£9.59–£11, Fintry Wines, Vineyards Wine Shop, The Solent Cellar, Noble Green Wines
What took me so long? Georgia has been making wine for 8,000 years, but this is the first time I've recommended one here. My excuse is that it's new to the UK, or at least new last autumn, together with six other wines being imported by Hallgarten Novum Wines from the Vachnadziani winery in the Kakheti region in eastern Georgia.
While I would love to have recommended Vachnadziani's Qvevri red, made in the traditional way with skin-contact fermentation in clay amphora-like qvevri, I've settled for a more affordable, better distributed and more approachable style, but a wine that is quintessentially Georgian none the less, thanks to the indigenous Saperavi grape.
Saperavi has a reputation for producing dark, full-bodied, tannic and acid wines that need time to mellow, but this non-vintage red shows that it can be successful in a more immediate, juicy, supple, unoaked style, bringing out its red fruit, hedgerow berry and violet aromas and soft, savoury, graphite-mineral flavour. It would be good with meaty or tomatoey pasta dishes, moussaka and other aubergine dishes, pulled pork, or lightly spiced vegetable or noodle dishes. 13%
Vachnadziani Saperavi (non vintage), Kakheti, Georgia
£9.59, Fintry Wines; £9.99, Vineyards Wine Shop; £10.99, The Solent Cellar; £11, Noble Green Wines; Beckford Bottle Shop; £55.50 for 6, Strictly Wine; £56.04 for 6, Great Wines Direct