Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rkatsiteli Grapes

Rkaksiteli (pronounced "rkah-tsee-tely"; Georgian რქაწითელი; literally "red stem") is a variety of grapes grown along the Black Sea coast of Georgia, used to make dry white table wines of the Kakhetian style. Rkatsiteli was very popular in the Soviet Union and remains popular in Russia. In spite of the Russian ban on Georgian wine, Rkaksiteli still makes its way to Russia, since it is now grown in other former-Soviet republics and in Eastern Europe. In addition, it is grown in small areas of Australia and the eastern United States. The leaves are round, with three or five lobes; the grapes themselves are golden in color and will develop brown spots on the sun side.

Rkaksiteli grapes are often blended with other grapes: with Khikhvi and Mtsvane to produce Rkatsiteli Khornabujuli wine; with Mtsvane to make the aged white wine Tibaani; with Chinuri and Chkhaveri for sparkling wine; with Saperavi and Cabernet Sauvignon for a semi-dry rose wine; or with Khikvi and Mtsvane for the fortified white port Kardenakhi. Rkatsiteli is one of the oldest varieties of grapes in the world; clay vessels have been found in Georgia with Rkatsiteli seeds dating from 3000 BC.

1 comment:

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Aaron,

I found your blog the other day. I find it really great to be able to read and learn more about Georgian wines. Keep up the good work!



P.S. I wrote a piece the other day about Russian MFA Lavrov drinking Georgian wine. That might perhaps amuse you. D.S.