Iago Bitarishvili

Chinuri Skin Contact Qvevri No.6 2019

  • Colour: Orange
  • Country: Georgia
  • Region: Kartli
  • Grape: Chinuri
  • Style: Fresh, Spicy, Intense, Hazy
  • Bottle Size: 75cl
  • ABV:


Almost every single family in Georgia makes wine in qvevri but under the Soviet regime, it became illegal to bottle and sell, so Iago did not start to do this till 2003. He has always worked organically here and has always been passionate about preserving the local traditions, never being even slightly seduced by modern professional techniques. He is, therefore, a bona fide winemaker although that is a complete contradiction in terms as in Georgia, it is believed that nature and the great clay jugs make the wine. Man is just a facilitator; moving things around and making sure that everything has exactly what it needs to function happily and healthily. Iago works with only one variety – Chinuri – although he makes two versions of it; one with skin contact and one without. It is only the wine made without which is pressed by foot. With the skin contact wine, there is only gentle crushing before the whole bunches are surrendered to the clay. His skin contact white goes into qvevri for 3 – 6 months.

Iago’s non-skin contact white is left to nestle in the earth for 2 years before bottling although it is transferred from one qvevri to another during that time. We move to his bottling room which is a bright, white tiled space with a contraption for bottling by hand. Just beyond, lies the room of the qvevris. Sunk into the stone floor, the perfectly round O’s of the entrances gape widely. The yeasts here are strong and busy; starting their work almost immediately the grapes are crushed – usually in mid October. Once fermentation is well under way, the cap is broken up at least twice a day to let the gases escape. Failure to do so would result in temperatures rising to the point where the wine gets ‘burnt’ or, in really horrible cases, would stop the fermentation altogether. And a fermentation which stops does not start again easily. When fermentation is finished, the vessels are filled to the brim while Iago waits for the secondary, malolactic fermentation to begin. Around December, a large flint stone or a piece of glass is used to cover up the entrance which is then sealed with wet clay and covered in damp sand.

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Chinuri Skin Contact Qvevri No.6 2019
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