We are very excited to be releasing our first Saperavi!
If you've never heard of Saperavi, you're not alone. However, it is an absolutely fascinating variety, both in it's history and in it's taste.
Saperavi is the major premium red grape variety of Georgia, where they have been making wine for more than 8000 years, using large clay pots called qvevri. But this ancient grape has only fairly recently been introduced to Australia, and there are still only about 20 producers of it here. These 20 or so wineries are scattered around Australia, and are in a range of climates (including Rutherglen, McLaren vale, Barossa, King valley, Adelaide hills, Granite belt).
Unlike some other grape varieties which can have quite a narrow ideal climatic range, Saperavi seems to have quite a broad climatic range (Shiraz is another example with a broad range). It just makes a different style of wine depending on whether the region is cooler or warmer.
In Rutherglen we are warm climate, and our Saperavi makes a lovely rich red wine with quite distinctive aromas and flavours of dark cherries & bramble berries, beetroot, and warm spices.
In the vineyard, Saperavi vines can even have a kind of ancient look about them. Particularly in our dryland situation, their shoots can be quite nobbly, like old arthritic fingers.
The grapes themselves are quite unusual too as the flesh itself is coloured as well as the skins. Most red grapes have a clear flesh (like white grapes), and all the colour is in the skins. The name Saperavi literally means "dye" or "paint".
Saperavi wine has quite a unique flavour, and even though it is quite a robust red, we find our Saperavi doesn't go particularly well with plain grilled or barbequed meat. It needs some kind of sauce or marinade, preferably with some component of acidity (vinegar, tomato, citrus, pomegranate etc). We are still exploring the world of Saperavi wine and food matching ourselves, so there'll be a few more "research" bottles consumed yet!!