,000-year heritage but it still feels like
something done on a wing and very many prayers! The grapes – skins, stems and pips (the mother) are left in the big terracotta
clay qvevri buried in the earth for six months, wherein they undergo their primary and malolactic fermentations. The vigneron
can’t monitor the wine during this lengthy gestation period, so after the primary fermentation is completed, the qvevri is sealed
and the wine is left to tick over and receive its nourishment from the “mother”. Many Georgians will say that the opening of
the qvevri is like giving birth to the wine, literally putting it on its feet. The Mtsvane is slightly more come-hither than the
Kaketian Rkatsiteli and more al dente (if that’s a wine term!) than the Chinuri grape which flourishes in the Kartli region in
central-eastern Georgian. The Mandili version is simply gorgeous. The salmon-pink colour is inviting, the nose speaks of so
many things including roasted apricots, crystallised citrus even grilled mushrooms and the palate encompasses tea, sake and a
pink grapefruit tangerine-tang. Like the best Georgian wines, it possesses earthiness and real umami flavours balanced by
energetic acidity and fine-grained tannins. Texture is an important dimension in wine, but it requires fluidity to bring all the
components into relief. This wine has that fluidity.
GAIOZ SOPROMADZE, IMERETI, Georgia – Organic
Another Georgian wine from a micro-estate (if that’s not an exaggeration) of 0.7 ha producing all of 340 bottles. Or too few to
count. This is from the aboriginal Chhakhveri which can be spelled in a variety of ways, sounds like a sneeze and tastes like a
breeze. Chak, as I will call it for short, ripens in November and is normally makes slightly sweet onion-skin hued rosés. From
fifty year old organic vines on heavy clay soils this is made like all our Georgian friends, fermented on indigenous yeasts in the
classic 314lumies and bottled with nowt taken out. A red to the jug, for the jug and by the jug.
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Feats of Clay
In a gay jar upon his shoulder
The slave morosely carries wine.
His road is rough with bog and boulder,
And in the sky no starlights shine.
Into the dark with stabbing glances
He peers, his careful steps are slow,
The staining wine should overflow.
I bear my amphora of sorrow,
Long brimming with the wine it hides;
There poison for each waiting morrow
Ferments within the painted sides.
I follow secret ways and hidden
To guard the evil vessel, lest
A careless hand should pour unbidden
Its bitterness upon my breast.
2015 Saint-Joseph Rouge, Domaine des Miquettes
2015 Saint-Joseph Rouge, Madloba, Domaine des Miquettes
2015 Syrah, Domaine des Miquettes, Ardeche
2013 Saumur Blanc “Terres” Amphore, Thierry Germain
2014 Mondeuse Amphore, Domaine Belluard
2012 Brouilly Alma Mater, Jean-Claude Lapalu
2015 Casa de Si Chiquitin, Calatayud
2015 Benimaquia Tinajas, Rafa Bernabe
2013 Tinajas de la Mata, Rafe Bernabe
2016 Musikanto Rosado, Rafa Bernabe
2015 La Amistad, Rafa Berbabe
2014 Mattaborricos, Comando G
2015 Xarel.lo Amphora, Loxarel
2015 Ops, Samso/Garnacha, Loxarel
2015 Aphros Vinho Verde Loureiro Amphora
2015 Aphros Vinho Verde Palhete Amphora
2015 Nosiolo, Elisabetta Foradori
2015 Sgarzon, Elisabetta Foradori
2015 Morei, Elisabetta Foradori
2015 Pinot Grigio, Elisabetta Foradori
2011 Vitovska, Paolo Vodopivec
2016 Arcaico, Andrea Occhipinti, Lazio
2016 AA Caravaglio Occhio di Terra, Salina - Sicilia
2014 Vino di Anna Qvevri Rosso, Etna
2014 Pithos Bianco, COS
2015 Pithos Rosso, COS
2015 Mandili Mtsvane, Kartli, Georgia
2015 Okro’s Wine Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, Georgia
2015 Okro’s Wines Saperavi Bude, Kakheti, Georgia
2011 Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsitelli
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Tsolikouri
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Kisi
