The year is young but we already have a candidate for the most interesting wine of the year. Ojaleshi is a red grape indigenous to the country of Georgia. Under Soviet rule, the grape was made into a semi-sweet bulk wine but contemporary Georgians are making quality wine from it, often in a rosé style. This natural wine from Oda winery is a “tweener.” 40% was left on the skins for 8 months. The rest were pressed immediately with no maceration. The result is a transparent light ruby color with purple hints.
Aromas are bright and vibrant. Red currant and raspberry with dark berry nuances, smoke, tarragon, and a bit of white pepper hiding muted cider notes.
In the mouth there is a wonderful seam of juicy pure fruit loaded with orange zest underpinned by a very fine dusting of persistent tannins and screaming acidity that melds with high toned minerality. It’s very active in the mouth, the components dipping and darting like summer swallows before the long puckering finish laced with more smoke settles in.
Airy, atmospheric, and exuberant but feral and kinetic, the ephemeral made tangible, pair with the trip hop of Separate Lives by Haelos.
Notes: Keto Ninidze, the woman behind Oda Winery, gave up the life of a professional linguist in Tbilisi, to move to the country side and make wine from a variety of native grapes. This wine is unfined, unfiltered, vinified with natural yeast, and minimal sulfur and aged in quevri.