Wednesday, April 1, 2009

That Georgia's Always On My M-M-M-M-M-Mind

Horton Rkatsiteli 2008 - Virginia

Rkatsiteli is probably the best thing to come out of the former soviet union since Anna Kornikova put on a skirt two sizes too small and picked up a tennis racket.

Rkats-a-what, you say?


It's a grape, a white one, originally from the Republic of Georgia. It's insanely acidic, spicy, and green tasting. And it makes this sensational citrusy wine with notes of green apple and an almost effervescent vibrance to the mouthfeel. There are less than 20 acres of it in the U.S. There are thousands of acres of it in Europe and Asia.

Horton is one of only two or three growers in the U.S. producing a Rkatsiteli wine. When people come to the winery and taste the Rkatz, they know that they are getting something unique and special.

The 2008 Rkatz reaches an exquisite balance of the fruity sweetness and the rich complexity possible with this grape. Back in 2003, they made this thing bone dry, and it was a bit harsh. Suddenly, in 2006, they realized that sweetening it up a little made it fly off the shelves. The RS that vintage was a little over 2%. Then, in 2007 they toned the sugar back down a little, and the spice and citrus really dominated. 2008, due to the exceptional quality of the fruit at harvest, permitted the winemaker to reach a more perfect union of the fruit, minimal residual sugar at around .5%, and the mineral spicy citric notes that really define this varietal.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to try some of this delicious Rkatsiteli, and we savor it every chance we get.

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