Last September I returned to Georgia for a trip full of wine and adventure. While I was in Tbilisi I got the chance to meet the founders and writers of Exotic Wine Travel, one of my favorite wine blogs.
I met Dr. Matthew Horkey and Charine Tan at Vino Underground, a great wine bar in the heart of Tbilisi that is owned by several of Georgia’s premier wine makers. It was there they introduced me to the 2014 Jakeli Saperavi.
Saperavi is a native Georgian grape that has been cultivated in the Kakheti region since 6000-5000 B.C. Over 7,000 years this grape has been grown and used to make wine-Georgia’s claim to being the birthplace of wine is not a light one!
Dark purple, almost black in color, the saperavi grape is one of the few that has pigmentation in both the skin and the pulp. The wines it makes are usually high in both tannin and acid and are boldly flavored.
As much as I want to, I don’t really like wines made from saperavi. Which is especially unfortunate as it is the most ubiquitous wine in Georgia. I never found a saperavi wine that really captured me…until that is Matthew and Charine introduced me to the 2014 Jakeli Saperavi.
Founded in 2001, Jakeli is a family venture that makes certified organic wines. They are committed to making quality natural wines which means they don’t add sulfur and they don’t filter. Their saperavi wines are big and bold and will age well for a couple years if you have the will-power to have one and not open it.
2014 Jakeli Saperavi Tasting Notes:
In the glass it’s a lovely deep purple color. The nose is deep and multilayered with raspberry, forest fruits, pepper, blackcurrant leaf, and nutty and forest aromas. This 14.5% abv wine is big and gorgeous. Bold, suede-like tannins with strong acid and a long, long finish carry raspberries, pepper, tobacco, and earthy/leafy flavors.
This is a seriously special wine. If you can find any grab all the bottles and run. I don’t know if it’s changed my mind about saperavi in general but if I have a chance to get another bottle I’ll be beating off the competition to do it.