1. Georgian wine – this is what is said about Georgian wine culture.
Georgians have enough wine to water the country. Their wine is sparkling and flavoured.
Homer, 8th C. B.C.
Georgian tribes know how to grow vine, make wine and have the suitable vessels.
Herodotus, 4th C. B.C.
In Georgia vine gives a harvest already in the second year and is so prolific that most grapes are left on vines.
Strabo 1st C.A. D.
It could be stated for sure that there is no other country in the world where such a lot of and such beautiful wine is drunk as in Georgia.
Georgia can and must become the preferred wine cellar of Europe, America and Asia.
I think Georgia will be – of Eastern European countries – the easiest one to work in the field of wine-making, as it has an impressive culture of wine-making and hospitality. The Georgian people display a high ethic standard based on Christian family values.
Robin Day, director of the International Wine-making Department of the French Pernod-Ricard Group.
The strongest ties between wild wine and aborigine species were established in Georgia.
A. Negrul, Fundamentals of wine-making.
Among discoveries of cultural vine-growing and wine-making the materials obtained in Georgia belong to the earliest period. According to this information the Georgian name
gvino spread to the whole of Europe and the World from Georgia and was established in a lot of languages in the same or a changed form: vino, vin, wein, wine…
Hugh Johnson, History of Wine.
Three fine qualities out of a lot of magic qualities of Georgian people are incorporated in Georgian wine: strength, tenderness, steadfastness.
Mikhail Sholokhov, 1965 Nobel Prize in literature.
2 Archaeological treasures of the art of winemaking
The Caucasus is important for winemaking and Georgia itself is considered to be the homeland of the wine culture. Winemaking is an ancient tradition in the Mukhrani area. Archeological excavations in this region have found traces of the presence of winemaking going back as far as the stone age.
Important remnants of an antique town, discovered in 1974 at Dzalisa, close to the Mukhranbatoni Chateau, indicate this early men mastered and highly developed art of winemaking. They also prove the existence of an important town north of Mtkvari (mentioned by the C2nd B.C. by Greek author Ptolemy). This powerful settlement, satellite of big Mtskheta, played an important part in the development of the Karthli kingdom. By its historical, artistic and stylistic significance experts esteem Dzalisa to be part of the global heritage of mankind, as are Pompeii, Herculaneum and similar sites in Palestine and Syria.
According to Greek mythology Dionysus, son of Zeus and beautiful Semele, was the god of fertility and in particular of vine and wine. It is the state religion during the reign of Hisistratus.
Apart from the remnants of grandiose palaces, bath complexes with tiled floors, atrium, huge swimming pools and fountains found in the aristocratic district of Dzalisa, the most impressive discovery is the 2nd C. A.D. Dionysus mosaic. The mosaic is composed of splinters from various sorts of stones of 12 colors. There are many ornamental elements and images of vine. Inscriptions are in Greek and the representation of Dionysus has been executed most skillfully. To the right of Dionysus one finds his wife Ariadne, the daughter of legendary Minos and Pasiphaë. At their feet is portrayed gentle and joyful god Pan. Among the mosaic images are very impressive muses, beautiful ladies and gods with wings as well as a winged handsome young man with a basket full of fruit. They represent the god of fecundity and confirm by their presence the importance of winemaking in the Mukhrani region.
3 From vine to wine
An exceptional terroir
Mukhrani (“embellished with oak trees“) is one of the most beautiful Georgian villages, set in one of the attractive places in the Eastern Georgia, between the split of the Caucasus and Trialeti mountain ranges in the basin of Ksani and Aragvi rivers, 35 km from Tbilisi. The vineyards of the Chateau are located on the best selected plots of this exquisite terroir. The land with its surging surface slopes slightly. Geologically the parcels are made up of layers of alluvial and diluvial loamy strata. Temperature-wise Mukhrani micro-zone is characterized by medium to hot summers and by a long active vegetation period. The total of active temperatures yearly is in the range of 3600 ºC, while the average annual temperature is 10,8 ºC. The annual amount of rainfall in Mukhrani micro-zone is 660 mm of which 430 mm during the period of growth. The accumulation of a happy harmonic interplay of nature, tradition and man gives body to the Mukhrani wine.
A skillfully cultivated vineyard
The vineyards occupy 23 parcels, amounting upto100 hectares near the Chateau itself. Here vine has been cultivated for centuries. Famous Mukhrani vineyards, cherished by a moderate sun, have been planted with different varieties, like:
Reds - Saperavi, Cabernet, Tavkveri, Shavcapito, Petite Verdot, Nero Davola, Syrah
Whites - Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc.
The specific geological and climatic features of this terroir coupled with a skillful and patient selection of the varieties, that have been chosen throughout the centuries, offer unique conditions for creating red and white wines of exceptional quality of the Chateau Mukhrani as well as those of the Mukhrani Estate.
