This is our first Georgian red, Years ago we did try a Georgian white. By the way, when I say Georgia, I mean the eastern Europe country, not the American state. The Saperavi grape is somewhat unusual; it has a red skin and is also red on the inside. The other red grape in this blend is considered the best in the neighborhood, a neighborhood that has been doing wine for millennia. Lots of them. The Koncho winery was established in 1945 and has no web site. In a real change of pace we decided on a syrupy white as our companion wine. After all, they are both sweet. And neither winemaker has a web site.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.
Wine Reviewed Alazanis Valley Red Wine 2007 11.5 % alcohol, 4.5% sugar about $10. We can start by quoting the back label. "Alazanis Valley is traditionally produced from Saperavi and Odzhaleshi indigenous Georgian red grape varieties, grown in the valley of Alazani and Duruji rivers in the Kakheti region. Warm valley climate produces full of sun ripeness, rich in flavour grapes. The wine is carefully blended to create traditionally velvety, slightly fruity semi-sweet taste gently harmonized with low acidity in the backbone. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. Alazanis Valley can be enjoyed on its own, or complement traditional Georgian meat dishes, young soft cheeses, moderately sweet desserts and fruits." And now for my review.
At the first sips this drink was oaky, dark and moderately sweet with no tannins. Spinach and cheese in puff pastry appetizers had the effect of intensifying the liquid's oak without going overboard. I noted a surprisingly pleasant combination of oak and sugar. The main dish was an omelet spiced up with a combination of basil leaves, cilantro flakes, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and chicken powder. In response the libation's acidity picked up and I got the taste of black cherries. But it was murky. A fresh pear for dessert had the effect of increasing the acidity to the point of overwhelming everything else in the glass.
The second meal began with Japanese rice crackers and Wasabi peas. In response the potion was sweet and I noted some acidity. When our Georgian friend met the main dish, slow-cooked chicken, once again its sweetness was dominant. Things remained about the same with the barley cooked alongside the chicken. The vegetable, green beans cooked in coconut oil, gave Red a darkness among all that sugar. Fresh blackberries took away just about everything from the drink.
The third meal centered around a roasted salmon filet. This pairing was rather more successful than most of the others. I noted dark cherries, pleasant oak, and refreshing acidity in the libation. This time I didn't mind the sweetness. But with steamed broccoli that sweetness became slightly oppressive, the black cherry taste was not. Dessert was some Haagen Dazs Rocky Road ice cream, brimming with nuts and marshmallows. The ice cream may have been too sweet. I don't review ice creams. But the wine was definitely too sweet and offered nothing.
Final verdict. I don't like sweet reds. This wine didn't make me change my mind. I barely finished half the bottle. And yet the occasional pairing was good.
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Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his wine, nutrition, and health website www.wineinyourdiet.com.
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