K’AVSHIRI: Unveiling Exceptional Georgian Blends.
We were excited to receive an invitation from Fred Nijhuis to join an exclusive group of 12 individuals worldwide for the unveiling of K’AVSHIRI wines. Featuring a limited release of 996 bottles for both the red and white blends, this marked the debut of a captivating project from Georgia in the public eye.
Our rendezvous took place at the charming Hemel & Aarde restaurant in Utrecht, where we delved into the intricacies of this extraordinary initiative. The founders presented their vision during an engaging session, complemented by an outstanding lunch experience.
The Founders of K’AVSHIRI
British well-known wine critic and author of over 25 books, Robert Joseph and Georgian Vladimer Kublashvili, highly experienced wine judge and chief winemaker for winery Khareba – one of Georgia’s leading wine companies – are the creators of K’AVSHIRI. Which means ‘come together’ and that is exactly what Robert and Vladimer did.
It all started in 2018 when Robert and Joseph met. Robert was visiting Georgia frequently since 1988 and was fascinated by the rich history, cuisine, and wines of the country. Robert who is experienced in co-creating innovative wines such as ‘Le Grand Noir’ was deeply impressed by Vladimer’s talent and imagination. While tasting wines from indigenous Georgian grapes they began to imagine the creation of a new special wine together. Blends of grapes are unusual in Georgia, as are blends across regions and between winemaking techniques. The two men decided to do all three and create a new generation of Georgian wines.
Georgia, One of the Oldest Wine Countries in the World
Georgia is one of the oldest wine countries in the world. Wine residues were found 8.,000 years B.C. in Qvrevri’s, which are large earthenware vessels buried below ground and used for fermentation, storage and ageing of the wine. Qvrevri’s are still very important in the Georgian winemaking industry today and complement wines with unique flavors.
With over more than 500 varieties of indigenous grapes, about one-sixth of the world’s total grape varieties, Georgia has a lot to offer to the wine world.
One of a Kind Wines
The K’AVSHRI wines are rich and complex blends, made from grapes grown in vineyards in Kakheti and Imereti. Ten percent of the wines are fermented in Qvevri with some of the same varieties also being fermented in stainless steel and second-year oak, which made up another 10% of the blend. Several experimental blends were produced – including during the pandemic- before Robert and Vladimer were satisfied.
What sets the K’AVSHIRI wines apart are the result of multiple components. One of them is co-fermentation of the red Saperavi and white Rkatsateli and Mtsvane grapes together with new combination of grape varieties. To create texture, they added small amounts of Aligoté and Muscat to the white blend for example.
A significant part of the unique character of the wines is the winemaking techniques and the blending of regions and vintages. Robert and Vladimer were making alterations in the blend and oak-ageing until the harmony was just right.
For this occasion, we had the pleasure to taste the 2022 and 2023 vintage of K’AVSHIRI side by side. All K’AVSHIRI wines use a base from the mentioned vintage, supplemented with some reserve wines from previous vintages. In the winemaking process K’AVSHIRI makes use of traditional Qvevri’s.
The 2022 white K’AVSHIRI is a blend of ten different grape varietals (Krakhuna, Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane, Tsolikouri, Mtsvivani, Khikvi, Aligote, Tsitska, Muscat and Kisi), grown in two distinct growing regions (Kakheti and Imereti).
Its 2023 counterpart uses the 2022 as reserve wine for its blend. Additionally, from the 2023 vintage nine varieties (Rkatsitel, Mtsvane, Tsitka, Krakuna, Tsolikouri, Khikhvi, Aligote, Muscat and Kisi) from two regions (also Kakheti and Imereti) are used.
The 2022 vintage has slightly more fruit versus the 2023 vintage but both blends are elegant and are equally exciting. The result is a selection of fine wines with a distinct Georgian character, made in the most ancient wine region in the world, with a truly unique signature.
Next to the white K’AVSHIRI we tasted the same two vintages of its red counterpart.
The 2022 red sees a combination of 2022 (base), 2021 and 2022 wines. It originates from four growing regions (Kakheti, Imereti, Samagrelo and Racha) and is a blend of nine varieties (Saperavi, Ojaleshi, Aleksandrouli, Aladasturi, Otskhanuri, Sapere, Merlot, Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane).
Its 2023 counterpart takes 2023 as a base but supplements it with 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2017 reserve wine. The grapes come from five regions (Kakheti, Imereti, Samagrelo, Racha and Lechkhumi) the number of different varietals here is ten (Saperavi, Usakhelouri, Ojaleshi, Merlot, Aleksandrouli, Aladasturi, Otskhanuri, Sapere, Mtsvane and Rkatsiteli).
The texture and long finish of the wines are key elements for Robert and Vladimer. Each vintage has a unique palate and texture with softness and a harmonious structure.
A Unique Symphony of Tradition and Innovation in Georgian Winemaking
In conclusion, the unveiling of K’AVSHIRI wines marks a remarkable fusion of tradition and innovation in the world of Georgian winemaking. Crafted by the visionary duo, Robert Joseph and Vladimer Kublashvili, these unique blends showcase the diversity of Georgian grapes and winemaking techniques. The meticulous co-fermentation of red and white varieties, the blending across regions, and the careful oak-ageing process contribute to the distinctive character of K’AVSHIRI wines. Tasting the 2022 and 2023 vintages side by side revealed an elegant and exciting selection, with each vintage offering a unique palate and texture.
As we eagerly await the launch of the white wine in summer 2024, we express our gratitude to Vladimer, Robert, and Fred Nijhuis for this exclusive tasting experience and lunch.
This article is written by our own Kirsten Andringa. If you are interested in the mentioned wines you can contact Vladimer and Robert directly through their website.