Why is Saperavi a unique variety of vine and is it only found in Georgia?
05 September, 2018
Why is Saperavi a unique variety of vine and is it only found in Georgia?
Georgia is one of the main hubs for forming various classical vines. An important book called, "Georgian Amphelography", was published in 1960, where Georgian grape varieties were discussed. The complete amphelographic included a description of 57 standard and perspective varieties. The book contains in total 525 varieties of vines.

After final verification, 414 varieties of Georgian vine description were included in the amphelographic book.

Among them is Saperavi, a unique grape variety that originates in Georgia. Biological features and morphological signs
of this breed identify Saperavi as the oldest breed. None of the Georgian varieties have the same number of additional names as Saperavi. This can be explained by the fact that Saperavi is an old breed. The most famous and varied types of Saperavi are Budeshuri, Otskhanuri Sapere, Meskhi Saperavi, Ateni Saperavi, Saperavi Pachkha, and many more.

Information about the time and place of the origin of Saperavi have not been preserved, but based on different data it can be determined by approximation. According to Ivane Javakhishvili, primarily the Saperavi vine originated in the old Georgian province of Shavshet-klarjeti, from which it then spread to Eastern Georgia via Kartli (discovered seeds in Uplistsikhe and Samtavro, dated around 9th-10th Century and also patterns on old cellars in Kaspi).This took place in the vineyards of Kakheti by the end of the 17th century.
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The growing of the Saperavi vines spread from Georgia to almost all neighbouring countries: Azerbaidjan – from Saingilo, mostly in the regions such as Kakhi, Zakatala, Shamkori, Ghanja; Armenia – in the districts of Alaverdi, Shamshadin and Ijevani. However, the Saperavi vine is less common in Armenia. Since 1927, Saperavi cultivation has been extensive in the former Soviet farm at Ararat. Saperavi was introduced in Dagestan from the region of Kakheti, mostly in the districts of Darubandi and Makhachkala.

In the Middle Asian countries Saperavi was brought together with European varieties by 1860, and in France it is fetched by French habitant of Kutaiasi Longale, who was sending Georgian breeds to ampheliographist Pule.

The reason why Saperavi is widely grown and cultivated in different countries is down to its high agricultural and technological properties (productivity, quality, frost-resistant). According to the chemical analysis, Saperavi belongs to a saint wine vines’ group. It is among the world's best red wines. The high quality of Saperavi Wine is often acknowledged by official tasting commissions. Director of Nikitin Garden, Hartvis, G. Tsabel and others give it a high rating. The prominent French amphelographist Odari wrote: "Everything gives me the right to think that Saperavi is the best of all grapes to make red wine."
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The best Saperavi wine is made from grapes, harvested in the middle of the Kakheti region, especially in Kvareli and Mukuzani. These are truly the pride of Georgian wine. The most popular wines made from Saperavi grapes are "Saperavi", "Kindzmarauli", "Kvareli", and "Mukuzani. The best dessert wines from Saperavi grapes are seen in the Crimea and Uzbekistan. In some places the wine is a dark ruby-colour, a pomegranate colour, or can even be a blackcurrant colour. But in every case it is accompanied with a strong flavor and a harmonious sensation of its components. According to the Ukrainian winemaker, Okhremenko, the "softness of the wine is integral with the the character of wine its originality and integrity."

Source: www.allwine.ge

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BBC about Georgian wine - Ark of Taste: Saperavi Grape

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