27 Feb 2006


Tamada Saperavi '01
Kakheti, Georgia
[£6-7, Majestic Southwark; Georgian Wine Service]

WHILST GEORGIA is a young republic it has an ancient history, especially when it comes to wine. Indeed vines have flourished in its fertile soil for over 7000 years. This cherry coloured wine harks from Kakheti in East Georgia. Here sunshine and natural springs abound providing good growing conditions. This wine is 100p/c Saperavi (pronounced phonetically). This is an unusual grape because it has red flesh, unlike the majority of grapes which have white. I like this wine’s slightly sweet nose although it is surprisingly dry on the palate with a chalky finish. Some contact with oak gives the wine extra complexity.

The name of the wine is a nod to the Tamadas in Georgia - toastmasters appointed to give long, eloquent liquid toasts throughout feasts. It is worth noting such hospitality seems to promote a higher than average life expectancy!

If you like Georgian wine, 'Loco Locale' in Blackheath serves the excellent 'Old Tbilisi' Saperavi, a slightly powdery, fullsome, rustic superstar which works beautifully with the generous fresh pastas and delicate, poignant risottos on offer. Tastes good for you. Self-confessed 'Celebrity Chef' Tony Allan (also of 'Fish!') has created a large, inviting grotto of a restaurant in a former printing works. Ever pleasant, he seems never to appear without sunglasses (see publicity picture). I think this look lends him an air of coming in piste (or rather off the piste).