Château Mukhrani: A French Chateau in Georgia

Château Mukhrani, located in Kartli 50 km northwest of Tbilisi, began its winemaking operations in the 19th century inspired by Bordeaux.  While the ownership has changed, the French inspiration remains with a state of the art, European style winery, a beautifully renovated 19th century château that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Loire Valley, and even a winemaker hired away from Bordeaux. Today the focus is on Georgian rather than French grape varieties, but the winemaking is modern with more stainless steel tanks and French oak barrels than qvevris. Georgian wine expert Lisa Granik MW says “European influence….is in the DNA of the estate.”  I visited them a few months ago and tasted wines both at the château and the tasting room at Maidan Square in Tbilisi.  Read my reviews below.

Patrick Honnef (r) and the author (l)

In 2002, a group of investors decided to renovate the abandoned château, replant 102 hectares of vines, and build a state-of-the-art winery.  The organically cultivated, estate vineyard now provides all the grapes, and almost all the fermentations are done with native yeast. The typical Georgian varieties—Rkasiteli, Saperavi, etc.—are grown, but they also grow Goruli Mtsvane, and they are the country’s largest grower of Kartli’s Shavkapito grape.

Since 2014, the winemaker at Château Mukhrani is German-trained Patrick Honnef who spent a decade making wine at Bordeaux’s Château d’Aiguilhe with Stepháne Derenoncourt.  While he makes some wine in qvevri, his principal focus is using Georgian varieties to make elegant wines in the European style. [the author and Patrick shown here]

Château Mukhrani dates from the 12th century, but its winemaking history begins in 1875 when Prince Ivane Mukhranbatoni traveled to Bordeaux and was inspired to plant a vineyard with French (and Georgian) varieties and build a large winery. French architects designed the château, and a gardener from Versailles designed the garden. The property was abandoned after phylloxera arrived in the early 20th century, and it remained unoccupied during the Soviet occupation.  Today, the château has been beautifully (and expensively) restored and is a major tourist attraction.

A large number of wines are made by the Mukhrani.   Below, I report on only a few. Our upcoming report on the Wines of Georgia will include additional wines. For those new to Georgian wines, most of the grape varieties will also be new. They will be discussed in detail in the forthcoming report. Meanwhile, those wanting to learn more about Georgian grape varieties should go to or read Lisa Granik’s excellent book The Wines of Georgia.

 US Importer:  Georgian Wine House


The Wines

Chateau Mukhrani 2021 Chinebuli Kartli  91 Pale platinum straw. This wine has excellent market potential. It’s very fresh, easy drinking and low in alcohol. The bouquet shows citrus and floral notes, while the fruit-rich palate is suave with a mineral-like note. All Chinebuli sourced from estate vineyards at 520-605m altitude; fermented in a combination of concrete egg (9%), oak (26%) and stainless steel (65%) with 4 months’ battonage.  pH 3.59 Just 11.5% alc!

Chateau Mukhrani 2020 Rkatsiteli Superieur Kartli 90 Spicy bouquet showing citrus and whiff of white pepper. Medium weight, balanced palate showing good freshness and tropical citrus notes. Racked off the gross lees and then aged with battonage for 11 months in stainless steel. No skin contact and no stems. 12% alc.

Chateau Mukhrani 2019 Coleccion Secrete Kartli 90 Showing fresh, citrus like scents, this is an easy drinking wine, crisp, fresh and light in style. There’s good depth of flavor and a sense of minerality on the finish. A blend of Georgian and French varieties: 20% Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and 80% Rakatsiteli and Goruli Mtsvane fermented in 90% stainless steel, 6% qvevri and 4% French oak barrels.

Chateau Mukhrani 2019 Goruli Mtsvane Reserve Royale Kartli  92 Light yellow straw. Sumptuous nose of honeyed fruit complemented by light toasty oak notes. This wine made from Goruli Mtsvane has a creamy, layered texture, almost honeyed but not sweet with complex flavors and perfect integration of oak. Patrick says hot nights in Kartli is a problem for retaining acidity, but this wine is well balanced. Fermented in oak casks and then matured in 80% oak (400L) and 20% stainless steel. 12.5% alc.

Chateau Mukhrani 2018 Qvevri White Kartli 93 This wine made of cofermented Rktasiteli (60%) and Goruli Mtsvane (40%)  with a touch of Chinuri is the perfect introduction to qvevri wine. Yellow gold in color, it offers a fresh nose of honeyed peach with floral notes (from the Goruli Mtsvane) and a beautiful creamy, flavor-rich palate with good acidity. Fermented on the skins but no stems for 6 months in qvevri and then racked to stainless steel and qvevri. A beautiful wine! pH 3.73, 12.5% alc.

Chateau Mukhrani 2018 Coleccion Secrete Kartli 93 Medium dark ruby red. This is a big, almost chewy wine, yet the mouth feel is quite refined. It’s packed with dark red fruit with dark rose petal notes. Finishes long with firm tannins. A Saperavi (50%) led blend with Cabernet Sauvignon (25%), Syrah (17%), and Petit Verdot (8%) fermented and aged in oak (94%) and clay amphora (6%) for 15 months; 10% new oak. The Saperavi and Cabernet are co-fermented as are the Syrah and Petit Verdot. pH 3.78, 13.5% alc.

Chateau Mukhrani 2015 Saperavi Reserve Royale Kartli 94 This is a big, well-oaked Saperavi that manages to avoid being dominated by oak aromas and flavors. Dark berries, slate like minerals, bitter chocolate, and a hint of leather show on the nose and palate. Gorgeous silky texture with firm, round tannins. All Saperavi from a vineyard of limestone soils fermented in stainless steel and matured 109 months in 85% new French oak. A big wine that is best consumed well-aged. pH 3.4, 13.5% alc.

Chateau Mukhrani 2018 Shavkapito Reserve Royale Kartli 94 Our favorite wine from Chateau Mukhrani made from the Shavkapito grape grown in the oldest vineyard with the most limestone. Pure, starbright carmine red with dark red fruit and a hint of smoky oak on the nose. Excellent depth of red and black berries and dark cherry skin on a silky, firmly structured palate. Overall, refined and elegant. A vineyard selection aged in 18 months in large barrels, 57% of which are new. pH 3.83, 13% alc.

Don Winkler, Co-Publisher and Editor

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