‘Schuchmann Saperavi, Red Dry’ Wine Review by Larisa Code

Wine of the Month
Larisa Code

Note: Create joy, one sip at a time. 
Featured Wine: Schuchmann Saperavi, Red Dry
Grape Variety: 100% Saperavi
Production Zone: Kakheti, Georgia
Vintage: 2018
Color: Ruby Red
Price: Under $20
When I heard about a German man who purchased a winery in Georgia and went about creating an incredibly sustainable vineyard, I was intrigued. But, to be honest, I was intrigued before that when I saw the label, Schuchmann Saperavi; it seemed odd and I thought, are they growing the Saperavi (a native Georgian grape) in Germany now? But then I put on my glasses and saw that no, this very German sounding wine is produced in the country of Georgia.
Georgia, (located between Turkey and Russia), is a country drenched in 8000 years of wine making history. Leave it to a German philanthrope, Burkhard Schuchmann, to scoop up a gorgeous vineyard in Georgia. Why philanthrope? Well, it seems that Schumann had a plan, and it’s a good plan. He bought the vineyard in 2008 and immediately began his philanthropic work. He went with socially responsible, environmentally friendly farming. He is ensuring that the future farmers have opportunity to grow, in the same capability as the present farmers. He does this by maintaining and fostering the landscape using resources (air, ground water) in amounts no greater than the ability for regeneration, as well as avoiding harm to the natural eco-systems. Schuchmann did not do this alone. He hired Dr. Giorgi Dakishvili to consult and if you don’t know him, that’s alright; I don’t know him either, but he is considered the best wine maker in all of Georgia. Under guidance from Dakishvili they pair up the grapes to the soil, to the sun exposure, to the wind exposure, allowing for the grapes to thrive and creating low risk for disease. 

Two thirds of Schuchmann’s vineyard are dedicated to the Saperavi (meaning dye) grape. That makes sense since Saperavi is the leading grape in all of Georgia. (Remember, it is native to Georgia). 
There are two labels produced on this vineyard. The Schuchmann label uses more modern techniques, aging the wine in stainless steel for the majority of the time and then briefly transferring the wine to French oak.  

The Saperavi grape is considered to be a full-bodied grape and this wine is to me a very strong medium-bodied or light full-bodied pour. This wine needs to breathe and as I mentioned with last month’s wine, a chill on it does it justice. Again, an hour(ish) of chill in the refrigerator benefits you, the drinker. But if that is not your thing, expect a lot more oak on the nose as well as the palate.

The nose is full of earth, leather, cherry, raisins and dried plum. Once you take a sip, your palate will be full of dry earth, then you will be greeted with chewy and powerful dried plums, raisins, blueberry and a little bit of licorice and cinnamon; honestly, every time I taste the finish, I am questioning myself, “Is that licorice?” “Is that cinnamon?” But I do taste each, though very subtly. The acidity is low, the finish is long, and it ends in minerality and tart plum.
I paired this wine with a super Italian dinner via the grill. I’m talking rib-eye steaks covered in crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper (does anybody really ever need anything more?), salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing and Calabrian Pipi e Patate. Sincerely, this wine would do fine with the potatoes and salad alone, but the steak is nice too. You, the reader, can get ideas based on my theme, which here entails garlic and salt; both are highly recommended when you drink this wine.
Definitely drink this wine with food. Yes, it is shippable, but not a lot of it. This wine is a Cognac of wines, slowly sip it; deep and slow. Breathe this wine in, embrace the nose; let this wine set on your tongue and pick up all of its nuances; enjoy this wine. Me personally, I can only enjoy this wine with food and I can only enjoy a little bit. This is not the kind of wine where you are thinking “Just another splash.” No, this is a wine that is very good, that is well rounded and complex but has a certain sort of palate that doesn’t make you want to have another glass after your meal.
And I would like to welcome Spring. Hello Spring, I’d like to pair you with Schuchmann Saperavi. May my readers be blessed with something blooming from your garden. Please, cut a few sprigs, even if solo, and set a vase on your table. And how about a little Stevie Ray Vaughn, remember him? He was amazing and his music, much like Spring weather, gives me butterflies. This is a fascinating wine and the winery, too, looks like an amazing place to visit. Even if you don’t love it, you should try it, it is interesting and worth it.