Region Guide: Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Georgia
Mtskheta-Mtianeti is home to just a handful of wine producers but nevertheless is interesting to keep an eye on, if only for the cool climate influence on some of Georgia's local grape varieties.
It's a large region that starts on the northern edges of Tbilisi and stretches out as far as the Russian border. Growing wine is not easy here, with much of the area too mountainous and too cold for quality wine production. What vineyards there are are usually tucked away on the plains or sheltered in gorgres.
Chinuri is a variety that works well, particularly as a sparkling wine. The region's cooler temperatures ensure plenty of acidity in the grape which in turn provides suitable base wine for a secondary fermentation.
One of the most notable names in Mtskheta-Mtianeti is Iago Bitarsishvilli; he produces a few thousand bottles of Chinuri, an acidic but fragrant variety that seems to offer interesting results when fermented and matured in qvevri.
Recommended Producers: Iago Bitarishvilli