Saperavi, acclaimed as the “ancestor of vines”, is truly the pride of Kakheti. It is distinguished among the 525 varieties of Georgian grapes that are around today. Saperavi is mostly used to make dry red wine. Its dark ruby color lives up to its name (which means “dye” in Georgian), because everything it touches turns a blackish-bluish color, whether it’s the table, the tablecloth, or clothes. It even colors lips dark red! Saperavi is characterized by notes of blackberry, plum, ripe cherries, and is usually full-bodied and tannic.

Saperavi Grapes – History and Character

The Saperavi red wine grape variety’s origin is thought to be from Kakheti, even though there is no documentary evidence to support that claim. Nobody knows when the variety was created or which region it was cultivated in. Scientifically, its richness of variations proves that Saperavi is thousands of years old and was widespread over nearly all of Georgia. 

There is also a theory that Saperavi comes from the eastern shores of the Black Sea – ancient Colchis – and later, passing through Kartli, took root in Kakheti at the end of the 17th century. Scientists base this theory on the botanical markers of the variety such as the thick, down covering on the underside of its leaves.

Scientific winemakers also distinguish between “Mamali Saperavi” and “Dedali Saperavi” in addition to more general categories of large and small. “Ganjuri Saperavi” has also been widespread in Kakheti. The high-yield, high-sugar-content, and intensely colored variety is considered valuable and is not a simple table wine. A red wine made from Saperavi is distinguished by its aroma, color, and strength. It is also used to enhance and color other wines.

Saperavi is known for being resistant to disease and cold. Scientific observations established that only 26% of its buds were damaged at -270C. 

Dishes that Go Well with Saperavi

Wine made from Saperavi grapes, with its intense flavor properties and aromas, pairs well with many dishes, especially, aged cheese, mtsvadi grilled on skewers, steak, and other meat products. It also pairs very well with desserts and fruit.

Saperavi in Folk Medicine

According to ethnographic materials, written sources, and ancient medical manuscripts, grape wine was used as one of the oldest natural healing methods in Georgia. In Georgian folk medicine, wine, both alone and with other ingredients, was used prophylactically, as a stimulant, and to treat many different kinds of diseases.

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