Ultimate guide to Georgian wine
  1. Introduction
  2. Full disclosure
  3. Where to find
  4. Contact
  5. Tasting notes
  6. Location on the map

Introduction

Named after Saint Barbara, a Greek martyr and a symbol of fertility, Barbale wines have been produced since 2016. Whereas the saint’s name denotes “shining splendour”, these organic wines as well are magnificent in their vivacity. In case of a visit, don’t miss an amazing sunset with a view at the hilltop monastery of St. Peter and Paul, which is located next to the cellar.

Full disclosure

Being raised by the father who was born in the winegrowing region of Racha, the key figure behind the winery, Berdia Berishvili has always dreamt about making his own wine. Working in the restaurant business and creating wine labels thereafter, Berdia has finally plumped for the path of natural winemaking. Following the motto of a naturalista “to save each variety's unique expression, and minimize artificial additions“, the grapes are organically grown at renowned sites of Kartli and Kakheti regions. Moreover, commercial yeasts are not used in wine production. “If I apply Burgundian Chardonnay yeasts to Rkatsiteli, I will never attain its varietal character which comes from qvevri” he asserts. Representing the essence of the traditional Kakheti blend taste, the wine stays 3 months in contact with skins with additional 8 months maturation in qvevri. This blend of Rkatsiteli with 20% of Mtsvane comes from the Magraani village, a lieu-dit for white wines.

Barbale’s Kisi grapes come from the neighboring Argokhi village, a site called a cru for this grape variety. A famous Georgian winery, Lagvinari is a neighbor in the vineyard. Made with partial carbonic maceration of these light and thin skin berries, the wine offers aromatic peach profile with mellow tones of Turkish dates. Not to be missed, the 2017 vintage was awarded with 97 points from Decanter, London.

Locally, Barbale winery is known for its dry farmed vines nestled in Bolnisi, the center of the Kvemo Kartli region. It is a serious achievement indeed, given the fact that it receives barely enough rainwater during the growing season. What really catches one's attention is the use of rare indigenous varieties of red Danakharuli and white Kundza. Starting 2020 vintage, the latter makes 10% of the Goruli Mtsvane blend and adds tropical delicacy to its acidic structure. Originally from the Shida Kartli region, where Barbale holds some vineyards, black as ink Danakharuli makes 30 to 70% of the red blends. Textural flavours of black plum and blackcurrant are apparent. Last but not least autochthon is red Shavkapito. With bright flavours of fresh red currant and pomegranate, the wine begs for soft cheese and charcuterie.

Another curious attribute of Barbale is the use of 225-liter Bordelais barrels for primary fermentation and maturation of premium cuvées. Two and a half hectares of the Saperavi terraced vineyards twine around the hilltop of the Elia Mountain, crowned by the St Peter and Paul Monastery. During the harvest, the grapes are picked by the monks. The eponymous wine is matured at least 12 months in oak after qvevri fermentation and shows a European touch to Georgian traditions.

During the winter of 2021, Khikhvi vines are to be planted in a newly established vineyard in Bolnisi. The variety is known to deliver full-body high-alcohol rich white and amber wines. As for 2020 vintage, eight wine labels to be realised, and without a doubt each of them is delightful.

Where to find

Locally: almost in any wine bar or restaurant in Tbilisi and Batumi (8000 vintages, Wine Gallery etc.).

Abroad: Czechia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Belarus (Vino&Vino), the Baltic states (Latvia: Alaverdi, Locale, Amber), China (Georgian Selections).

Contact

Call Berdiya at: +995-591-305-716. Mailto: order@barbalewines.com

Tasting notes

Wine tasting notes are to be found at a separate page.

Any wine comments?