The Wonders of Georgian Wine Discovered

Belgium and Germany may be known for their beer, Scotland for its whiskey, and Mexico for tequila. In Georgia, however, this is the country for wine (and in my opinion, ahead of Spain, Italy, and France!). During my previous visits, I've had a fair amount of Georgian wine from a variety of different locations, both homemade and from shops, and it was pretty consistently enjoyable to drink. But just one month ago, I was introduced to a place that would change my life forever and take my experience of Georgian wine to another level I did not yet know existed.

It all happened when a newly made Russian friend at my hostel said he'd heard of this wine shop called Wine Gallery that was supposed to be the best in Tbilisi and was going to go check it out. Intrigued, I opted to join. After exiting the hostel, we walked about 30 minutes, crossing the river to the other side of the city in the process, and eventually reached a quiet, secluded side street. And there it was. Decorated in an ornate fashion with red awnings, the store stood with its name embroiled in Georgian, English and Russian. The exterior was welcoming, not too flashy, and had a staircase leading down to the entrance. I then descended, pushed open the door... and what I saw absolutely blew my mind.

Decorated in medieval suits of armor, traditional Georgian drinking horns, wine distilleries, and baroque furniture, it looked as if it were some sort of royal chamber. The lady at the front greeted us, holding back a laugh upon seeing the look of extreme awe on our faces. She asked if we would like to taste some, to which I said yes (with far too much volume and urgency than perhaps necessary).

She handed me a glass of dry red (unfortunately due to my lack of wine knowledge, I cannot give further information). Eagerly I took a sip... and by that I mean I drank the whole thing, and was instantly swept away by the rich, savory, soothing taste. It was as if a new door in the house of wine had just opened for me for the very first time. Noticing my enjoyment, the woman handed me another, saying that this one was semi-sweet. Again, I drank it, and again, I was transported to a magical world of taste-bud sensation, but this time, it was like a delicious dessert. I felt like a kid in a candy store, only now as an adult, the candy was alcohol.

My decision was made. I was getting a liter of both and there was nothing my microscopic bank account sum could do to stop me. I placed my order, waiting to hear the damage... but it turns out there was none. The price for each was just 9 GEL (3 Euro/$3.50). The cashier said they had more expensive wines that weren't for sampling, but I was quite content with my commoner's purchase. She then filled up two plastic water bottles with my wines and then handed them to me. I accepted my coveted relics, said my thanks and exited.

Upon leaving, I vowed to eventually return... which I did a couple days later... and several more times since. And I will several times more!

By Billy Martinsky

07 June 2018 16:50