Tbilvino Qvevris, Kakheti, Georgia, 2011
This is an amphora wine, an ancient method of vinification, where crushed grape skins and juice are co-fermented, then partially matured for several months in large clay vessels – qvevris or amphora, buried underground. The process is best described as a white wine made as if it was a red.
This wine: varietal rkatsiteli (white), natural cork closure, 12.5% abv, blended by M&S, £9 (2015)
Consumer tasting note: amber hued, shades of a sherry background but not austere, dry, not quite medium-bodied, with some rich aromas and flavours of baked stone fruit butterscotch and nuts, shows a not insignificant grip with a modest length.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity amber, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of sweet bruised apple, a little nutty, quince/warm hay, baked orange, spicy butterscotch, baked stone fruit, a honeyed edge.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium (-) body, medium intensity, a moderate grip, with flavours of baked stone fruit, butterscotch, bruised sweet apples, a little nutty. A medium length with a clean light to moderately grippy baked fruit finish, with a slight bitterness on the end.
Quality: a good quality wine, nicely balanced acidity with flavour intensity, alcohol just about right, significant grip from extended maceration / fermentation on the skins, modest flavour concentration, showing some complexity with oxidative oaky notes of butterscotch and nuttiness, along with a tertiary dimension of baked and honeyed notes. A modest length.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – a well-developed wine, which will keep for say 2 years but not improve.