Georgian Wine & Cusine

 

GEORGIAN WINE

The birthplace of wine We Georgians are proud to live in the place where wine was born – indeed we feel this is only natural. Archaeological research provides evidence of viniculture as far back as 7000 years in the Caucasus region. Many say that the generic word ‘wine’ stems from the Georgian word ‘Gvino.’ Certainly Georgia has many more original varieties of grape than any other country – over 500. Our warm climate and moist air, touched by the Black Sea, provide perfect conditions for the cultivation of wine. With so many centuries of practice it is no surprise that our wines are superb. Saperavi, Tsinandali, Mukuzani, Teliani, Napereuli, are names now extending beyond the former Soviet empire, into the super-markets of western Europe and America.

The Rkatsiteli grape (pronounced “Katsitelli”) creates a robust white wine full of character, with many varieties and brands. Mtsvane is popular as a blending partner for Rkatsiteli. The increasingly famous red Saperavi grape provides powerful and fiery wines with an aroma of plums, spices and almonds. In the Kachetien regions of Kvareli and Gurdzhani you will discover the delicious, naturally fomented semi-sweet wines of Kindzmaraulli and Akhasheni. Central European varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are now also being grown to great success in this fertile region. Among red wines the barrique method of barrel fermentation and storage is now virtually standard practice. However the old Caucasian method of wine production is still widely practiced in the east, particularly Kakheti in which grapes are placed in large, earthenware vessels called Qvevri, buried in the ground, sealed and left for several months to reach a natural and delicious maturity.

GEORGIAN CUSINE AND TABLE

Georgian TableAlongside our historic viniculture we have a no less engaging tradition of its consumption. Visitors always remark on the abundance of different dishes in Georgia’s homes and restaurants . The formal Georgian table is still very much alive and is found today as frequently in cities as in villages, with elected “Tamada” (toast-maker) and Merikipe” (glass-filler). Georgia’s original cuisine, rich in walnuts, pomegranate and vegetable pates, provides a superb accompaniment for our wines . Our cuisine is the natural extension of a fertile, mineral-rich landscape fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus mountains. Numerous wild, aromatic herbs give the dishes their unique tastes . Much is still organic and the ingredients of Georgia’s varied cuisine profit from a temperate climate that provides fresh and seasonal vegetables for three quarters of the year . Due to the antiquity of our culture it is hardly surprising Georgia has developed a highly original cuisine. Not only is it a perfect accompaniment to our rich viniculture, we make a point in showing it off to our guests in elaborate feasts we call ‘Supras.’

The Georgian “Supra”– Spread out before you, you will find a superb range of meats, cheeses, vegetables more often than not organically produced, and often at high altitude amid clean mountain air. But before eating be ready to raise your glass. The ‘tamada’ or toast-maker will be making a toast to ‘friendship . ’ As the tamada speaks look down the table at the array of aromatic foods covering the surface. The following are just a few of the dishes unique to Georgia.

Georgian cuisine is very varied with different dishes cooked daily. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, or Imeretian cuisines.

In the words of Alexander Pushkin “Every Georgian dish is a poem”.

Matsoni – Georgian yogurt.
Mtswadi – Georgian shashlik , meat grilled to perfection over a vine-wood fire.
Pkhali – a wide range of spiced vegetable pates, usually with a walnut paste base.
Khajapuri – Georgian cheese bread, appearing in a number of regional styles.
Lobiani – Khajapuri made with beans and aromatic spices, instead of cheese.
Adjabsandali – a delicious blend of fried aubergines, onions, peppers and spices.
Badrejani – aubergine and garlic, with pomegranate seeds and walnut paste.
Khinkali – juicy meat dumplings made to be eaten by hand.
Baje – ground walnut sauce with garlic and spices. Great with everything.
Ajika – Georgia’s own spicy hot sauce filled with herbs and spices.
Tkemali – a red or green sour plumb sauce made from the fruit of the tkemali tree.
Churchkhela – hazel and walnuts stung together in a thickened wine sauce.