The origins of winemaking can be traced back to Georgia, the little country lying between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains where wine has been made for the past eight thousand years. Their ancient method, still in use today, is to ferment the grapes, along with their stalks, skins and pips, in large, handmade terracotta vessels known as qvevri that are buried in the ground for natural temperature control. The resulting tannins are high in antioxidants, acting as nature’s preservative for the wine.
Spice Route’s qvevri wine has been made in these same containers, hand-crafted in Georgia and carefully shipped across the world. Our winemaker, Charl du Plessis,makes this delicious wine in the same ancient style that he learned in Georgia,using only naturally-present wild yeasts and minimal intervention.
Enjoy this natural expression of the grapes and consume within two days of opening.
The dry-farmed, organically grown Sémillon grapes were destalked and gently crushed into two Qvevri, with natural fermentation starting spontaneously after three to five days. Fermentation lasted for approximately 14 days, during which time the cap was punched down with a special wooden tool four times a day. Once fermentation was complete, the wine was left on the skins for a further six weeks, still receiving gentle daily punch downs. This maturation on the skins helps in the extraction of tannins and gives the wine its unique characteristics and amber hue. While the Georgians are known to give their white wines as much as six months of skin contact, we opted to take a more conservative approach with our inaugural vintage of OBSCURA. With no additives or adjustments made, the tannins aid in preserving the wine, acting as a natural alternative to SO 2 .
Following six weeks on the skins, the free run juice was separated. With sufficient tannin already present in the wine, no additional pressing of the skins was needed. The Qvevri were then refilled with the wine (now without skins) and aged for a further six months, during which time the wine naturally clarified with the aid of gravity. Due to the sheer uniqueness of the Sémillon and how well it responded to its time in Qvevri, we decided to bottle one Qvevri of the Sémillon as a varietal wine rather than adding it to our OBSCURA white blend.
A golden amber hue in the glass with notes of peach, spices and gooseberries. A rounded palate with linear tannins and hints of fresh peas.”