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What our expert thought of Badagoni Mtsvane




the tasting

The Tasting


You can see immediately that this wasn’t made in a qvevri: it’s much too pale.  Qvevri whites are orange, while this wine is almost water-white.  Mtsvane means ‘green’ and there is just a hint of that here, but not much.  The very pale colour suggests that little skin contact took place before fermentation.
 
But there was clearly enough to develop a delightfully floral, summer-scented nose!  Smelling it I can almost see the white blossom on the fruit trees.  There’s honeysuckle here too, along with fresh-cut grass and lemon-peel citrus.  As it warms in the glass the citrus gets riper, moving towards tangerine, and is joined by some yellow apple.
 
It’s not just fruit and flowers.  The nose also has a briny, leesy quality, along with some almond nuttiness that’s definitely not from oak.  It isn’t hugely powerful but there’s enough complexity here to reward repeated thoughtful sniffs.
 
The palate is dry and fresh but not aggressively so, with softly-fruited flavours of grapefruit and apple.  It starts out light but puts on weight in the mouth, ending up a little more than medium-bodied, though still fairly light for 13.5%.
 
Acidity comes through much more strongly on the big, textured finish, making the mouth water and the jaw corners ache a little.  You can feel the spicy, white pepper warmth of the alcohol here, though it wasn’t apparent on the palate.  There’s an impression of lemon oil that echoes the citrus zest from the nose, and the salted almonds reappear too.  I found myself licking my lips expecting to taste salt on them.


Assessment


We looked to Georgia for something different, and we found it!  This delightful wine isn’t scarily weird like a qvevri white might be, but it is really distinctive.  You can tell straight away that it isn’t made from any of the usual suspects, the international grape varieties that dominate our supemarket shelves.  Mtsvane has its own character, and I’m very glad to have made its acquaintance.
 
It does remind me of the Kayra Narince from Turkey that we featured last year, which had a similar blossom-and-citrus scent and grapefruit palate.  Given their geographic proximity, it’s tempting to think Narince and Mtsvane might be related.  This is a rather bigger wine, though, and it has additional nutty and mineral qualities that I’m sure are due to extended lees-aging.
 
Behind all the blossom, the nose has a briny stoniness like a good Muscadet Sur Lie, the textbook example of a lees-aged wine.  That saline, mouthfilling finish is also a feature of Muscadet.  This wine was aged for almost two years before bottling, and I’m willing to bet that most or all of that was spent on its lees.
 
It can be tricky to combine an aromatic variety with long lees-aging, but Badagoni have pulled it off brilliantly here. 



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear very pale lemon, strong legs despite pallor
Nose

Intensity medium

Aromas floral (orange blossom, honeysuckle), herbaceous (cut grass), citrus (lemon peel, tangerine), orchard fruit (yellow apple), lees (brine), nuts (almonds)

Development developing
Palate

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium

Body medium+, backloaded, light for 13.5%

Intensity medium

Flavours citrus (grapefruit), orchard fruit (apple)
Finish

Length medium+

Flavours spicy warmth (white pepper), citrus zest (lemon oil), mineral/lees (salt, stones), nuts (almonds)
Other notes
Complex, summer-scented nose. Softly-fruited palate. Mouthfilling finish ends on almonds. Some bruised petal reduction - decant. Ready now.


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