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WINE OF THE WEEK: Dugladze Ranina Mukuzani Saperavi 2016, Mukuzani, Kakheti, Georgia

£14.50, Amathus Drinks

Georgia's iconic, dark-skinned Saperavi grape has a reputation for giving strapping, inky red wine with muscular fruit, brawny tannin and matching acidity that needs years to come round. It's not unjustified, but it's not the grape variety's only guise.

Given the right vineyards and modern winemaking, Saperavi is capable of producing much more approachable wines that none the less retain distinctive varietal character.

The Dugladze family's Ranina Mukuzani, matured in French oak barrels for nine months, is one of these contemporary expressions.

From higher, cooler vineyards in the Kakheti region's prime Mukuzani appellation, it smells of spiced cherries and wild berries dusted with graphite, polished leather and woodsmoke and has velvet tannins, a dash of pomegranate and prune and a freshness that makes it adaptable at the table.

I drank it with roast poussin flavoured with rose harissa; roast root vegetables, squash and cauliflower (with black garlic, fennel, cumin and coriander seeds); a cheese and vegetable filo pie (spiced with ras el hanout and cinnamon); and a pork stew recipe from southwest France (lots of onion together with prosciutto and anchovy). It would also be good with all sorts of Georgian dishes, not least the classic chakapuli (which I wrote about here). 13%.

As a partner for the Ranina red, I highly recommend Dugladze's Ranina Kakhuri 2018, a delicious, approachable and food friendly orange wine (£12.50, Amathus Drinks).

Dugaladze Ranina Mukuzani Saperavi 2016, Mukuzani, Kakheti, Georgia

£14.50, Amathus Drinks


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