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Wine Education

Saperavi of Georgia

Wine Tutor

My first introduction to Saperavi was in 2001. I had heard how “incredible” Georgian wines were. Like many similar comments, I dismissed the “incredible” possibility due to the many Georgian Champions’ local experience and global inexperience. Most fans I had encountered were from that realm (their homeland) and I considered there might be a bit of bias?

I did try several at the time, though. Pretty consistent ‘producer’ to ‘producer’.

They come dry. They come sweet. The dry could surprise most wine explorers. The sweet wouldn’t.

Serious color. Serious tannins. Serious acidity. Fun for the whole family! Saperavi (translates to “dye” or “paint”) is a red wine grape that is named for its dark pink flesh and very dark skins. Originally from Moldova, the land that puts this grape on the map (along with Rkatsiteli, Mstvane, and Tsolikauri) is the Kakheti District of Georgia. In the days of the Soviet Union, Georgian wines were generally thought of as the jeweled crown and it has been said that the land of Georgia (Europe’s oldest wine-producing region) has been producing wine 7,000 to 9,000 years!

Saperavi (especially the dry) tends to have a barnyard, cinnamon, cigar box, soy-sauced mushroom, gamey-plum thing going on, with a sledge hammer of tannins and a lower PH (medium-plus acidity). It can be brilliant for By-The-Glass programs because some will last for days! And with the right amount of serenading to sleep and nightly brushing the bottles “hair”, these wines can age upwards of 50 years, though most fade at 6 – 10 years. The 3 common styles are Saperavi (aged 1 year or less), Kindzmarauli (aged 2 years), and Stalin’s favorite wine Mukuzani (aged 3 years or more). Also seen are Napareuli and Akhasheni. Though, I’m still looking… I’ve never found evidence to support it, but I’ve often wondered if there is a relation to Syrah or Lagrein.

On the downside, Georgia could probably use some updated wine-making techniques. Two somewhat consistent “barnyard” comments on Saperavi are the perceived Brettanomyces (mousey/horse taste) and 4-ethyl-phenol (lopsided leather turned manure smell/taste). At low levels, these 2 things can be considered an attraction in some Rhones and Burgundies, but the recently trendy American Brett love is not for me. And it should also be noted that the days of grape powder blended with spirit to produce “Georgian Wine” are still here, but there ARE some pretty exciting Saperavi wines out there. Go fish.

 

Importers - United States

Importers/Distributors

A

A.V. Imports Inc.

Portfolio:

Artesa, Vicalanda, Pittacum, Carmen, Durbanville, Leon Beyer, Pomal, Amarula, and more.

www.avimports.com

 

Athenee Importers

wine, spirits, and beers from Greece, Cyprus, and Italy - est. 1975

www.atheneeimporters.com

Read more: Importers - United States

 

Wine For Sale in Texas

Wine Tutor

For Sale in Texas Only indicates that a label exception has been made. Labels are required to list the source of grapes. If a winery doesn’t want to use an appellation (usually because they are importing grapes from out of state) then they can leave the appellation off, ask for an exception with the caveat that they use the “For Sale in Texas Only” notation on the label.

Now, a winery might get an exception or use the notation for other reasons, so that is not a hard and fast rule, but if there is no appellation listed, you can rest assured that they are importing grapes from California, New Mexico, Oklahoma or somewhere and they don’t want their buying public to know that. They may even be blending their own grapes with out of state grapes, importing made wine and bottling it, importing juice, grapes or even bottled but unlabeled wine. There is nothing illegal about the practice, but it is a bit deceiving to make people think they are buying wine and supporting the Texas winegrowing industry.

When purchasing Texas wine, look for “Texas”, Texas Hill Country, Texas High Plains, or even a county name on the label. It can’t use a vineyard name if it is not in an AVA. If you don’t see anything like that AND it has For Sale in Texas Only, you are buying imported juice.

   

Distributors - Texas

Importers/Distributors

In alphabetical order.

31 degrees South (Austin)

http://www.31degreessouth.com/frmMain.aspx

 

Ambiente (Austin)

2314 Rutland Dr # 205  Austin, TX 78758
(512) 835-2299

http://www.ambientewine.com/

 

Askari (Austin)

http://www.askarioh.com/

 

Bandol Wines (Houston)

1830 S. Kirkwood Suite 105
Houston, Texas 77077

http://www.bandolwines.com/about.html

 

BevCo (Houston)

11339 Todd Street
Houston, TX 77055
Tel: (281) 500-4055

http://bevcointl.com/about.html

 

Branwar (Austin)

http://branwarwines.com/about/

 

Brown (Austin)

http://www.abwholesaler.com/group02/brown/home

 

Case Imports (Austin)

http://caseimports.com/

 

Chameleon (Houston)

http://cdwines.us/

 

Dionysus Imports (Houston)

http://www.dionysusimports.com/

 

