Way more fun that harvesting blueberries. That was the thing we all did in the summer where I grew up. I did it once, for like half a day. Not fun. All the grapes we collected would accompany us to the winery we were visiting for stomping and processing.
Lunch was served in the vineyard. There was so much good food. Maybe it's good I don't like in Georgia. I can't even imagine how much I'd weigh if I were eating pork shashlik (pooork!!!!!), some sort of eggplant in yogurt awesomeness, cheeses, potatos, bread, and whatever else was on the table every day.
At Pheasant's Tears the grapes were thrown in a big trough and everyone of the trip took turns stomping the crap out of the grapes. The juice and pulp were collected and taken down to their cellar. Traditional Georgian wine is aged, not in oak or steel, but in large clay vats that are buried in the ground. So that's where we poured the grape juice.
We would head back to the winery later for a traditional supra but in the meantime KMac and I did a little exploring of the small town. Charming.
After a bit of exploring and a small rest we returned to Pheasant's Tears for a wine tasting and supra.
|The garden at Pheasant's Tears|
I cannot now recall how many of their wines we tried, six? Seven? The overwhelming favorite at our table was the very first, the Tsolikauri. I ended up buying three of those (one as a gift for our hosts and one went to my neighbor who was looking after my Sherlock).
In addition to the bottles that we bought in Signagi, KMac and I also bought some wines chosen at random in a Tbilisi shop. I ended up drinking all three of them this past week with a visiting friend who is my Georgian go-to expert. Our overwhelming favorite was the green. Yes, green. Apparently a green wine doesn't mean young, it means it's made out of Rkatsteli and Mtsvani grapes, which both translate as ‘green'. I've been running around a lot lately and could really use a break but I'd jump back on a plane to Tbilisi in a heart beat to buy more of it!
And of course we all had glasses of cha cha, the Georgian version of grappa. Eh. I'm not generally a grappa fan. It's better than ouzo or raki for sure since it's made from grapes (from the leavings of grapes gathered from other wineries actually) and doesn't have the awful anise taste of ouzo and raki...but still. Eh.
After the tasting we moved into the winery's restaurant for a supra. A supra is a traditional Georgian feast. An important part of Georgian culture, supras are held for both festive occasions, and after funerals. The owner, John, served as the Tamada, or toastmaster. According to wikipedia " A successful Tamada must possess great rhetorical skill and be able to consume a large amount of alcohol without showing signs of drunkenness." Which is true as a supra goes on until the last guest departs and toasts are said as long as guests are there.
There was so much amazing food. I love Georgian food. Love, love, love. I could not even keep count of how many open wine bottles made their way to the table during the evening. We were also especially honored to have Zadashe perform for us throughout the evening. Zadashe is a Georgian group that performs traditional dancing and polyphonic music. They were fantastic. KMac and I also bought two of their CDs.
We were some of the last to leave the supra that night. I wish I could have held out longer but we were so tired!
The next day we visited a nearby monastery and church where Saint Nino, possibly the most important saint in Georgian Orthodoxy, is buried. Saint Nino is credited with bringing Christianity to Georgia.
Georgia I miss you already! Have I mentioned that I am currently unemployed? If anyone in Georgia wants to hire me...!