A Guide to Georgian Wine Food Pairing
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to sample Georgian cuisine you’ll be aware of the outrageous bounty of combinations the nation has when it comes to meats, cheeses, vegetables, herbs and spices. You’ll also have some knowledge of the plethora of wine styles available to complement these fabulous concoctions. Classic Khachapuri, Khinkali and Mtsvadi pair effortlessly with native varieties Rkatsiteli, Mtsvane and Saperavi. If you haven’t tried Georgian cooking yet, we highly recommend that you do!
But it’s not just Georgian food that helps bring out the best in this country’s wine options. The examples we’ve tried not only have the flavour profiles to stand up by themselves, they also work tremendously well with a wide variety of dishes from around the globe.
Best Georgian wine to pair with cheese: Rkatsiteli
With a palate rich in notes of apricots and dried orange peel with subtle notes of honey, we couldn’t think of anything better for a classic cheese and wine pairing with an amber twist. Rkatsiteli is famously paired with the popular Georgian comfort food Khachapuri, a soft doughy bread stuffed with melted cheese. Why not deconstruct that combination and mix it up with a wide variety of cheeses. Rkatsiteli is robust enough to handle all manner of hard, soft and stinky options.
Best Georgian wine to pair with a Sunday roast: Mtsvane
A Sunday roast calls for rich tannins to dry your palate and leave you craving the next bite. Traditionally, a full-bodied red is considered ideal under such circumstances, enter Mtsvane. While full of bright aromas like apricot and peach, Mtsvane is full-bodied and rich in tannins. This gives its wines the structure to stand up to the wide variety of flavours and textures you’ll find on your Sunday roast plate. Paired with pork, lamb or bird, it’s an absolute winner.
Best Georgian wine to pair with Middle Eastern Veggie dishes: Saperavi
Could the wait be over? Have we found a red wine with body and fruit that can actually pair with chickpeas? We may well have done just that. While Georgia’s number one planted black grape has the spice and richness needed to pair with dishes like the Sunday roast above, it also has a delightful acidity and an earthy, savoury character that balances well with all manner of vegetables and strong cheeses. If you insist on adding a lamb kofta to the mix, it’s a stunning match for that as well.
Best Georgian wine to bring to a summer BBQ: Gvantsa’s Otskhanuri Rosé
The region of Imereti, famous for lighter, more elegant styles of wine is home to the once forgotten grape variety of Otskhanuri. Here sisters Baia and Gvantsa, with help from their brother Georgi, have created this incredible, dry rosé. With notes of cranberry, pomegranate and sour cherry, it’s the perfect wine for summer afternoons in the back garden.
Best Georgian wine to pair with classic Asian dishes: Baia’s Wine
Sister to Gvantsa, Baia’s wine is a blend of three white varieties (Tsitska, Tsolikouri, Krakhuna) native to Imereti. The result is a rich, dry, juicy, full-bodied white with plenty of notes of ripe pear, lemon zest and apricot which we feel makes a formidable match when combined with sushi or even spicy curry dishes. Baia’s wine has a short maceration on the grape skins, making it closer to a white and, crucially, ensuring a lack of tannins that might otherwise clash with certain Asian spices. We very much recommend giving it a try!
Best Georgian wine to pair with seafood: Kisi
The Kisi grape is found throughout Kakheti, the famous wine region situated to the east of capital Tbilisi. Although sometimes produced as a semi-sweet wine, when made into a dry amber wine it develops notes of green apple and fresh citrus to complement aromas of ripe pear and walnut. We think it’s a cracking, off-piste choice to go with all manner of fresh fish dishes.