Sore ear? Drink some Chacha. Stomach ache? Drink some Chacha. Feel grotty? Drink some Chacha. For Breakfast. This is more than Georgia’s precursor to Grappa. It’s an Alchemist’s cure-all. And we road-tested it with various members of the team swearing by this grape brandy’s curative properties. It’s got a kick, but it’s not harsh. The perfect way to help a Georgian feast down before bedtime.
Once tried, never forgotten. Wild, alive, complex. But where to begin? The 417 grape varieties (I won’t list them here)? The months on skins in a Kvevri, the earthenware vessel used to ferment wines for 8000 years here? It’s brick-red tinged, with a sourness that catches you at first, then melds into the complex flavours of a Georgian supra or feast. You have to try this. Even if it’s only once.
Honeysuckle aromas in wine are always a good sign. This has them in spades, along with a spiced melon ripeness that you’ll love. It’s bone dry and utterly fascinating. Rkatsiteli can be dull and flat, but not here where it’s been crafted into a delicious, Friday-night wine par excellence. Georgians eat richly flavoured dishes with lots of cheese and sauces. Do the same and this wine will be your friend.
Try this now so you will be the first of your friends as gradually they all do. Georgia is the coming force in Eastern European/Caucasus winemaking. It’s interesting, hearty and savoury with thousands of years of winemaking history. It needs herby lamb, vegetable or beef stew to really give is something to work with. Delicious.
Mtsvane is an ancient variety even in Georgia, often called the ‘cradle’ of viticulture. But only now are winemakers figuring out how to balance its exotic, honeysuckle and peach fruit with freshness. Experiment with intense aromas and tropical fruit – possibly roast chicken, possibly a fruity curry.