This direct-press Krakhuna has been aged for 9 months in Qveri, buried underground, in typical Georgian fashion. It is bright, lemon-scented, vividly fresh, very Chablis in style, with amazing minerality.
Archil Guniava Wine Cellar and Vineyard are located in Zestaphoni, Kvaliti Village, at the family home, where generations of the family have lived. Vines are planted across 1.5 hectares of vineyards. This location provides excellent soil structure and a conducive climate for grapes. The vineyard plot is planted to many grape varieties: Tsolikouri, Tsitska, Krakhuna, Otskhanuri Sapere, Dzelshavi, Dondghlabi and Mgaloblishvili, the latter two being very rare and whose reputation Archil is dedicated to restoring. Everything is fermented in old qvevris buried in the marani (cellar). Natural winemaking methods are naturally employed with native ferments and nothing added; normally the wines would be made Imeretian-style with approximately 15% maceration on skins, but in the lighter 2019 vintage they were made without skins (bar the Dondghlabi).
The climate in this part of Imereti is subtropical, warm rather than hot, and quite humid in the summer. The soils are clay over limestone, this latter feature giving the wines their particular freshness and vitality. Organic farming methods are practised.
Grapes are harvested by hand, destemmed and crushed into the beeswax-lined qvevri. Ferments are ambient and take around two weeks to complete. All wines undergo natural malolactic fermentation and are bottled without filtration, fining or sulphur added.
In a country overflowing with ancient grape varieties, Krakhuna is one of the oldest. And is happily easier to pronounce than many other Georgian grapes! Indigenous to Imereti in the west of the country, grown in and around the villages of Sviri, Obcha and Dimi, ‘Krakhuna’ means ‘crisp’ in the local dialect. It’s an appropriate nickname for this high-acid grape, which winemakers often describe as ‘crunchy’ in texture. Given the humid conditions of west Georgia, it can be challenging to grow with its naturally thin skins which make it susceptible to rot and mildew. As a consequence, Krakhuna produces only moderate yields and the grapes must necessarily be harvested by hand and sorted. Krakhuna is often blended with Tsolikouri and Tsitska to make delicious white wines. Archil’s version offers notes of apricots, ripe citrus, vanilla with honeyed tones and lovely acidity to balance.