After two days of exploring the gorgeous Kakheti wine region of Georgia, my final adventure in the area started in the town of Kvareli, located in the Alazani Valley. Come with me as I go wine-hopping and try more amazing Georgian food in Alazani Valley, Georgia!
Our wine-hopping tour of the Alazani Valley began at Winery Khareba, the largest winery in the country. They own multiple vineyards and wineries throughout Georgia and grow 25 organic grape varieties. It’s unique because they have an underground tunnel system made up of 15 tunnels, totaling 8 kilometers in length!
To go on a basic tour of the winery, it only costs GEL 5, or $1.75 USD. If you want to drink, two glasses of European-style wine, it costs GEL 12, or $4 USD. Finally, if you’d like to drink Georgian wines, it costs GEL 15, or $5 USD. You can add additional glasses of wine for 6-7 GEL each.
I met Miriam, who told me about the winery. They have over 26,000 bottles of wine stored in this area! Overhead, they also have glass wine pipes that were used for wine transportation. Then, I got to see an example of the rock they had to cut into to make the tunnels.
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Next, I saw some 225-L French oak barrels and the traditional wines they age in them. On the walls, you can see the awards they’ve won! They also have some long tasting rooms with gorgeous tables, and I got to see the tools they used to stir the wine in the underground clay pots.
Here, we’d have a tasting that included the winery’s own grapeseed oil, 2018 Khikhvi dry white wine, and Monastery Qvevri Kisi dry white wine. The Monastery Qvevri Kisi was dry and light and made using European technology. The Khareba Khikhvi is the same type of wine, made in Georgian clay pots. It was stronger and had a more robust flavor!
It was my favorite wine of the trip so far! Next was some grapeseed oil with bread and cheese. It was a thick oil and the cheese and bread help coat your stomach while drinking.
The Monastery Saperavi Dry Red reminded me of syrah and was strong and bold. It would go well with a nice steak! The Khareba Saperavi 2017 was also excellent!
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Then, Tim and I drove about an hour to Telavi, where we’d be staying the night. I was hoping to visit a small, family-owned winery.
Our next stop was Bardanashvili’s Marani, which has vines that are over 80 years old. It felt like a small family farm. There were chickens running around and a dog. Next to the vines are the kvevri, or underground clay pots where they make the wine!
The owner says the kvevri were put in place over 100 years ago and the house was built around them. After the wines ferment in the kvevri ferment for 6 months, they’re transferred to the stainless steel tanks.
We tried Rkatsiteli dry white (most common Georgian white wine), a 4-grape Rose blend, and a Kisi amber. The Rkatsileti was light and dry. I tried some cheese between wines. The Kisi amber reminded me of Italian farmhouse wine, and the rose was young and had an amazing mix of flavor. You can’t feel the alcohol in them!
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Next was some 5-year chacha aged in an oak barrel. It was my favorite chacha of the trip so far! It’s 70% alcohol! He gave me some to take with me! The owner was so kind!
Our final stop was Marani Milorauli, which is another family home winery. They have a small guesthouse. One of their 100+-year-old vines died earlier in the year. Their wine kvevri room was built in 2015 and their kvevri setup is more refined.
In their cellar, the wine aroma hit me immediately. They have tons of bottles stored there and stainless steel tanks. They bottle 8 different wines and prepare wine from European grapes using Georgian technology.
The Khikhvi white wine was fruity and juice-like, while their Montepulciano is made with Italian grapes. The clay pots change the flavor and complexity of the wine! The Saperavi red was also delicious and fruity!
Next, we drove to Qilimcha’s Guesthouse, which has four rooms and a rooftop terrace. It’s very rustic, and like other homes in the area, they have their own vines. There are also lots of wines.
They have a cool, funky lobby area with a map of Georgia, a nice place to relax, and more. I had a minimalistic room with a queen-sized bed and a twin bed. The whole guesthouse is funky and contains items from all eras of history including old cameras, vinyl records, guitars, and more.
Then, I saw the owner’s craft workshop and then headed up to the terrace atop their tower. It was time to enjoy some Georgian wine country food in the Alazani Valley of Georgia. We had 8 different dishes, including a whole chicken, potatoes, beans, cheese, melon, corn, fish, bread, watermelon, and corn patties. We also had chacha!
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The beans were earthy and a little sweet. I also loved the corn fritter with cheese (mchadi), and the chacha was really strong! The roasted potatoes with dill were soft and tasty, and I tried a hot pepper that wasn’t too hot.
The chicken with plum sauce was sweet and savory, and the wine was nice and young. Their trout was buttery and flaky, and I loved the corn on the cob. I couldn’t get enough of the homemade food and the amazing family!
I hope you liked coming with me to try Georgian wine country food in the Alazani Valley of Georgia! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave me a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my upcoming travel/food adventures!