For the Love of Wine, by Alice Feiring
Reviewed by Doc Lawrence
A special dinner was served in the stately old Monticello, Florida mansion that included baked grouper, fried shrimp, farm fresh vegetables and local oysters. Impressive wines were served with each course. All were from the Republic of Georgia.
Georgia was just about the last stop on the Silk Road, and its food is laced with the perfumes and tastes of India, Greece, North Africa and Persia. History would suggest that wines are made here and if you guessed that, you’d be right.
The accomplished author Alice Feiring first arrived in Georgia in 2011, and discovered exotic and delicious wines made like they did for past centuries. According to her, this country on the Black Sea has an unusual effect on people, arousing passions and emotions. Visiting winemakers fall under Georgia’s spell and bring home qvevris (clay fermentation vessels) inspired to rethink their own techniques.
For the Love of Wine is Feiring’s highly enjoyable tale of a remarkable country and people who have survived religious wars and Soviet occupation yet managed to hold onto their precious wine traditions. Embedded in her narrative is the hope that Georgia has the temerity to confront modernization.
Feiring senses that danger. With acclaim and growing international interest come threats in the guise of new wine consultants aimed at making wines more commercial. So Feiring wrote a book, her way of fighting back by celebrating Georgia and the men and women who make the wines she loves, made naturally with organic viticulture, minimal intervention, and no additives.
From Tbilisi to Batumi, Feiring meets winemakers, bishops, farmers, artists, and silk spinners. She feasts, toasts, and collects recipes. She encounters the thriving qvevri craftspeople of the countryside, wild grape hunters, and even Stalin’s last winemaker while plumbing the depths of Georgia’s love for its wines.
By the time you’ve picked up For the Love of Wine, says Christine Muhlke, executive editor of Bon Appétit, “Georgian wine will be internationally known.” She asks “what do God, Stalin, and truth have to do with great wine? Follow [Feiring] her on her journeys into a rich and fascinating culture and find out.”
Georgian wines are many and diverse. Saperavi is a substantial deep red wine suitable for extended aging, even up to fifty years. It is the most important grape variety used to make their red wines
Bodbe is made from the Rkatsiteli grape variety in the village of Bodbe in the Magaro microdistrict, one of the most beautiful places of Kakheti. The wine has a light-straw color, an aroma of wild flowers and a pleasing taste giving the wine piquancy highly praised by connoisseurs.
A fortified wine, Anaga is similar to Madeira, a strong wine made from Rkatsiteli, Khikhvi and Mtsvane grapes. The wine is light-golden to dark-amber color, a muscular bouquet with a clearly pronounced Madeira touch. Enjoy it with rich chocolate.
|Select Georgian Wines|
For the Love of Wine
My Odyssey through the World's Most Ancient Wine Culture
Potamac Books 2016
|Georgia's Natural Beauty-Byron Moraski|