In The Glass: Telavi Marani – Kondoli Sami 2012
I’m not a terribly huge fan of tossing in some French varieties with local ones as the mix is often unholy. I remember tasting a Greek wine from Naoussa that was Xinomavro and Cabernet Sauvingon. The Cab was just something like 15% but even still, it ran rampant over the poor, unsuspecting Xinomavro which was a shame.
I had feared a bit of the same when starting my research for this new Georgia wine book but so far my fears have been largely unfounded. The Georgians, by and large have managed to stick to their native grapes. Sure, you sometimes hop in to a larger cellar and they have some Frenchy bits in there but most everyone swears by the stalwarts such as the white Rkatsiteli or the red, Saperavi.
Then I found this wine by Telavi Marani which is three grapes, one of which being Merlot. Sigh. Georgia is really too hot for Merlot and there wasn’t much need to plant it. But, apparently “sami” means the number 3 in Georgian and so they thought it a cute blend with three grapes of Aleksandreuli, Saperavi, and Merlot.
Amazingly, the blend worked quite well. I would suspect it has to do withe Merlot being a minor player as it works to just round out everything out just enough without being a whomping braggart of a French intruder.
Kondoli Sami 2012
Dark plums, stewed fruit, menthol, wet earth, lively. Medium plus intensity with a good deal going on. Red fruit more predominant in body, minor pepper notes in the lengthy finish.
50% Aleksandreuli, 25% Saperavi, 25% Merlot 13.5% 38GEL