With a spectacular view over the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, the Vasadze cellar offers amazing wines to taste. With the Gotsa winery located next door, together they represent the revival of Georgian high-elevation mountain winemaking.
A Georgian winery is always a family venture. Emzar’s son, Revaz is responsible for the winery management and technical maintenance. The Vasadze’s daughter, Nino is a painter in Tbilisi, but under her artistic hands come out the Tanini labels. She also handles marketing and sales.
The marani is located in the Kiketi village at the altitude of 1,300 meters, which allows for stable ambient conditions throughout the year to keep temperature steady to age wines in clay. As the soil temperature starts to rise in April, Emzar racks wine off to remove tartrate crystals. Underground qvevri volume ranges from as little as 230 to 2000 liters. Stainless steel tanks are used for storage purposes and to allow wine to rest before bottling.
The Vasadze family favours longer fermentation and further maceration to retrieve delicate aromas. At the cellar, Georgian grapes benefit from slight oxidation, as it adds to the flavour complexity. In case of delayed fermentation, such compounds as aldehydes and volatile acidity arise spoiling the original idea behind the wine profile. “It is crucial not to exaggerate the pomace influence at the wine”, says Emzar, “The skins should complement the wine, not to replace it”.
As a member of the NWA, Tanini is required to work with organic grapes only. Most berries for the white wines production come from the Vazisubani microzone. When buying a white wine from Tanini, look through the back label, as the bottles indicate different zones even for one grape variety. Mtsvane from Busheti unveils a breadth of honey, wax and stone fruits aromas. As Andrea Lemieux from The Quirky Cork notes, “The Mtsvane has peaches, peach skin, minerality, and a smokey something”. At the same time, Emzar embarks in indulgence of his Mtsvane from Manavi, comparing it to milk chocolate with caramel and lamenting inability of stainless steel tanks to reproduce the very profile qvevri does.
“If you will not like my Saperavi, you are the enemy for the rest of my life”, exclaims Emzar unsealing one of the qvevri tops and pouring a glass out from under the ground. This is the wine Tanini is famous for and where the winery’s name derives from. Sourced from the Mukuzani village zone, the wine ferments during a month with all stems and matures in qvevri for a year. This prolonged period naturally stabilizes the wine and develops its flavour profile to the point where the wine can be bottled without further doubts about its further alterations. High chalky tannins are well-integrated with appealing flavours of dark flowers, violet and cherry cake.
Emzar finishes with an elegy on how during the good old days peasants made characteristic wines without any science knowledge. “Mother ground gives birth to wine”, he whispers. While we exit the cellar, he prays and sings over the qvevris.
Locally: Tbilisi’s natural wine shops & bars (8000 vintages, Ghvino Underground, G.Vino, Living Vino, Dadi wine bar, Alubali, The Wine Factory).
Abroad: the US (CA, NY: Chris Terrell wines; Chama Mama).
At fairs: RAW WINE (Worldwide), Orange Wine (Austria), Amphora wine (Portugal), Amerimeri (Georgia, Kutaisi), Zero Compromise (Georgia, Tbilisi).
Call Revaz at: +995-599-901-989. Mailto: email@example.com