Direct Wine Imports (Houston)

http://www.directwineimports.com/

 

Favorite Brands  (Dallas)

10490 Shady Trail #104

Dallas, Texas 75220

(214) 350-3932

 

Fleischer (Houston)

http://www.fleischerwines.com/

 

French Country Wines (Houston)

2433 Bartlett Street  

Houston, TX 77098
(713) 993-9500

http://frenchcountrywines.com/Default.aspx

 

Glazers

8119 Exchange Drive

Austin, Texas 78754

Phone: (512) 919-1500

http://www.glazers.com/locations/Pages/default.aspx

 

Global Wines (Houston)

http://www.globalwinesdistribution.com/Global-Wines-TX.aspx#.UCQ9fKMsGJQ

 

Hear Hear (Arlington)

http://www.hearhearwines.com/

 

Henderson Selections (Austin)

http://www.hendersonselections.com/

 

Imperial Beverage Group (Dallas)

1306 Motor Circle

Dallas, Texas 75207

214-688-9463

http://www.ibevgroup.com/

 

Intwine (College Station)

http://www.int-wine.com/

                                                                                        

La Cigale (Fort Worth)

3431 McCart

Fort Worth, Texas 76180

(817) 923-6747

http://www.lacigalewines.com/

 

Lerin (Austin)

http://lerinwines.vpweb.com/default.html

.

Robert McRory company

 

Mexcor (Houston)

http://www.mexcor.com/co_distributors/index.htm

 

Mid-State (Houston)

http://www.mid-statewine.com/

 

MISA Imports (Dallas) 1921 Record crossing drive, Dallas, Texas 75235 | Phone: 1921 Record crossing drive,

Dallas, Texas 75235235-3834921 Record crossing drive, Dallas, Texas 75235 | Phone: 972-235-3834972-235-3834

http://www.misaimports.com/index.htm

 

New Vintage (San Antonio)

http://newvintagewines.com/

 

Noble Wine Imports (Austin)

http://www.noblewineimports.com/index.html

 

Pioneer (Austin)

5812 Trade Center Drive Suite #200

Austin, Texas 78744

(512) 895-0558

http://pioneerwine.com/

 

Premier (Fort Worth)

http://www.premwine.com/

 

Regent (Houston)

http://www.regentwholesale.com/Contact.html

 

Republic National Distributing Company (Austin)

2101 E. St. Elmo Rd., Bldg 2 Suite 200  Austin  TX  78744 

512-834-9742 

http://www.rndc-usa.com/default.asp

 

Rootstock (Austin)

wave at me for contact info

 

Serendipity (Austin)

2314 Rutland Dr # 215  

Austin, TX 78758
(512) 821-2105

http://www.serendipitywines.com/

 

 

South-Tex (middle of nowhere SE Texas)

900 Bob Moore Road  

Millican, TX 77866
(936) 825-8600

http://south-texwine.blogspot.com/

 

Svenska (Houston)

http://www.svenskallc.com/portfolio/

 

Vino Vero (Houston)

Cris Reutgers (owner) 832-606-8466

http://www.vvwineco.com/ 

 

 

Virtuoso Selections (Austin)

2101 E Saint Elmo Rd # 300
Austin, TX 78744
512-672-4600

http://www.virtuososelections.com/

 

 

Wine Troop (Arlington)

1115 Sturgeon Court, Suite 115
Arlington, Texas 76001
(817) 962-6062

http://thewinetroop.com/

 

 

World Wine Discoveries (Taylor)

http://worldwinediscoveries.com/World_Wine_Discoveries/Welcome.html

Scott Downs (owner) 512-775-6250

 

& Various Texas Wineries

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commision (Austin-based)

http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/default.htm
 

Distributors - Austin

Importers/Distributors

 

 

31 degrees South (Austin)

http://www.31degreessouth.com/frmMain.aspx

 

 

Ambiente (Austin)

2314 Rutland Dr # 205  Austin, TX 78758
(512) 835-2299

http://www.ambientewine.com/

 

Askari (Austin)

http://www.askarioh.com/

 

Bandol Wines (Houston)

1830 S. Kirkwood Suite 105
Houston, Texas 77077

http://www.bandolwines.com/about.html

 

 

BevCo (Houston)

11339 Todd Street
Houston, TX 77055
Tel: (281) 500-4055

http://bevcointl.com/about.html

 

Branwar (Austin)

http://branwarwines.com/about/

 

Brown (Austin)

http://www.abwholesaler.com/group02/brown/home

 

Case Imports (Austin)

http://caseimports.com/

 

Chameleon (Houston)

http://cdwines.us/

 

Dionysus Imports (Houston)

http://www.dionysusimports.com/

 

 

Direct Wine Imports (Houston)

http://www.directwineimports.com/

 

 

Favorite Brands  (Dallas)

