Chinuri, Chkhaveri & Aladasturi, Imereti, Georgia | Dreamy, ethereal & charmingly offbeat, this non-vintage sparkling rosé from Ori Marani in Georgia who loves a statement earring and can’t help but be the most esoteric person in the room. Ori Marani means ‘two wineries’ – the promise of a dream to create a second winery devoted to amphora-aged Champagne, the prospect of which makes us salivate only somewhat inappropriately. This blend of organic fruit was fermented with wild yeasts in two-thirds French oak and one-third qvevri, then rested for 15 months in bottle with a just touch of sulphur and no fining or filtration. Like getting briefly caught up in a whirlwind of cherry blossoms, Laora is like an ultra-pale, extra-dry Provence rosé gone rogue with distinctly creamy notes of cornflower, ginseng, Chinese preserved plums, juniper & chalky white florals with a salty, briny edge. Best enjoyed in your jewel-toned cocktail hour best, this would be stunning alongside a retro assortment of 70s party dishes – shrimp cocktail, tomato aspic & devilled eggs.
Takveri, Chinuri & Goruli Mtsvane, Kakheti, Georgia | Growing up in a winegrowing family in Champagne, Bastien Warskotte never anticipated making amphora-aged wines outside Tbilisi, Georgia until falling in love with his now-wife, Nino Gvantseladze (cute!!!). Together, they established Ori Marani in 2016, focusing on a small range of traditional method sparkling wines, plus a few still wines in all colours. Their wines are as invigorating as they are romantic, evocative of the first, very-earliest days of spring, when the world is still kind of muddy and grey but the scent of fresh green puts a skip in everyone’s step. Areva is a rosé pet-nat made in the traditional method (with two fermentations in tank and bottle) but with the whimsical twist of using natural Georgian honey as a dosage. This vivid pink juice opens with an explosive nose of pomegranate, lychee & white vermouth-esque herb garden, & as soon as you take a sip, the world around you snaps from black-and-white into glaring saturated Technicolor. Hiding at the back of the palate like a little secret are notes of luscious wild strawberry and aromatic lychee, round & plush from partial aging in French oak. This wine is like reading an epic poem that is difficult to decipher upon first glance, but once you immerse yourself in the little world it creates, it will blow your mind and live on in your heart forever.
Tsistka, Chinuri & Goruli Mstvane, Imereti & Kartli, Georgia | If this is your first sparkling wine from Georgia, it’s your lucky day! Made in the same style year-to-year with a “reserve perpetuelle” of wine stored in qvevri, Nino has a very classic-elsewhere quality with an undeniable beauty that’s an easily-learnt (and taught!) appreciation. Fermented with wild yeasts in 70-30 old French oak and qvevri, the wine was bottled and rested for 15 months with minimal sulphur and no fining or filtration. Fresh and clear-eyed like a spotless sky with notes of pine nut, bruised apple, cornbread, tree resin and a creamy whiff of savoury eggy bread like the extra-Georgian specialty, khachapuri. There’s even a stylistic nod in that fresh, salty-savoury crispness to Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge, where winemaker Bastien Warskotte worked at for some time, plus a literal nod to Bastien’s wife, Nino. An everyday beauty that just happens to be an exceptional treasure for everyone to enjoy.
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