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Shavkapito
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi
2011 Pheasant’s Tears Tavkveri
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Polyphony
2016 Pheasant’s Tears Vardisperi Rose
2015 Iago Skin Contact Chinuri
2013 Gaioz Sopromadze Chkhaveri Red
2015 Zurab Topuridze Saperavi
2015 Cuvee, Zorjan, Slovenia
2014 Dolium, Zorjan, Slovenia
2015 Pyramid Valley Fields of Fire Chardonnay, New Zealand
2016 The Don Pinot Gris, Nelson, New Zealand
2014 Turbul Friulano, Quealy Winemakers, Australia
2015 De Martino Muscat Viejas Tinajas, Itata, Chile
2015 De Martino Cinsault Viejas Tinajas, Itata, Chile
2013 Priscus, Ambyth Estate, California
2015 AD Beckham Pinot Gris, Oregon
2014 AD Beckham Pinot Noir Creta, Oregon
2014 AD Beckham Amphora Malbec, Oregon
2015 AD Beckham Amphora Grenache, Oregon
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Der Wein erfindet nichts, er schwatzt’s nur aus.
HERMANN DONNHOFF, OBERHAUSEN, Nahe
I’m an old-fashioned kind o’ guy. I like to be seduced by a wine, roll it around it my mouth learning as I taste. I don’t
expect to play tonsil-hockey with oak on a first date. So many wines are extracted with a hammer and chisel; they
have no grace notes, but are all souped-up sweetmeatedness. Unction has no function when flavour batters your buds
into submission. For demure refinement give me a tongue-teasing Riesling.
Stuart Pigott writes about the dedication to quality of certain German growers, the “masters of Riesling” as he
describes them. “For Dönnhoff, the Hasselbachs, Leitz and Loosen… the goal is to achieve the greatest possible of
aroma and flavour compatible with harmony. In the vineyards they work for low yields, and pick both late and
selectively for maximum ripeness. In the cellars all pursue a policy of minimal intervention, so that nothing is lost
through unnecessary filtration or fining… When everything works out it is a philosophy which results in wines that are
packed with flavour, beautifully balanced and unique in character. In an age when wines are becoming ever more
standardised, and quality is increasingly being defined purely in terms of thickness these are noble exceptions to the
The Dönnhoff estate is situated in the village of Oberhäusen between the villages of Niederhausen and
Schlossböckelheim in the rocky landscape of the middle Nahe. The family first came to the region over 200 years ago
and established a modest farm. They turned the farm into a fully-fledged wine estate, with the acquisition of top
vineyards. The soil in the Nahe is a mixture of slate, porphyry marble (crystal and mineral-filled lava rock) and
sandstone, whilst the vinification involves a very slow fermentation in classic German old oak casks. Helmut Dönnhoff
has been making the wines since 1971.
With Rieslings such as these it’s a question of “never mind the width feel the quality”.
The Trocken (dry) wine, made with grapes from a mixture of volcanic and slate vineyards, is pale straw coloured, has a
lively citrus (lime) and mineral nose, and on the palate plenty of good crisp fruit and just the right amount of acid to
balance. Riesling to kittle the palate.
The Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett has more than a whiff of the Mosel about it. The fine balance of apple and peach fruit
and cool minerality speaks of a finesse and true elegance that few wines can match. The wine is concentrated, and very
long, and without an ounce of fat. It is so light on its feet that the “Kabinett” label is not misleading, despite the much
higher ripeness. Delicious.
The Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese has a floral bouquet with mineral slatey tones; on the palate this wine is
complex and richly sweet, with honey and citrus fruits, yet with a tingly steely edge. Excellent fruit/acidity balance. For
Dönnhoff’s Niederhauser Hermannsöhle Riesling Auslese one is compelled to delve into a lexicon of taste sensations.