10490 Shady Trail #104

Dallas, Texas 75220

(214) 350-3932

 

 

Fleischer (Houston)

http://www.fleischerwines.com/

 

 

French Country Wines (Houston)

2433 Bartlett Street  

Houston, TX 77098
(713) 993-9500

http://frenchcountrywines.com/Default.aspx

 

 

Glazers

8119 Exchange Drive

Austin, Texas 78754

Phone: (512) 919-1500

http://www.glazers.com/locations/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

Global Wines (Houston)

http://www.globalwinesdistribution.com/Global-Wines-TX.aspx#.UCQ9fKMsGJQ

 

 

Hear Hear (Arlington)

http://www.hearhearwines.com/

 

Henderson Selections (Austin)

http://www.hendersonselections.com/

 

 

Imperial Beverage Group (Dallas)

1306 Motor Circle

Dallas, Texas 75207

214-688-9463

http://www.ibevgroup.com/

 

Intwine (College Station)

http://www.int-wine.com/

                                                                                        

 

La Cigale (Fort Worth)

3431 McCart

Fort Worth, Texas 76180

(817) 923-6747

http://www.lacigalewines.com/

 

 

Lerin (Austin)

http://lerinwines.vpweb.com/default.html

.

 

Robert McRory company

 

 

Mexcor (Houston)

http://www.mexcor.com/co_distributors/index.htm

 

 

Mid-State (Houston)

http://www.mid-statewine.com/

 

 

MISA Imports (Dallas) 1921 Record crossing drive, Dallas, Texas 75235 | Phone: 1921 Record crossing drive,

Dallas, Texas 75235235-3834921 Record crossing drive, Dallas, Texas 75235 | Phone: 972-235-3834972-235-3834

http://www.misaimports.com/index.htm

 

 

New Vintage (San Antonio)

http://newvintagewines.com/

 

 

Noble Wine Imports (Austin)

http://www.noblewineimports.com/index.html

 

 

Pioneer (Austin)

5812 Trade Center Drive Suite #200

Austin, Texas 78744

(512) 895-0558

http://pioneerwine.com/

 

Premier (Fort Worth)

http://www.premwine.com/

 

Regent (Houston)

http://www.regentwholesale.com/Contact.html

 

Republic National Distributing Company (Austin)

2101 E. St. Elmo Rd., Bldg 2 Suite 200  Austin  TX  78744 

512-834-9742 

http://www.rndc-usa.com/default.asp

 

Rootstock (Austin)

wave at me for contact info

 

Serendipity (Austin)

2314 Rutland Dr # 215  

Austin, TX 78758
(512) 821-2105

http://www.serendipitywines.com/

 

 

South-Tex (middle of nowhere SE Texas)

900 Bob Moore Road  

Millican, TX 77866
(936) 825-8600

http://south-texwine.blogspot.com/

 

Svenska (Houston)

http://www.svenskallc.com/portfolio/

 

Vino Vero (Houston)

Cris Reutgers (owner) 832-606-8466

http://www.vvwineco.com/ 

 

 

Virtuoso Selections (Austin)

2101 E Saint Elmo Rd # 300
Austin, TX 78744
512-672-4600

http://www.virtuososelections.com/

 

 

Wine Troop (Arlington)

1115 Sturgeon Court, Suite 115
Arlington, Texas 76001
(817) 962-6062

http://thewinetroop.com/

 

 

World Wine Discoveries (Taylor)

http://worldwinediscoveries.com/World_Wine_Discoveries/Welcome.html

Scott Downs (owner) 512-775-6250

 

 -------------------------

 

 

In alphabetical order.

31 Degrees South (Austin-based)

http://www.31degreessouth.com 

Portfolio: Small house. Argentina and Spain. Aguma, Chanarmuyo, Argos, Naiara, Tour 52, Azua, Lagar Alto, etc... Since 2005.

 

Ambiente Wine Importing Company (Austin-based)

http://www.ambientewine.com 

Portfolio: Chereau Carre, Joan D'Anguera, Jerome Bressy, Gourt de Mautens, Anderson's Conn Valley, Cosentino, Dierberg, Odfjell, Arnaldo Caprai, Venica, Sastre, D’Anguera, Dow’s Port, McManis, Philip Togni, Cosentino, Truchard, Ojai, Robert Pecota, Dierberg, Calera, Elk Cove, Domaine Amiot, Colin-Deleger, ½ of the Kermit Lynch, Mordoree, Kuentz-Bas, Dom Grand Veneur, Frank Family, Sean Thackrey, Rodano, Terra Verus Portfolio, Seewinkler, Terra Barossa, Shotfire Ridge, Sons of Eden, Star Lane, Three Saints, Tamarack, Aidil Wines, deMaison Selections, Enotec Imports, Kysela, Magellan, South American Wine Imports, Orschwihr, Averna, Clear Creek

Read more: Distributors - Austin

   

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