February 25, 2009

Amphora Wine: A Lab PSA

Never say we don't give back.

If you've been following along our recent work with pre-historic oenology and decided to home trial an amphora wine, you may have noticed they are A) somewhat hard to find; and B) not exactly cheap.

Sure you could drink the Mtsvane from Vinoterra. It's fairly inexpensive. And according to Jeremy Parzen, a pilgrimmage to Vinoterra was the source of inspiration for amphora evangelist, Josko Gravner. But I've told you the wife thinks it drinks like an exotic urine sample. There's definitely some risk there.

Fortunately, Vinoterra has another amphora wine made from another grape I've never heard of, Kisi, a white grape, indigenous to Georgia.

Vinoterra, Kisi, 2006, has an unusual nose of butterscotch and almond paste with receding hints of mint. In the mouth, there's flavors of burnt sugar (although the wine is dry), apple and mineral water. There an element of anise after the wine warms in the glass. And an overall impression of something like bourbon diluted by melting ice. It's actually hard to reduce this wine to a simple list of descriptors. Maybe because the flavors are unfamiliar and unusual?

Apparently, Whole Foods and USAID had something to do with bringing these Georgian wines into the US. I haven't seen them on the shelves there, but you can find it for twenty bucks at K&L Wines.

It is both interesting and good.


Brian said...

Better than the Mtsvane, then, which I found interesting more than enjoyable? (I tried it at Terroir on Folsom Street near Seventh)

Tracie B. said...

i had a similar experience not being able to find the right descriptors when i had my first pinot grigio "ramato" and later the gravner breg.

it's a great exercise, no?

Managing Principal, Labstuff said...

Definitely. I'd buy the Kisi again. The Mtsvane, not so much.

Perhaps I'm too much enamored of Shklovsky, but I think defamiliarization exercises are always worthwhile.


icewaterchrist said...

Try the COS wines from Sicily. They are made in amphorae, are much more reasonably price and much more approachable in style, yet offer a completely different drinking experience.

Director, Lab Outreach said...