Review: 2017 Shalauri Kisi
We love tasting new grapes. We especially loving sitting down with indigenous grapes being grown or made in a traditional way. So when our tasting panel got the chance to taste the 2017 Shalauri Cellars Kisi out of the Republic of Georgia, we jumped at the chance.
Kisi is a native Georgian grape. While long thought to be an offspring of Rkatsiteli, DNA analysis showed he was not the father. Extremely sensitive to climate, its difficulty to grow limits its acreage to just a few hundred acres. It is made either in the traditional method like most red or white wine, or more likely, in the Georgian method of fermentation in a traditional clay vessel called a qvevri, which is how this wine was made. The qvevri is buried in the ground, allowing for an even cool fermentation. Additionally, the qvevri is vinified with long skin contact, wild yeast, no filtration, and minimal intervention (it is preserved with sulfites).
In the glass, color of Amontillado (Amber is how the bottle describes it). Nose of apricot, orange, and honeysuckle on the nose. Very mouth-drying, with almond, lemon, and pear up front, tea, lily, and clove on the mid-palate and a long, dry, and slightly bitter finish of oak, tobacco, caramel, and mint.
There is a lot going on here, and it is not for everyone. If you don’t like dry sherry, you won’t like this. As amphora and other traditional methods return to prominence, savvy winetasters will take the chance to explore ancient wine traditions, and perhaps find something they enjoy.
Wine: 2017 Kisi
From: Shalauri Cellars
From: Kakheti, Georgia
Rating: 88 points