For the last few of years, Ramaz is producing wines that are amongst the purest and most vibrant in the whole of Georgia. Our last two tastings with him, in London and La Dive Wine Fair were mind-blowing.
'Tsitska stayed 4 months in qvevri and 4 months in barrels, with part of the élevage done in old oak. Asked if he saw a difference compared the the previous vintages where he made with wine with qvevri only, some roundness in the mouthfeel for example. Ramaz doesn't look for oak aromas, just the breathing that can occur in a wooded vessel.
The wine which has a nice golden colour is neat, very pure in the mouth, and the aromatics are so different from what we're used at home, and there's this nice bitterness. There was no skin contact in this wine. Goes well with fish, chicken, salad, cheese but for apéritif as well I think like we have it now.
Undoubtly the qvevri is central to the character of these wines as well, some say it's like some sort of terroir that goes into the wine : These vessels are made with specially chosen clay and sand, plus beexwax and you don't make these things like that (although i'm sure some company is going to try produce them in industrial numbers), they're living containers which will breathe and accompany the wine safely without needing the safety net of sulfur. Ramaz don't adds sulfites and his wines are unfiltered.' Wine Terroirs
RAMAZ NIKOLADZE, Imereti - Organic, Natural
Ramaz Nikoladze is the head of Slow Food in Georgia and he started his small domaine in 2007 just a few kilometers from Kutaisi in the Imereti region on the grounds of his grandparents parcel. Ramaz himself is from this village, same for his parents, he bought his house in 2001, eventually setting up his cellar on the basement with a few qvevri buried to their neck.
Ramaz' own vineyard surface makes 1,5 hectare in total, his yearly production is about 4000 bottles from his own cellar, plus he sells the wine of his wife's uncle (Didimi) who is 82 years old and also makes wine the traditionnal way in a village 30 km from here (makes 2000 bottles more)
To complement his small production Ramaz occasionally looks for local people who have a family parcel and make wine for themselves, if they're interested and after he speaks with them and is sure they work naturally in the vineyard, he can buy them some fruit.
Imereti is a region where there's usually no skin maceration during the vinification and Ramaz was the first to introduce some skin contact in the wines here.