Working organically from the start in his small vineyard in Chardahki, Iago Bitarishvili is passionate about preserving the local traditions, and so far has never been even slightly seduced by the charms of new winemaking techniques.
Iago works with only one variety, the late-ripening Chinuri, but he makes two versions of it; one with shell contact and one without. In total, Iago makes about six to ten thousand bottles a year.
Iago is known in Georgia and beyond as the Chinuri whisperer, partly because of his calm and collected appearance, and his ability to make beautiful wine from this difficult grape. In line with the total calm that Iago exudes, he doesn't rush anything either; for the Chinuri with skin contact, the slightly crushed grapes are kept in qvevri on the skins for about six months before being transferred to another qvevri for maturation. When the total fermentation has taken place quietly, the qvevri is sealed with a large flint and a layer of wet clay before maturing, so that the wine can quietly get time with mother earth.
Savory, layered, spicy and earthy, Iago's Orange Chinuri is quintessentially Georgian. Iago's wife, Marina, also makes wine, but in her case not from Chinuri, but from the grape Mtsvane, which gives more fruit and aroma than the spicy and earthy Chinuri.
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