The validity of the soldier’s story has been debated, but it is a fact that the medieval Arabs conquerors liked the wine made from grape juice in Georgia so much that, despite it being completely incompatible with their faith, they drank it heartily and in great quantities.
Aladasturi vineyards were historically grown in Imereti and Guria Regions, with the majority of plants being in Guria. It is such a strong and resistant vine that it will still give an abundant harvest, even if being untrained, untrimmed and growing on the trees. Many Gurians let them climb the trees, so the way the harvest looks in Guria. sometimes varies from the rest of Georgia and the wine world.
Brave men climbed those trees, carrying a gideli (a wicker basket with a pointed base) tied with ropes to their bodies. After filling the gideli with grapes, they slowly lowered them down on those ropes. The shape of the basket allowed it to avoid trapping in the tree branches on the way down and so letting the harvested grapes fall out. Another reason to let the Aladasturi vine climb high onto trees was proper aeration of the plants and prevention of mildew in such a humid region as Guria.
Nowadays, Aladasturi is grown in classical vineyards and is distinguished for its large harvests. The Aladasturi vintage takes place on the verge of winter, at the end of October or the beginning of November. However, before the wine makes it to your glass, it takes nearly a whole year of work. As they say, “Aladasturi needs more care and protection than a new wife”.
If the winemaker takes good care and pays attention to details, this red wine will have an amazing fruity profile with a hint of pepper.
Aladasturi pairs well with meat products, both fried and boiled, and seafood. In summer, well-chilled Aladasturi rosé goes very well with the local seasonal fruits.
Aladasturi grapes and wine are quite often mentioned in historical sources, verses, poems, songs, folk sayings, proverbs, and contemporary writing. Good job as for the vine that is not growing in every corner of the country!
Aladasturi is better drunk young. It's a joyful, fruit-forward wine that might not benefit from decades of aging, but will definitely gift you a pleasant experience once opened at the age of up to 5 years.