Today's LCBO 'find' places us in a wine country that is rarely top of mind but many class as the birthplace of wine, Georgia.
The Dugladze Ranina Rkatsiteli 2018 is a gem of a wine at this price point. It will have you unpacking flavours and textures indefinitely, and the below explains why.
A Brief History of Georgian Wine
Thanks to an exploratory excavation by archaeologists in 2017, we now know that the Georgians are attributed with the most earliest and proven form of wine production. During the excavation, the ancient qvevris (large clay vessels) found near Tbilisi, Georgia, showed signs of serving as wine fermentation vessels as far back as 6,000 BC. In those days, the traditional method of making wine was to ferment wines in clay vessels underground, and this form of winemaking exists to some extent, even today in Georgia.
While Georgia cherishes its ancient winemaking techniques, it has also embraced modern innovations to elevate its wine industry. The fusion of traditional and contemporary methods has resulted in dynamic wines that captivate even the most discerning connoisseur.
Found in the heart of Georgia's fertile wine region, Kakheti, the Dugladze Wine Company is a testament to the rich winemaking traditions that have flourished in this ancient land for millennia. The homage to yesteryear is seen in Dugladze's seamless ability to blend modern techniques with time-honoured methods and produce such stunning wines.
The winery is renowned for its dedication to indigenous grape varieties, such as Saperavi and Rkatsiteli (the grape in today's wine find), which impart distinctive characteristics to their wines. From the moment the grapes are hand-harvested to the meticulous aging process in traditional qvevris buried underground, each step is taken with precision and care.
Though with a history of humble beginnings, Dugladze is an award-winning producer today, with many accolades spanning the world.
About Dugladze Ranina Rkatsiteli 2018
The Dugladze Ranina Rkatsiteli 2018 is made from a vigorous white grape called Rkatsiteli.
The Rkatsiteli grapes in this wine are grown in the clay soils of the Tibaani vineyards in the Kakheti region of Georgia. True to the Dugladze style, this bottle of Rkatsiteli was made using traditional methods. The wine was fermented on its skins in qvevri for three months and then bottled; the fermentation is nicely reflected in the wine.
Despite the fermentation process, the Dugladze Ranina Rkatsiteli 2018 is a pale straw hue with some green flecks. Lemon, pear, peach, honey, Hawthorne, and a smoky flint sense arise on the nose. On the palate, a transformative experience of fruit, non-fruit, and texture creates magic. Lemon, Crispin apple, apricot, passion fruit, honey, almond, white pepper, and a long rapini-like finish that ends off as fennel on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and enjoyably thought-provoking.
As the Rkatsiteli grape holds its acid quite well, this wine is a beast when it comes to food and wine pairing. Its acidity, phenolics, and overall complex flavours on the palate make it a playground for wonderful mouth experiences.
The Ranina line of wines is Dugladze's entry-level line which makes all who try it recognize why the winery has been adorned with the medals it has. As you progress through their portfolio, it really does feel like a wine lover's dream.
This wine is a must try whether you are into skin fermented wines or not. There is just so much to discover, sip by sip.
The Dugladze Ranina Rkatsiteli 2018 can be found at the LCBO for $15.95 in Vintages.