Vellino: Natural Wine from a Youthful Winemaker


Beka Jimsheladze

Young Beka Jimsheladze had a promising career at international consulting firm KMPG, but in 2015 his home village called him to take over the family’s small dry-farmed vineyard on limestone soils in Kakabeti, located 72 km east of Tbilisi in Georgia. He started with 7 ha of vines and just 8 small qvevri, but his all natural (i.e., native ferment, low suphites, unfiltered) wines have been well received internationally in the 13 countries he exports to, and he’s currently building a new winery that will more than double his production.  Beka makes both a rosé and pet-nat from the Tavkeri grape, a low alcohol, fresh tasting Kartli variety that’s perfect for rosé wines, but not widely planted. I visited Beka at the winery a few months ago on my wine tour of Kakheti and left impressed with his wines and his vision for the future.

US Importer: 8000 Vintage Selections

The Wines

Vellino 2022 Pet Nat Tavkveri 90  A very fresh, pretty red fruited sparkler sold mostly at the winery.  Red raspberry with a hint of red cherry on the nose. Lovely red berry fruit on the palate with a touch of juicy fruit gum.  A fun, effervescent wine made from 50 year old Kakabeti grapes grown at about 600m elevation. Pressed directly to qvevri, then bottled so fermentation finishes in the bottle.  RS 2.6 g/L, 12.5% alc.

Vellino 2021 Rkatsiteli Amber 92  Light yellow-amber. This is a very fresh wine in all respects. It’s aromatically bright and fresh with a note of dried peaches.  Dried stone fruit with a very light leather note also shows on the palate. Nice bright acidity.  Sourced from 38 year old grapes grown in alluvial soils. Grapes are fermented on the skins and aged for about 6 months after which it’s racked off to stainless steel or another qvevri. In general Beka does not use stems because it’s difficult to get them ripe. 14% alc.

Vellino 2020 Kisi Amber 92  Crystal clear, medium-light abmer color. Very aromatic, revealing riper notes of dried apricot, light caramel, and dried orange peel.  Dry on the attack and full and almost creamy on the palate with the essence (not sweet) of peach/apricot marmalade.  Finishes with firm tannins and a lingering cognac-like note. Made in qvevri with 4 months on the skins. Beka wants the skins and seeds to be ripe, which may result in higher sugars. This one comes in at 14% alc.

Vellino 2020 Tavkeri Rose 90  Light red. Coaxing aromas of cranberry and red berries that are mirrored on the palate. An easy drinking, softly textured rosé that’s soft on entry. See just 8 hours skin contact.  13.5% alc.

Vellino 2019 Saperavi 93  Opaque with a dense inky nose of dark fruit, cracked pepper, and spice.  Dense very dark plum and black cherry fruit on the palate with a silky attack, incredible purity, and fine firm tannins. Sourced from 50-year-old vines grown on alluvial and limestone soils given four months skin contact in qvevri, then racked off to another qvevri for another 8 months, followed by racking to stainless steel before bottling. 14.5% alc.

Source : https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2024/03/13/vellino-natural-wine-from-a-youthful-winemaker/