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To call Alexi Tsikhelishvili’s little garden estate a winery is an exaggeration. In the tiny village of Alvani, near the somewhat larger provincial nest Telavi, northeast of the capital Tbilisi (Tbilisi), you can find the pretty tree-lined garden Alexis on a leading village street behind a green tin gate. A family home, quite nice and well maintained. Still no sign of a winery. In the small extension you can see the few »Kvevris«, burned amphorae made of lime-clay clay buried in the clay soil. The standard amphora of the natural wine producers concentrated in this region has a capacity of 2000 liters. At Alexi, the buried amphorae (natural cooling and literally grounded wines) are much smaller, because there are only 2000 bottles of total production per year with its three varietal wines! According to the great Georgian amphora natural wine scene, with its uncrowned King John Wurdeman V. at the top, this enormously lovable elderly gentleman makes the rarest and best wines of this variety. The red grape variety Jgia, which swings back and forth somewhere between Pinot Noir, ultra-fine Barolo, Chateauneuf du Pape and Madeira, is said to have only Alexi. The white Rkatsiteli is the queen of Georgia’s white natural wines. The white wine is destemmed and then fermented on the skins and often left for up to eight months. Rarely are the shells removed after 1–3 months. After that, the bottle is usually filled directly and there is a bottle storage for up to two years before the sale.


Chateau Tsikhelishvili

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