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Badagoni Saperavi

We have an initial parcel of this wonderful wine which we can offer to members for only

£13.00 per bottle

Once this has sold out we will be able to source more of the wine at its normal price of £16.20

Badagoni Saperavi

The Devil went down to Georgia

No, not that Georgia.  (Read the intro for this month’s white for the geography lesson.)  In this Georgia, Satan touched a vine and made its grapes bleed blood instead of juice!  The variety is called Saperavi, which means “dye” in Georgian, and its grapes are almost unique in having red flesh.  If you squeeze one between your fingers it stains your skin blood red.
Usually only the skin of a grape is coloured; slice a black grape in half and you can see that the pulp within is transparent.  Making red wine properly red is actually quite difficult.  You have to ferment the juice with the skins left in (alcohol leaches the colour from them) and regularly mix things up by punching down the floating cap of skins or pumping juice up over them.
Not so with Saperavi and the few other teinturier varieties that have red pulp.  Outside Georgia teinturiers are only found in blends, where they add deep colour to paler, tastier grapes.  None are regarded as high quality.  But Saperavi is different.  It’s by far the most planted of Georgia’s 400 or so native varieties, regarded as its best black grape, and usually made unblended as a varietal wine.
This one shows off its distinctive herby style, with intriguing notes of beetroot and roast red peppers laid over dark cherry fruit, supported by plenty of food-friendly acidity.
The Devil Went Down To Georgia rather predates the pop video era, and the authentically bluegrass Charlie Daniels Band probably wouldn’t have made one anyway.  But we did find this great live version.

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Serve this lightly oaked wine at cool room temperature: 17 to 18°C.  Properly dry with fine acidity and just medium-bodied, this is very much a food wine, even though the well-controlled tannins mean that you can enjoy it on its own.
Georgian cuisine is quite similar to Turkish and Lebanese, so try this complex and satisfying red with shish kebab or rich aubergine-based dishes like imam bayildi.  The Georgian versions are called Mtsvadi and Ajapsandali respectively.
Although there’s no sediment to worry about, this young wine did improve with air.  If you’re opening a bottle you should aim to decant it half an hour in advance, though longer won’t hurt.  If you’re in a hurry (or don’t have a decanter) just slosh it out into a jug to aerate it as much as possible, then pour it (rather more carefully!) back into the bottle.

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