Vartsikhe Maran Dzelshavi 2018 – Ancient Grape in the Glass

Published by Jeremy.

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Georgia is often considered to be the birthplace of wine, with known production dating back roughly 8,000 years.

But what is the oldest grape?

Well, that is hard to say. But Dzelshavi is considered to be one of the oldest grape varieties documented in Georgia, and has history dating back 1,500 years. Today, it is still grown in Georgia, and Vartsikhe Maran's Dzelshavi certainly is an interesting one!

Dzelshavi is One Historic Grape

Vartsikhe Maran Dzelshavi

This Dzelshavi was pale garnet in color with medium aromas of black cherry, cola, thyme, oregano, black raspberry, clove, cedar, blueberry, and wet leaves.

On the palate, it was dry with medium acidity, chalky tannin, alcohol, and flavor intensity, medium(+) body, and a long finish. We had notes similar to the nose with additional red fruit- dried red cherry, dried cranberry, dried leaves, cedar, clove, cassis, and black raspberry to name a few.

There was also a slightly funky note on this wine likely originating from its natural fermentation and maturation in qvevri which admittedly is not one we particularly enjoy in wine. It wasn't bad in any sense, just not for us.

Dzelshavi Food Pairing – Mediterranean Dips

Dzelshavi Food Pairing - Mediterranean Dips

We made a mix of Mediterranean dips like hummus and others with homemade pita for this pairing. Some were oil rich while others vegetable forward, but most helped highlight stronger black fruit notes in the red fruit dominant wine. The dried leaves and earthy notes were also masked a bit more as well and really made for a nice pairing.

Score: 2.5 / 5

We are okay on this one but would consider a glass in the right circumstance.

This one was an interesting wine with some lovely flavors, but there was a light funky note that we couldn't quite get over. This was more a preference thing on our part, so if you like this style do not overlook this one!

Vartsikhe Marani is located at 4PW9+JQC, Vartsikhe 1002 in Georgia. We purchased this bottle locally and enjoyed it in 2024.

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