A basic Kakhetian way
Keep it simple
Winemaking in Kakheti is probably one of the oldest cultures in the long history of Georgia. Unprecedented anywhere in the world, this technique for making white wines is as follows:
- The grapes are crushed in satsnakheli by feet without damaging the seeds.
- Tkbili (grape juice) is put into a clean kvevri.
- Chacha (skin, flesh and seeds) + stems is added to the Tkbili.
- Kvevri is stirred 4 times/day, which is extremely important for uniform and continuous fermentation.
- The fermentation normally takes 20 to 25 days, but it can take up to 40 days.
- After the alcoholic fermentation, the lid is put on tightly but without being sealed hermetically so that the malolactic fermentation is not interrupted.
- Normally, the kvevri is sealed from mid-December to March.
- In March or April, the wine is separated from chacha.
- From the end of May or early June, the wine is racked again.
- The wine is matured for one year in kvevri.
- During the maturation, the wine level is periodically checked every month and, if necessary, it is topped off. Some variations exist, but this is the basic recipe. In this way of winemaking, the chacha added to tkbili and macerated until March or April plays a very important role.
- It works as a ideal natural purifier.
- It emits a lot of polyphenol.
- It enhances the flavor and the breadth of wine.
(Though there is some risk of unpleasant factors if the maceration is too long.)
The advantage of using kvevri is, first, the ease of keeping the temperature steady by the fact that it is buried. Then, during the maceration, thanks to the shape of the cone towards the bottom of kvevri, the wine should not be overly affected by seeds or stems because the seeds sink first to the bottom of the kvevri and the sediment covers them, with the chacha then settling above. Practically, the wine is separated from the seeds and stems.
(cf Documentation from Alaverdi Monastery)