Georgia has a long tradition of winemaking and has developed a wide variety of grape varieties. Georgian white wines are famous for their unique flavor and distinctive character. Georgian white wine varieties are of great importance for the production of quality wines in the region. Georgia, one of the world’s oldest wine producers, is renowned for its wealth of unique native grape varieties that offer a variety of different tastes and textures.
Georgian white wine varieties include Mtsvane, Kisi and Rkatsiteli. Each of these grape varieties has unique characteristics that contribute to the complexity and quality of the wines produced.
In addition to their importance in the production of quality wines, Georgian white grape varieties are also a symbol of Georgia’s culture and history. Viticulture in this region is considered the cradle of wine culture. Georgian producers perpetuate traditional methods that go back thousands of years. Native grape varieties are thus an essential part of Georgia’s wine heritage, handed down from generation to generation.
Rkatsiteli is a white grape variety native to Georgia. One of the oldest in the world, it is known for producing fruity white wines. Winegrowers cultivate this grape in different regions of Georgia. The clay-limestone soils of Kakheti and Qartli, where the hot, dry climate favors its growth. Medium-sized, cylindrical clusters contain oval berries of the same size, which take on a pinkish-yellow hue in dry environments. Late disbudding and ripening are advantages for this variety, which is relatively resistant to pests. Hardy, it can withstand winter frosts.
Rkatsiteli juice has an exceptional chemical composition. Composed of a high sugar concentration of up to 30%, while retaining an ideal acidity rarely below 5. This variety is Kakhetia’s main industrial variety, thanks to its ability to maintain a desirable sugar/acidity ratio. Rkatsiteli white wine is acidic and fruity, with floral notes and a dry finish. It is often aged in oak barrels.
Rkatsiteli white wine pairs well with a wide variety of dishes thanks to its fruity aromas, rich texture and honey-like flavor. Its acidity, especially with seafood, spicy dishes and strong cheeses.
Mtsvane grapes have medium-sized, cylindrical bunches containing oval, yellow-green berries. Mtsvane in Georgian means green, and this grape variety is so named because its juice is slightly green in color. They are harvested in October, after a slow, steady ripening process. The white wine produced from this grape variety has a pale yellow color, lively acidity and fruity aromas of citrus and exotic fruit.
Mtsvane is often blended with other grape varieties. It is aged in oak barrels and Qvevris. This gives it subtle notes of vanilla and caramel. When made in qvevri, it reveals notes of candied fruit. Wine lovers generally drink white wines made from this grape variety when they are young. But they can also be stored for several years to develop more complex aromas.
This grape goes perfectly with traditional Georgian dishes such as spicy meat dishes and local cheeses. It also goes perfectly with seafood and vegetable dishes, as well as salads and aperitifs. Mtsvane is a light, refreshing white wine. Ideal for hot summer days or to accompany a light meal.
Kisi bunches are medium to large, with golden yellow berries. Harvesting generally takes place in October, after a slow, steady ripening process. White wines produced from this variety have a deep golden yellow color. This grape has lively acidity and aromas of exotic fruits, honey and spices.
Producers often age Kisi white wines in oak barrels to give them a rich texture and subtle notes of white flowers and white fruit such as apple and pear. In Qvevri to add fuller-bodied notes and aromas of apricots and walnuts. Consumers can drink them young, but also store them for several years to develop more complex aromas.
The Kisi grape goes perfectly with traditional Georgian dishes such as grilled meats, spicy dishes, grilled vegetables and local cheeses. It also goes very well with seafood and fish dishes. It’s a full-bodied white wine, ideal for a festive meal or an evening with friends.
To find out more about Georgian white wine grape varieties, click on this link: Grape varieties in Georgia (Part 1: Whites)
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