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Posts Tagged ‘georgia wine’

Drink Local: Texas, Georgia, Walmart

August 27, 2018 10 comments

Whenever I travel, whether for work or leisure, I always love to try local wines – adding an occasional winery visit is a cherry on top, for sure.

Drinking local had been a habit for a long time (here are some posts if you are interested in my past discoveries), and I have to say that more often than not, the curiosity is rewarded handsomely, with tasty, unique and different wine discoveries.

At the end of June, I was in Texas, and of course, I wanted to taste the local wines. I didn’t have time to visit a supermarket, so to my delight, I found a full line of Texas wines at the happy hour at the Residence Inn hotel where I was staying. All the wines where from the winery called Messina Hof, which, according to the website, is a very prolific producer, offering 70 different wines – well, everything is bigger in Texas, right? Here is what I had an opportunity to try:

Messina Hof Red Wines

2017 Messina Hof GSM Texas (14%ABV, 52% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre, 13% Grenache) – earthy aromas, cherries, good acidity, tart blackberries, good structure, excellent overall. 8-

2016 Messina Hof Reflections of Love Private Reserve Texas  (13.5% ABV, Merlot based blend?)
Touch of eucalyptus and dark fruit on the nose
Perfectly clean, varietals correct Bordeaux with cassis, well integrated tannins, crisp structure, excellent overall. 8

2016 Messina Hof Pinot Noir Private Reserve Texas (13.5% ABV) cherries on the nose, good cherries and and plums on the palate, well integrated, well balanced, medium plus weight, round, smooth. Not necessarily a traditional Pinot Noir rendition, but well enjoyable. 7+.

The only supermarket I managed to find the time to visit while in Texas was the one at Walmart. There was no Texas wine there (sad, but rather expected), but I couldn’t leave empty-handed, couldn’t I? I settled on two wines, both of which I picked solely on the basis of a cool label (yes, sorry, you can make as much fun of me as you want – I did like that critter label with the duck) and the price. I have to tell you that I actually got lucky, and ended up with two very decent wines:

NV Lucky Duck Shiraz South Eastern Australia (13% ABV, $3.99) – yes, simple, but very clean and nicely balanced. Good but not overbearing amount of red and black fruit, good acidity, warm spices. Medium body. Pleasant and easy to drink, outstanding QPR. 7+

2016 Prophecy Sauvignon Blanc Marlboro (12.5% ABV, $8.99) – unquestionably a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, while surprisingly restrained. Fresh, Crisp, cassis undertones, touch of tropical fruit and fresh cut grass, Meyer lemon notes, clean acidity. Excellent QPR. 8-

At the end of July, I had an opportunity to spend a weekend in Atlanta. I didn’t have much time, but still managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the local Total Wines, which, to my delight, carried the selection of the local wines:

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Local Selection at Total Wines Marietta

Many of the wines were either fruit wines or pointedly sweet wines, however, I managed to find the Château Élan wines, which promised to be dry, and were priced in the category I consider “reasonable” (at $19.99). Here are the notes for the wines I got:

2015 Château Élan American Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Georgia (13% ABV, $19.99)
Light golden
Touch of gunflint on the nose, herbal profile
Very unique and different on the palate compare to most of the Sauvignon Blanc wines. Green apple, tart lemon acidity, clean, fresh.
8-, more reminiscent of Chardonnay than Sauvignon Blanc – well drinkable and delicious overall.

2016 Château Élan American Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Georgia (14.5% ABV, $19.99)
Dark garnet, almost black
Classic Cabernet all around – nose is open and inviting, with a touch of casis and mint
same on the palate – dark fruit, cassis, fresh cherries, medium+ body, soft tannins, good acidity and overall good balance.
8-, very quaffable

I wish I had an extra few hours to visit the winery, which I understand is located about an hour away from Atlanta, but this will have to wait until the next visit. In any case, I get to update my “wines of 50 United States” page with one more check-mark :).

That’s all I have for you, my friends. Any local discoveries you want to share? Cheers!

Treble Journey Update – Advancing Into The Last Ten (#283 – #291)

December 17, 2010 1 comment

When I restarted my Wine Century Club crazy grape adventure in the May of this year, I had no idea how long will it take to get from about 200 grapes (was not so easy to get even there, trust me) to the 300 grapes, which are required to achieve Treble level.

