There exists two spellings of name for the ancient Georgian clay pot used to aged their wines in the traditional manner: Kvevri and Qvevri. The first is the correct spelling and the second is an invention that someone came up with because they thought “it looked nicer” while ignoring the fact that it made a difficult, yet quite crucial word in Georgian wine, harder to say.
What’s interesting is that while the majority of wine producers have chosen the “qvevri” spelling, there are a handful that stick with Kvevri as I assume it makes things more consistent. One of these is the winery of Do-Re-Mi. They started out quite small in 2014 and it wasn’t to profile them in the Georgian wine book but on every subsequent visit back to the country, I find myself drinking their wines with a regularity not found in most other wineries.
There’s a simple reason for this: the wines are damned good. There are teaming hordes these days who set up a Kvevri (or clean one out that their family had stopped using), buy some grapes and presto/change-o, they’re a “winemaker”. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that these wines can be quite bad as making wine without any training is like getting behind the wheel of a car without learning how to drive–yes, the premise is easy, but there are all kinds of accidents waiting to happen.
Do-Re-Mi appears to not only know what they’re doing when it comes to Kvevri winemaking, but they know how to work quite well with the native Georgian grapes as seen with this bottle of “Ojaleshi”. If the name doesn’t immediately seem familiar that’s because it’s not one of Georgia’s main grapes and it comes from the smaller-production, Samagrelo region in the far west instead of the main juggernaut of Kakheti in the east.
The winery owns 10ha of Ojaleshi vineyards out there and while vines were traditionally grown around the trunks of trees due to the humidity, people have since switched to much easier pergola and trellis systems. The result is a late-ripening red grape with medium alcohol that packs a wallop of distinct character. I highly recommend checking out this or the other wines of Do-Re-Mi if you happen to find yourself in Georgia; khachapuri accompaniment optional, yet highly recommended.