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What our expert thought of Badagoni Saperavi




the tasting

The Tasting


In the glass this is a deepish crimson, which by Saperavi standards is positively pale.  This is a notoriously tannic variety, and I reckon the winemakers have used a very gentle extraction to produce a red that can be drunk young.
 
It has a great nose: distinctive, deep and herby.  Herbaceous too ‐ there’s undergrowth mixed in with the bayleaf and sage.  Behind that are lots of dark cherries, along with some unusual vegetal aromas of beetroot and roast red peppers, spiced up with touches of liquorice and black pepper.  Some subtle oak reveals itself as the char on those char-grilled peppers.
 
In the mouth this medium-bodied red is fully dry, with very fresh acidity and plenty of sour cherry fruit.  Those red peppers from the nose are here too, as is the peppery spice (white pepper this time).  There’s a hint of some riper and more purple fruit, like mulberry or blueberry.  The medium tannins are well-integrated, though slightly grainy.
 
Those tannins are nicely balanced by mouthwatering acidity on the cool, herby finish, so that the wine ends dry, but not drying.


Assessment


Appropriately enough for the country that invented wine, this is a very Old World red.  It has the same dry but juicy complexity and food-friendly balance as a fine claret, even though the flavour profile is quite different (no blackcurrants here).
 
Others have described the taste of Saperavi as like a cross between Blaufränkisch and Syrah, which seems right to me but not very helpful!  Blaufränkisch is almost as obscure as Saperavi; I’ve only tried two or three myself.
 
This is a satisfyingly complete wine, but I think its best feature is that fragrant nose.  Really fine, with complexity and depth, it just keeps on getting better.  My empty glass smells great, which is always a good sign.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear fairly deep crimson, pale for variety
Nose

Intensity medium+

Aromas herbs (bayleaf, sage), herbaceous (forest floor), black fruits (cherry), vegetal (roast red peppers, beetroot), spice (liquorice, black pepper), subtle oak (char)

Development youthful
Palate

Sweetness fully dry

Acidity medium++

Body medium

Tannins medium, well-integrated, slightly grainy

Intensity medium

Flavours red and black fruit (sour cherry), blue/purple fruit (mulberry/blueberry), vegetal (red peppers), spice (white pepper)
Finish

Length medium

Flavours as palate, cool, herby, great acid/tannin balance
Other notes
Fine, complex nose. Old World style - balanced like a claret, though flavours are different. Improved with air - decant. Ready, but will keep.


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