Tarragon, stones, and pears can be detected in the nuanced scents its juxtaposition of immense richness and elegant
detail. Medium-bodied and satin-textured, it reveals an ample character awash in spices, herbs, poached pears, and
super-ripe apples. Notes of red currants, slate, and candied minerals intermingled with linden blossoms can also be
discerned in its complex flavour profile.
As for the Oberhäuser Brücke Eiswein what can one say except that language seems a poor instrument to describe its
multifaceted charms? Beautiful, multifaceted and harmonious, unfolding its apple, passion fruit and citrus flavours
seamlessly it is vibrant and long on the finish, with a citrus aftertaste combined with mouth-coating white chocolate and
kirsch: a swither of golden grapes.
The wines exemplify the delicate pleasures of Riesling: gossamer grace, charming limpidity and scintillating acidity. As
Galileo said: Wine is light, held together by water. A perfect description of Dönnhoff Rieslings.
RIESLING QBA TROCKEN
OBERHAUSER LEISTENBERG RIESLING KABINETT
OBERHAUSER BRUCKE RIESLING SPATLESE
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Some hock and soda-water, then you’ll know
A pleasure worthy Xerxes the great king;
For not the blest sherbet, sublimed with snow,
Nor the first sparkle of the desert spring,
Nor Burgundy in all its sunset glow,
After long travel, ennui, love or slaughter,
Vie with that draught of hock and soda-water
So if you fancy a mock-heroic spritzer to pacify the pounding headache and you can’t put your hands on some fine Rhein(gau), substitute
some Mosel-Saar-Ruwer to restore an inner sense of Rühe.
A German wine label is one of the things life’s too short for, a daunting testimony to that peculiar nation’s love of detail and organization.
Kingsley Amis – Everyday Drinking
WEINGUT LOUIS GUNTRUM, Rheinhessen
The family roots go back until 1648, to the small village of Wörrstadt in Rheinhessen. Ever since, the Louis Guntrum family
has been growing grapes and making wine. The 8
generation, Louis Jean George Guntrum, built today’s Estate building in
1923 – it offers a beautiful and spacious environment to produce some of the finest wines from Germany, but also impresses
with its stunning location directly adjacent to the Rhein river. Today, the estate is owned and managed by the 11
Louis Dry Riesling comes exclusively from traditional vineyards in the heartland of Rheinhessen – the steep
vineyards along the Rhein in Nierstein and Oppenheim. An artistic blend of grapes from Nierstein (red slate) and Oppenheim
(chalky loam), thus blending the fragrance and delicacy of Nierstein wines with the power and structure of Oppenheim wines.
Sustainable farming and grape growing with limited yields through reduced pruning, green harvest and hand selected grape
picking. The Riesling is fermented at only 10°C in stainless steel. No addition of sugar, water, acidity or any other additives.
Extended time on the lees until early bottling. Natural fermentation, dried cultured yeasts added only towards the end of
fermentation to ensure dryness. Delicate fragrance of white peaches, apricot and juicy pears. The classical Riesling in
expression and elegance.
100% cute Riesling at a price miniaturised in a great shrinking ray.
The style is off-dry with rounded fruity citrus flavours. There’s pineapple, a touch of the sherbet dib-dabs and a good, clean
finish. It’s a wine that says like Harold Skimpole: I’m just a child, you know. Take me as I am. Unlike Harold Skimpole it’s an
Wine talks. Everyone knows that…. It unleashes the tongue, teasing out secrets you never meant to tell, secrets you never even knew. It
shouts, rants, whispers. It speaks of great things, splendid plants, tragic loves and terrible betrayals. It screams with laughter. It chuckles
softly to itself. It weeps in front of its own reflection. It opens up summers long past and memories best forgotten. Every bottle a whiff of
other times, other places; every one from the commonest Liebfraumilch to the imperious 1945 Veuve Clicquot, a humble miracle. The
translation of base matter into the stuff of dreams. Layman’s alchemy.
