Wines from Georgia – Chateau Mukhrani
Chateau Mukhrani is located in the village of Mukhrani some 35 km from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. This historic wine estate is situated inbetween the Caucasus and Trialeti mountain ranges in the basin of the Ksani and Araqvi Rivers. Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of Europe and lays claim to being the birthplace of wine from which it derives its nickname “the cradle of wine”. The very fertile valleys of the South Caucasus are believed, by some archaeologists, to be the source of the first cultivated vines for wine production over 8000 years ago.
Chateau Mukhrani (Mukhrani means “decorated with oak trees”) dates back to 1512 when it was governed by the Bagrationi royal family. The cultivation of vines at the estate, for the production of wine, dates from 1876 when a representative of the royal family, Ivan Mukhranbatoni, returned from a visit to France with knowledge and concepts of how to produce wine. Wine-making continued at the estate until the Soviet Era when the estate was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The estate remained abandoned until 2003 when an international drinks group, Marussia Beverages, formed the Chateau Mukhrani Company, with Georgian partners, and set to restoring the estate to its former glory. Through a combination of modern wine-making and traditional methods, along with an ultramodern new winery (built in 2007) and a new barrel hall, Chateau Mukhrani is well on the road developing an international reputation. Chief Winemaker is Lado Uzunashvili who joined the company in 2007.
Grapes grown at Chateau Mukhrani are mostly indigenous Georgian grape varieties but there are some international grape varieties too. These include,
Red Grape Varieties – Saperavi, Tavkveri (for Rosé), Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli for the semi sweet Khvanchkara and Cabernet Sauvignon
White Grape Varieties – Goruli Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat for dessert wine. Goruli Mtsvane is, in fact, different from “normal” Mtsvane which is actually called Mtsvane Kakhuri. Mtsvane Kakhuri comes from the Kakheti region whilst the genetically distinct Mtsvane Goruli comes from the Kartli region in Southern Georgia.
Interesting fun fact – Rkatsiteli is so widely planted in Eastern and Central Europe that it ranks third in the world for hectares grown!
All grapes are sourced from Chateau Mukhrani’s own vineyards which are adjacent to winery – they pride themselves on the grapes taking only 15 minutes from being harvested in the vineyard to arriving at the winery. The vineyards comprise some 100 hectares over 23 parcels of vines. The fertile soils of this river basin are made up of layers of alluvial and diluvial loam and the region has fairly warm to hot summers with a long growing season.
Chateau Mukhrani Goruli Mtsvane 2011 (White)
Unfortunately the sample we had was corked. Mtsvane is the second most important white grape variety in Georgia after Rkatsiteli. Mtsvane means “green”. Goruli Mtsvane is a particular type of Mtsvane.
This wine has a good light golden colour with slight green tinges. The nose is very deep and fruity with lots of ripe, plummy notes and some spicy, almost citrus / bergamot notes. The wine has a viscous feel in the mouth, the palate is quite full but a little flabby in the middle before coming to a dry finish with some good acidity. A very round white wine with a slight almond / marzipan aftertaste.
Chateau Mukhrani Tavkveri 2011 (Rosé)
Good deep, strawberry coloured rosé. Plenty of red fruit and strawberries on the nose. The palate is mid-weight with more strawberry and red cherry flavours. Dry with some minerality and a good, clean finish. Perhaps a little one dimensional.
Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi 2010 (Red)
Good, clear, dark ruby in colour. The wine has spicy, floral and red fruit notes (mulberry, cherry) in the nose, perhaps some blackcurrant Chewits (see Alan Partridge) with blackberries and black cherries. The palate is round and dry without being drying. There are plenty of red fruit notes and a hint of oak from oak ageing (20% of the wine goes into a mix of French , American and Caucasian oak barrels). Quite rich and spicy finish and decent length.