Chona’s Marani: Clean, Flavorful Traditional Georgian Wines

Mikheil Chonishvili

Chona’s Marani is a small family owned and managed vineyard and winery focusing on traditional qvevri winemaking and organic viticulture in the Georgian wine region of Kakheti. I met with winemaker Mikheil Chonishvili on my trip to eastern Georgia earlier this year.  The winery is undergoing renovations, including the delivery of new qvevri. The Chonishvili family’s 2 hectare vineyard is located in the village of Kurdgelauri in the Tsinandali appellation at an elevation of 550 meters with limestone soils; it’s planted to three grape varieties—Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, and Saperavi. Mikheil’s wines are clean, well made, and delicious.  90% of the 15 thousand bottle production is exported with the US and Germany as the largest markets.

Delivery of New Qvevri

For most Western wine drinkers, Georgian wine is not easy to understand.  Traditionally, the wine is made in large clay pots called qvevri, and white grapes are usually fermented on the skins and sometimes on the stems, resulting in firmer tannins and dried fruit nuances not found in European style white wines.  In addition, the wines are predominantly made from grape varieties indigenous to Georgia.  A couple of these varieties, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi, have made their way into American vineyards, but most of the varieties are entirely unfamiliar to the Western consumer. Chona’s Marani is the perfect place for consumers to begin learning about Georgian wine—the wines are clean (not true of all qvevri wines), well made and reasonably priced. Early next year we will publish a report that goes into detail on the wines of eastern Georgia—the Kakheti and Kartli wine regions.

In addition to making wine, Mikheil is one of six members of the men’s choir Alilo, renowned for its polyphonic, sacred singing.

By European standards, Georgian wines are very reasonably priced. The US importer is the Georgian Wine House.  Look for our full report on Georgian wine in 2024.

The Wines

Chona’s Marani 2022 Chinuri Rkatsiteli Tsinandali PDO 91  Medium gold. Opens with lifted aromas of yellow peach, quince and hints of dried herbs. In the mouth it’s fresh with a full, creamy texture and flavors of fresh and brandied stone fruit. The wine has good depth of fruit at its core. A 60/40 blend of cofermented Chinuri and Rkatsiteli that spends 7 months on the skins without stems. 13% alc.

Chona’s Marani 2022 Mtsvane Tsinandali PDO 91 Medium plus amber color. Rich scents of apricot preserves show on the nose. Suave mouth feel with earthy, savory notes complementing dried apricot and apple flavors. A clean, well-made qvevri wine with dry tannins. 100% Mtsvane fermented 7 months on the skins with no stem inclusion. 14.5% alc.

Chona’s Marani 2022 Mtsvane & Rkatsiteli Tsinandali PDO 90  Medium amber. The bouquet is fragrant with ripe yellow stone fruit notes. The full-bodied palate is rich and layered with fine tannins, a creamy mouthfeel, and flavors of baked apple, dried peach, and quince with a hint of orange oil. Finishes with good length. Spends 7 months on the skins with about half Rkatsiteli stems. 14.5% alc.

Chona’s Marani 2022 Saperavi Mukuzani PDO 91 Semi-opaque purple red. This is a deep, dark Saperavi with intense aromas of huckleberry, black cherry and dark chocolate. It’s silky on the attack with a dense, rich and chewy texture with dark fruit flavors enhanced by notes of currants and cinnamon. Finishes with firm, dry tannins. Ferments on the skins for 6 weeks with no stems and then racked off to another qvevri where it’s aged for one year before bottling. 15% alc. 


Source : https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2023/12/15/chonas-marani-clean-flavorful-traditional-georgian-wines/

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