Joanne Harris – Blackberry Wine
- 318 -
David Hasselhoff, Baywatch star, when told he has five gold albums as a singer in Austria
WEINGUT MATTHIAS WARNUNG, Kamptal
Matthias grew up in a small, family-owned winery situated in the Kamptal. During his time in South Africa and Southern
France, inspired by his teachers Craig Hawkins of Lammershoek and Tom Lubbe of Matassa his passion for natural wines
grew steadily. Back home in the village of Etsdorf he started to produce wines the way he liked it – as if he would make them
just for himself. Now he processes the grapes of one hectare for his unique wines. The small vineyards, all situated around
Etsdorf consist mainly of old and well adapted vines. The vineyards is the place where it all starts for Matthias therefore he
invests a lot of time in caring for them. Gradually organic principles are implemented in the cultivation. All wines are
fermented spontaneously in small barrels. After malolactic fermentation and two years on the lees they are bottled. Just a
minimum of sulphur is added to the unfiltered wines. The focus is on Grüner Veltliner but Riesling and Zweigelt also play
The rose is handpicked, whole bunch pressed for 8 hours, straight into barrel without settling, spontaneously fermented,
malolactic fermentation, two years on its full lees, just a minimum of sulphur added two weeks before bottling. The whites are
whole bunched pressed by foot with time spent on the skins. The Zweigelt is also whole bunch and naturally fermented.
ESPER GRUNER VELTLINER
FELDSTUCK GRUNER VELTLINER
ETSDORF ZWEIGELT ROSE
WEINGUT JURTSCHITSCH, ALWIN & STEFANIE JURTSCHITCH, Kamptal – Organic
The Kamptal region is considered to be cool climate with cold winds from the north highlands (Waldviertel) meeting the
warming panonian climate from central Europe. The temperature differential between night and day ensures that berries have
thicker skins as well as the conservation of their aromas and acidity. Alwin and Stef work organically in the vines which are
on the gneiss and schist on terraced vineyards overlooking Langenlois. After a manual harvest and sorting (ripe grapes but no
botrytis) the whole bunches are fed into 5000 litre open oak fermenter with two weeks fermentation on the skins / bunches. The
ferment is natural with indigenous yeast and ambient temperature, the malolactic starting on the skins and finishing naturally
in the barrels. A mere 10mg/litre total sulphur added and only at bottling. The name Belle Naturelle means natural beauty.
“What can we get rid of and still make a characterful wine. 2015 was a great year. Maybe the most beautiful harvest since
decades. 100% healthy grapes. The trick was not to harvest too late so the natural acidity, which is important for our region,
remains in the grapes and gives firm long lasting wines”.
And the wine is certainly a liberated version of Gruner. Unlike many filtered examples grown on the loess this Gruner is lifted
and aromatic. Excellent farming, sorting of grapes and consequent low yields give textural quality whilst the whole-bunch
open-top skin ferment and malo imbues Belle Naturelle with a gorgeous array of subtle flavours. The nose is reminiscent of
warm fresh apricots (skins and flesh), roasted white spices – ginger and coriander – are present with a spiced brioche
leesiness, skin crunch and good balance of acidity. The wine benefits from a carafe and a good Burgundy glass. The wine is
naturelle and belle.
“Freier” means free or liberated. 2014 was a difficult year to get ripe and healthy berries, the volumes of high quality non-
botrytis grapes being very limited. In the end, they made a barrel which they left on the full lees until April. The wine is closed
at first with a tension between lees and oxidation which is most intriguing.
Pot des Fleurs is fermented whole bunch in a Georgian 318lumies of 550 litres and matured for 6 months. Afterwards the
wine was racked into an old 500 litre barrel for 11 months.
POT DES FLEURS
ma'muriyatiga murojaat qiling