Saperavi

Saperavi is an indigenous Russian red wine grape variety, of the vinifera species. It is particularly useful for the deep colour and structure that it brings as a blending agent, a role to which it is best suited given its shrill acidity. In warmer regions and/or vintages however, it may be made as a straight varietal wine. Needless to say, Saperavi's carapace of acidity and linear marked tannins, demands considerable bottle ageing to soften.

Saperavi is a belated ripener and quite productive. Unusually, the flesh of the grape is not white, but like Alicante Bouschet, dark pink. Saperavi is well suited to cool climates give its Russian pedigree. It is not surprising, therefore, that the variety is planted throughout almost all of the viticultural regions of the former Soviet Union. These include Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Turkmenistan. It is also commonly found in Bulgaria and Crimea where an ingenuous crossing with Cabernet Sauvignon has rendered the promising variety, Magaratch Ruby. In Australia there are experimental plantings of Saperavi in the King Valley and Mount Crawford, in South Australia.

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