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Mtsvane - one of the most valuable white grape varieties

Anastasia Khatiashvili
Anastasia Khatiashvili
17.04.2024

Mtsvane is a grape variety highly valued for its taste and aroma. This grape variety is used to produce white wines in Georgia. Mtsvane is distinguished by its unique qualities and is considered one of the best varieties for Georgian winemakers. Let's talk about this variety in more detail and try to find out why it is considered so good.

About the Wine Variety

Mtsvane is recognized as an outstanding and authentic Georgian grape variety, valued for the excellent white wines it produces. Its name comes from the unique greenish shade of the fruits, symbolizing the word "green" in the Georgian language. Two main varieties—Kakheti Mtsvane, mostly cultivated in the Kakheti region, and Goruli Mtsvane, grown in the Gor valley—contribute to the diversity of this variety.

The plants have medium-sized growth with dark green leaves that have a characteristic wrinkled texture. Clusters vary from medium to loose density, with their shape and size directly influenced by climatic conditions, especially rainfall levels. The berries, oval in shape and medium-sized, attract attention with their juiciness and thin skin, as well as their expressive varietal aroma, making Mtsvane one of the most aromatic representatives of Kakhetian grape varieties. The most important plantations of this variety are located in Kakheti, in the historical territory of Georgia, near the Tsiv-Gombori Range and the Alazani River.

The yield of Mtsvane is characterized by high performance, with the first harvest being collected as early as the third year after planting. Wines made from Mtsvane are renowned for their exquisite flavor nuances and delicate aroma. They are produced using both modern and traditional Kakhetian winemaking techniques, resulting in beverages with a light green hue and a soft, balanced taste with a pronounced fruity note. As a result, Mtsvane is sometimes likened to "Georgian Riesling," highlighting its unique winemaking qualities.

Mtsvane grapes

Features of growing Mtsvane grapes

Growing Mtsvane grapes involves considering a number of features dictated by its unique agronomic characteristics and requirements for the microclimate. Mtsvane is a technical variety bred in Georgia and is one of the best white varieties in the region.

Key aspects of cultivating Mtsvane grapes include the following elements:

  • Traditional growing regions. Mtsvane prefers the lands of the village of Manavi and other areas of Kakheti, benefiting from the favorable climate of these places for its development. This grape variety is also present in countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, and Dagestan, expanding the geography of its distribution.
  • Productivity and fruit properties. Already in the third year of cultivation, Mtsvane begins to yield, showing high productivity. In particular, in the Telavi region, the sugar content in the fruits can reach 22-24%, confirming the high quality of the harvest.
  • Specific care and agro climatic requirements. For successful Mtsvane development, certain conditions are necessary, including careful maintenance and suitable climate. This variety is sensitive to powdery mildew and oidium but has average resistance to phylloxera and is characterized by high frost resistance down to -22°C. Another important factor is ensuring the necessary amount of active temperatures, reaching approximately 3200°C in total, for the complete ripening of grapes.

Thus, Mtsvane occupies a noticeable place not only in agronomy but also in winemaking, demonstrating its unique properties both in the cultivation process and in wine production.

Georgian Wines

Georgian Wines from Mtsvane Grapes

Mtsvane wine holds a special place among the white wines of the country, thanks to its unique aroma and flavor acquired through traditional production methods and the characteristics of the grape variety. Mtsvane is a variety widely cultivated in Kakheti, known for its ideal conditions for grape growing. This variety is distinguished by high yield, intense sugar accumulation, and a characteristic varietal aroma.

Mtsvane wines are crafted using both modern and ancient Kakhetian winemaking techniques. Wines made according to modern standards are distinguished by a light green color and a soft, harmonious taste complemented by rich fruity notes. On the other hand, wines developed according to ancient Kakhetian recipes offer a more intense hue and pleasant taste harmony. Wine production from Mtsvane particularly thrives in places like Akhmeta, Manavi, Ikalto, Ruispire, Napareuli, Saniore, Tsinandali, and Vazisubani, where these beverages enjoy well-deserved popularity and wide recognition.

One of the key factors influencing the unique taste qualities of Georgian wines is the use of qvevri—clay vessels buried in the ground, in which wine ferments and is aged in contact with the pomace. This traditional method allows the wine to maintain maximum purity and flavor richness. This approach to winemaking has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage, emphasizing its uniqueness and antiquity.

Interestingly, in Georgia, it is customary to produce not only classic white wines but also orange (amber) wines, obtained through prolonged contact of the juice with the grape skins and seeds, giving them a unique color and aromatic bouquet. The best of such wines are often found in their historical homeland, and they are easiest to find by visiting a restaurant in Tbilisi. In our restaurant, this variety is present in Tsinandali—a wine that has received international recognition with 10 gold awards at various competitions. Its unique taste is also obtained through aging in oak barrels.

Thus, Georgian wines made from the Mtsvane variety are a true art of winemaking, combining millennia-old traditions and unique natural conditions, making them an exquisite choice for wine connoisseurs worldwide.

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