27-09-2017 ~ 1 Comment

Shavnabada Monastery – Saperavi 2007

The Shavnabada Monastery is like many monasteries in Georgia: very, very old and with a killer view. They also happen to be the second monastery in Georgia to start releasing wines. The first of course was Alaverdi in Kakheti, but it’s not as though the Shavnaba monks arrived all that late to the game as they restarted wine production back in 1998. Alaverdi was in 2006, so how is it that Shavnabada has just started to be better known? It is after all about 25 minutes from the center of the capital, Tbilisi so it’s had access to a ready market. The issue lies in the fact that despite Alaverdi doing extensive aging of their wines, Shavnaba does even longer.

I had the chance to taste their 2007 Saperavi when I was presenting the Georgia book earlier this month in Oakland at The Punchdown. It shows a) the massive power of Saperavi and b) the fact that if you can age, freakin’ do it. At 10 years old, the wine has really started to blossom and will most likely continue to do so for another 10 if not more. We’re just starting out on this Saperavi frontier and so no one really knows what the aging potential is–it should be noted that this is the case in many wine regions, not just a developing one like Georgia.

I’ve had older Saperavi but it was made with oak barrels and all its years were sitting sideways in a bottle. This is the oldest kvevri-aged wine that I’ve had and what’s amazing about it is that all that aging time, it sits in the kvevri for years and years. I’ve no idea how the monks know when it’s time to bottle it as to crack open the cap at any point would let in oxygen. I suppose they’d probably tell me it’s some divine intervention which, sure, I’ll just go with in this case.

Very much a wine to check out if you can find it (Blue Danbue has it) and see what this grape can do and how much further it can go if given a chance.

Saperavi 2007
Dark cherry, tar, ropy licorice, light rose petal, clay mineral notes. A tremendous wall of tannins on the palate (still!), tar notes more prevalent, thick with potent acidity and a long, long finish. Could stand at least five more years in the bottle if not more.

100% Saperavi 14.5% 25€