I started documenting the journey from Doppel to the Treble level with one of the very first posts in this blog. On July 20th, I was talking about grape number 240. It is middle December now, and I’m crossing into the last ten. The last advance, from #283 to the #291 was mostly made due to the Georgian wines, where a lot of authentic grapes are used. So in no particular order, the latest group includes the following grapes:

Kisi – from very nice white wine Marani Kondoli Mtsvane Kisi 2008, Georgia

Mujuretuli – red grape used in the famous Georgian wine called Khvanchkara

Aladasturi – red grape used in another Georgian wine, Alaverdi Me and You 2002, Kakheti –  nice and round wine

Tsolikauri – white grape used in Georgian wine called Tvishi (Teliani Valley Tvishi 2005) – the wine was surprisingly good, with a hint of sweetness, good fruit and acidity

Tsitska and Chinebuli – white grapes used in the Bagrationi sparking wine I wrote about in my previous post.

In addition to these Georgian grapes, two more wines added 3 grapes:

Picolit and Malvasia Istriana – used in white Italian wine Jermann Vintage Tunina 2006. This was one of the most unusual white wines I ever tried, full bodied, with the tart fruit expression and pronounced sense of place.

Roter Veltliner – white grape from Austria (wine was called Ecker Roter Veltliner 2008). I’m not sure I would be able to distinguish Roter Veltliner from Gruner Veltliner, but at the same time I never tried…

All together that brings us to the number 291. And to put the final target within the reach, more wines are waiting to be tried, which will add Coda di Volpe, Erbaluce, Portugieser, Ruche, Grolleau, Schiava and Pigato – you do the math.

So the fun journey continues, and I will make sure to report on it. As they say on the radio, stay tuned…

When Was The Last Time You Had Georgian Wine?

December 15, 2010 4 comments

Let me repeat the question – when was the last time you had wine from Georgia? I don’t mean one of the US states down south, I mean the Georgian Republic, the country bordering Russia in South Caucasus. I would expect that for some of you the answer will be “long time ago”, and for many others – never. And this is rather expected, but now is the time to change that.

Based on many sources, Georgia is regarded a birthplace of the winemaking. It is considered that winemaking in Europe goes back 5,000 years. Winemaking in Georgia seems to have a little edge over that with start at around 7,000 years ago. While we appreciate historical references, we are drinking the wines now, so the current state of affairs (I mean, of course, winemaking) is a lot more of interest.

Georgia’s wine industry had been through some rough times, starting with Prohibition attempt in former USSR during the 1980s. After Georgia became an independent country, there was a quick turnaround – for profit, it is. A lot of bad wines were produced in Georgia, and even more false Georgian wines were produced outside of it, to take advantage of historical value recognition of the Georgian wines. Luckily, as capitalism is taking hold in Georgia for good, there is a similar change in the Georgian winemaking, with honest people coming back to make honest wines and restore the “pride of the land”.

Seeing (oops, sorry, I meant tasting) is believing. Tasting the wine called Satrapezo, made from one of the Georgian authentic grapes, Saperavi, completely changed my perception of the Georgian wines, which I was definitely avoiding for a while. This wine is produced at the winery called Marani. Marani is really focused on making great wines, and it is showing in this flagship wine. Beautiful deep garnet color, layers of concentrated fruit (old world mature style, nice and gentle) and silky smooth tannins, balanced with good acidity and a very long finish. This is the wine to enjoy,…and enjoy, …and enjoy. In terms of Drinkability, this is definitely a 9.

Another example was (totally unexpected to me) sparkling wine called Bagrationi. Made from three authentic grapes ( yay, Treble Journey advance!), Chinebuli, Tsitska, and Mtsvane, this wine had all the classic champagne traits – yeasty nose, hint of apples and fresh bread on the palate, dry and refreshing.

There are a lot more of Georgian wines to discover and enjoy. I’m glad to add Georgia to my personal wine map – and I highly recommend for you to do the same. Go find a bottle of Georgian wine and enjoy the results of 7,000 years of winemaking history!

 

 

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