John Wurdeman & Gela Patalishvili – Pheasants Tears, Kakheti

In 2007 when John was painting a landscape on a hill in Kakheti, Gela found him and this was the beginning to a new adventure.

John, born American, moved to Russia as a teenager and has now spent the last 20 years in Georgia. He came here for the music and art, and got so attached to the country and people that he stayed.

That day in 2007 when he was making a piece of art and Gela, who had decided that he needed a voice for the wines he was making, had decided that John was the man for this job and chased him down.

And what an incredible job they’ve done together since they started out together in 2008. Yes, Gela managed to get John onboard after being very convincing (with some wine bribing involved). John has traveled more than all the people we know. Together with chefs, singers and other winemakers, he has practically exported the whole country. 10 years ago you didn’t see Georgian restaurants or Georgian wines all over the hip places, but today, it’s everywhere-and a lot of this is thanks to this fantastic guy!

Back to the wines and vinery: Pheasants Tears is situated in the eastern part of Georgia, Kakheti, and is like a library when it comes to Georgian grape varieties. They farm all their vineyards biodynamically and has vineyards in other areas as well where they’ve found interesting soils and varieties. All to be able to show how fantastic and diverse the Georgian wines can be. All wines are made in the traditional Qvevri, which are buried in the ground for natural temperature control. Not all the whites are made with skin, but a big proportion of them are ‘orange’(or ‘amber’).

 

The wines are vibrant and full of life, with depth, transparency and very unique tastes.

 

2018 Tsolikouri (white)

Soil: Yellow clay, limerock
Grape: Tsolikouri
Area: Imereti
Age of Vines: Planted in 1975
Yields: 20 hl/h
Vinification: Destemmed and direct press with 2-3 hours of skin maceration. Fermentation and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019


2018 Chinuri (orange)

Soil: Sandstone
Grape: Chinuri
Appellation: Kartli
Age of Vines: Planted in 2000
Yields: 15 hl/h

Vinification: 20 % whole bunch and 80% destemmed fermentation with the skins for 6 weeks. After that it was pressed and aged in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


 2018 Mtsvane (orange)

Soil: Riverstone, quartz and brown clay
Grape: Mtsvane
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: Planted in 2011
Yields: 20 hl/h

Vinification: Whole bunch macerated with the skins for 7 months in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


2018 Rkatsiteli (orange)

Soil: Sandstone and quartz
Grape: Rkatsiteli
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: Planted in 1975
Yields: 25 hl/h

Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 6 months in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


2016/2018 Saperavi (red)

Soil: Sandstone and quartz
Grape: Saperavi
Appellation: Kakheti
Age of Vines: Planted in 2000-2002
Yields: 25 hl/h

Vinification: 80% destemmed (crushed), 20% wholebunch (not crushed) maceration with the skins for 5 days in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


2016 Tavkveri (red)

Soil: Sandstone
Grape: Tavkvevri
Appellation: Kartli
Age of Vines: Planted in 2000
Yields: 25 hl/h
Vinification: Destemmed and macerated with the skins for 7 days in qvevri before pressing and ageing in qvevri. Bottled in May 2019.


Chacha (or Georgian breakfast)

Skins and wine (so this is a mix between marc and fine) that’s left in the qvevri after racking was single distilled in a 150 liter copper pot still heated by woodfire. Both head and tail taken away, so high viscosity and intense flavors. Aged for 3 years in old oak barrels.