The Wolski’s family story begins in the 1830s with the November uprising in Poland. Fighting for independence, the ancestors were caught and exiled by the Russian Empire to Georgia. Following local traditions, they vinified wine for the household consumption. George made a family debut with Chateau Khashmi wines first sold in 2016.
Wolski’s attitude towards winemaking is solid and unshakeable: “There is nothing added, nothing removed, and varietal wines need no blending between one another. It is a Bordeaux prerogative, not mine”. Not a bit of sulphites has been added, even with the commencement of worldwide distribution. There is also a commercial reason behind minimal intervention in Georgia. The National Wine Agency aids natural producers by eliminating the mandatory organoleptic test for wines with less than 40 mg/L of total sulphites. Thus, small wineries may distribute wines quicker to replenish their finances.
Recently, George moved the wine-production from Khashmi to Tbilisi, which saves him an hour on frequent round-trips. Unlike before, the current cellar contains almost two times more qvevris, but their capacity does not exceed thousand liters. Wolski comments that it is due to stronger native yeasts, which may drive temperature during fermentation over 35°C and cause problems in a larger vessel. Moreover, due to warmer ambient temperature in the capital, wine may finish malolactic fermentation quicker. Previously, it had taken Saperavi 2016 two years of maturation to be naturally stable for the bottling.
Named after his elder son, the Andria's wine range includes the only red, Saperavi from Khashmi. Wolski owns four parcels scattered around the village. Local lieux dits and en foule own-rooted vines make Khashmi a distinctive appellation. Being an elevated, mountain-protected dry terroir, Khashmi vineyards need four times less organic treatments than in the Gurjaani zone, a Kakhetian neighbor across the Tsiv-Gombori range. George’s vines are 45-year old vieilles vignes and are cane-trained extremely low to the ground with only six buds left after pruning. With a summer hail and a jinxed neighbor who smoked the vineyards with bonfire, 2020 vintage will see only 1500 bottles of Saperavi. The wine is matured with skins, but without stalks, as the cooler climate prevents stem full ripeness. To help the wine stabilize colour matter and enormous tannins, George micro-oxidises the must in the beginning of the fermentation. With a plan to hold the 2018 vintage for three years in qvevri and one more in bottle, Wolski aims to tame its rustic nature and release it as Saperavi Reserve.
The Kakhetian white grapes are bought-in from small winegrowers in the Akhmeta zone. Wolski helps them financially and strictly controls the amount of spraying during the growing season. His Rkatsiteli stays in contact with pomace up to three months, before being racked for natural stabilization in qvevri. “I too, share the vision that Rkatsiteli stems become some of the ripest among other varieties. Organoleptics allows me to add a maximum of 30% stems in my varietal wine,” says George during the tasting. Opulent orange Khikhvi stays in contact with skin for up to a month, while for another noble white, Kisi, it takes only a week. The latter is florally aromatic and is served after Saperavi, because of its breadth and considerable natural tannins.
Extensive participation in local and international exhibitions last year yielded positive results. Amerimeri, a local wine fair held in Kutaisi, brought him a chance to taste wines from Western Georgia producers and meet Irakli Minadze from the Phersvi winery. Furthermore, it helped to organize a RAW WINE seminar on contrasts between regional Georgian wines, hosted by Isabelle Legeron MW. Subsequently, Imeretian white varieties of Tsitska, Tsolikouri and Krakhuna have been added to the Chateau Khashmi wine array. Hailing from the Baghdadi district, Western Georgian varieties are vinified with minimal skin and stems contact, keeping delicacy and freshness.
Currently, the wines are sold in Europe under two labels, but are the same. With the volumes quadrupled in the last five years, Wolski looks positively in the future, planning to call some of his wines after the younger son, Alexander. Indeed, wine is a family affair in Georgia.
On sale: Israel (Giaconda), the US (Weygandt-Metzler), Germany (Dilemi.de), Bulgaria (Seewines.com).
At fairs: RAW WINE (Worldwide), Amerimeri (Georgia, Kutaisi), Zero Compromise (Georgia, Tbilisi).
Call George at: +995-599-79-00-07. Mailto: email@example.com