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Wines from Georgia are probably inspiring the most excitement for a variety of reasons. First there’s the history, which has a mesmerizing frisson of danger: in the last century, the country’s 8000 year long wine culture was threatened due to the success of two high-yielding grapes, Rkatsiteli and Saperavi. Their success meant that many of the estimated 1500 varieties under vine a century ago were removed, explains LA sommelier and Georgian wine nut (previously of Spago and Mazzo Restaurant Group, now a consultant at Whole Cluster Beverage and Hospitality and GM of République) Taylor Parsons.
Noel Brockett, a director at the Maryland-based importer Georgian Wine House, also blames the free market-stymieing effects of communism on the extermination of many indigenous varieties. Luckily in the 21st Century varietal diversity was again championed and supporters of the movement, like the team at the Georgian Wine House, began spreading the gospel of Georgian wine.
In the past five years, but especially the last two, Georgian wine is being recognized by some of the most highly regarded sommeliers in the country.