An ancestral art
Well established and well-tried fundamental approaches direct our wine making led by our skillful and vastly experienced winemaker Lado Uzunashvili.
The Chateau Mukhrani vintages privilege an ancestral heritage that guarantees the combined values of heart and soul, while those of the Mukhrani estate celebrate the exceptional timelessness of our virtuous traditions. By a strictly selective picking of grapes and the use of all well-known major and traditional vinification methods our wines are patiently elaborated to acquire great specificity that reveals their strong inner world. Maturation of between six and twenty-four months in oak casks gives the wines their extraordinary ultimate harmony. An extremely severe final selection by Lado eventually leads to a production limited to 25 000 bottles for 2007 vintage.
Relatively younger and eager Mukhrani Estate wines for 2007 vintage are limited to 75 000
To emphasize their exceptional character the prestigious vintages are shipped from the Chateau in wooden boxes.
4 A history of self-sacrifice and devotion
The princes of Mukhrani
The princes of Mukhrani (Mukhranbatoni) stem from one of the oldest royal dynasties in the world - the Bagriatoni. In 1512 king David of Karthli donated the Mukhrani estate dominating the Ksani and Aragvi gorges to his brother prince Bagrat. Since then his descendants have left their mark in all sectors of their contemporary life - political, economic as well as cultural as well as in that great history of proud Georgian nation. Throughout the centuries this fertile land was coveted and the princes of Mukhrani protected it valiantly against the various invaders. Sensible and brave tillers - they defended the land brilliantly and courageously. Their knightly nature, diligence and self-sacrifice allowed them to ascend to the royal throne of the country as early as in the 17th century.
Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni
Great political and military figure of the 19th century Ivane Mukhranbatoni was born the 7th February 1812 into the family of the famous general Konstantine Mukhranbatoni. Young Ivane chose a military career and became major-general in 1850. In 1853 he was a commander of a grenadier subdivision. At the age of 42, having acquired experience in many battles as a lieutenant-general, he was appointed Military Governor of West Georgia. As head of the Tbilisi princedom Ivan Mukhranbatoni strove for years to eradicate illiteracy in Georgia. Well aware of the importance of education he did all he could to establish schools, was a founder of Tbilisi Georgian State University and licensed newspapers.
With love for wine
The prince’s interest in farming was greatly enhanced on his trip to France in 1876, where he learned more about the fine art of winemaking of the Bordeaux and Champaign regions. Back home he decided to start producing wonderful Georgian wines on the ancestral Mukhrani estate land. Abandoning a brilliant military career he created a superb vineyard and built a 1.200.000 litre capacity production unit, bravely implementing innovations unique throughout the Caucasus. The great reputation of Mukhrani wines made these Georgian vineyards famous. Despite a rather high price, the demand for Mukhrani wines was growing steadily and they were successfully marketed in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Warsaw and the Baltic countries, Paris, Vienna and even in cities as far away as the US. Further grandiose perspectives of the enterprising were in view and enthusiasm of Ivane Mukhranbatoni when, at the age of 85, in spite of his exquisite health he suddenly died at his estate on the 11th March 1895. He was buried in the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the traditional burial place of the Royal House of Bagrationi.
Under the flag of success
From the first harvest in 1865 the wines of Ivan Mukhranbatoni knew a wide international recognition. Mukhranbatoni was one of the exclusive suppliers of wines to the Russian Imperial Court. His wines have inspired artists and writers of the epoch: Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Lermontov, Chaykovsky, Rachhmaninoff, Repin, Bulbul-Ogly, Kandinsky and numerous others. Ivane Mukhranbatoni was the first to prove that Georgian wines have their rightful place among the great wines of the world. By blending local and imported grape varieties he produced sophisticated wines whose high qualities met the strictest requirements of experts and the refined palate of true wine lovers. The vineyards covered then some 400 desitina, and each desitina produced 200 buckets of wine. Main buildings of the Mukhrani estate consisted of a three-story palace, a cask factory, a wine factory and wine stores. Prince Mukhranbatoni and Company became famous in 1863 when his wines won the highest distinction at the Tbilisi agricultural exhibition. The wine factory became fully operational in 1876 producing twelve special wines. In 1844 the annual income reached 244.700 maneti. At its highest peak in 1896 the turnover reached 300.000 maneti. Trendsetter of fashion, taste and traditions Mukhrani wines were awarded prizes at international exhibitions and wine-tasting events competing with the finest wines of the world. At the Moscow agricultural exhibition of 1882 Mukhrani wines were acclaimed and won the main prize, the state medal for agricultural merit. The Mukhranuli wines won a gold medal at the Odessa Agricultural Exhibition in the same year. It won highest approval at the Yalta agricultural exhibition in 1884 where the Mukhrani 5 produced in 1884 was also acclaimed. Mukhrani sparkling wine was of such a high quality that it was awarded the first prize at the Paris wine exhibition in 1889, while it won the state arms at the Moscow exhibition of 1892. 1898 was the year of unsurpassed honor, when Mukhrani wine won the highest prize in Paris, whereas Prince Mukhranbatoni, the owner of the vineyards, was named Honored Officier de la Mérite Agricole by the French government.
5 The Wines & Vintages
The style of Mukhrani wines
Like a great creator, and as incomparable and versatile, Mukhrani composes its masterpieces to which soil, climate and vine give their inimitable style. Young Mukhrani wines are already wonderful for their robust structure and the intensity of rich fruits, yet they continue to evolve constantly and reach maturity after three to ten years. Exceptional vintages may take well over a decade to reach full maturity.
The vintages of Chateau Mukhrani
The highly selective wine-tasting restricting the volume of wines for Chateau Mukhrani in 2007 led to a production of 20 000 L. They are maturing in new oak casks for an estimated six to 24 months and then for a number of years dedicated to in-bottle aging.
Mukhrani Estate wine
Saperavi 2007, Saperavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Chardonnay 2007 and Rkatsiteli 2007 are recommended character wines.
Colour opulent ruby. Black Mulberry, Blackberry and Cherry on the nose and on the palate echoed with soft oak. Exuberant, yet velvety tannins well balanced with the entire structure.
Saperavi is Georgia’s endemic variety and has all the noble chrematistics making it one of the World’s most outstanding reds. Saperavi is rich, fruity wine with bountiful body and great vinocity.
Red meet and game fried, grilled and stewed with spices.
Excellent with mature cheese of different styles.
2. Saperavi / Cabernet Sauvignon
Colour is opulent ruby blended with some blue hues. Sweet Cherry with some spice and oak overtones on the nose. Palate tasteful and exuberant bearing blackberry and Cherry. Velvety tannins and soft oak balanced with excellently expressed vinosity. Saperavi is Georgia’s endemic variety and has all the noble chrematistics making it one of the World’s most outstanding reds. Blended with Cabernet Sauvignon makes the blend of two magnificent varieties rich of all nobilities for premium reds.
Red meet and game fried, grilled and stewed with spices. Excellent with mature cheese of different styles.
Straw to light golden with green tinge. Rich with elegant tropical aromas. Soft fruity taste with refreshing acidity. Intriguing length on the palate with refreshing finish.
Chardonnay - this world wide known variety grown at Mukhrani Estates, Georgia.
This wine best enjoyed with poultry and fish. It is charming with salads from vegetables or salads with vegetables mixed with fish and poultry.
Average straw with green tinge. Aroma of Golden Plums and white Mulberry elegantly blended with backing tropical overtones. Inviting, unique and impressive white Mulberry and citrus fruit with refreshing acidity. Soft and plentiful body. Excellently expressed vinocity.
Rkatsiteli is Georgia’s endemic and unique white variety which has proven itself through the centuries and has been giving refreshing and memorable wines.
This wine best enjoyed with poultry and fish. It is charming with salads from vegetables or salads with vegetables mixed with fish and poultry.
The harvest of 2007
2007 was remarkable for its climatic variations and is the birth year of our wines. A relatively cold winter was slowly replaced by a spring with rather cold nights coupled with cloudy and rainy days. After blossoming the vine developed a promising thin bunch grape. Climatic conditions were wonderful from mid-May till mid-July with a very favourable equilibrium of rainy and sunny days. As a whole the year was marked by a delicate mixture of humidity and temperature. We started picking the finest grapes on the first October and celebrated storing the first harvest the twenty-first October. It was all done by hand, selected bunches were placed in 7 kg capacity wooden boxes and immediately delivered to our reception located at 900 m from the vineyard.
6 Under new stars
The company Chateau Mukhrani, founded in 2002, intends the revival of the glorious past of the estate and the promotion of Mukhrani wine culture on the basis of a harmonic blend of history, traditions and the latest technologies. To this effect a broad-scale revitalization of the vineyards started in 2002 and 90 hectares of new vineyards were planted (Saperavi : 30 hectares, Chardonnay : 20 hectares, Petite Verdo : 10 hectares, etc.). An ultra-modern wine factory was built proposing a happy mixture of classical and modern winemaking techniques. We respect the most important basic principles such as handpicking of the grapes and processing according to variety and year. Each step of the process has its strict rules: reception, crushing, pressing, fermentation etc. All tanks for vinification and storage are temperature-controlled. At the same time we redevelop the estate. Reconstruction of the Chateau is one of the main projects. Apart from the esthetic pleasure it will give us a chance to receive the public with our legendary Georgian hospitality and offer visitors a first class hotel. Other services such as a wine salon, a spa and a golf club will soon be open to the public.