Thursday, June 28, 2007

Горькая чаша?

During his recent visit to Sweden, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, was obliged to drink a cup of malice, literally and in terms of Russian foreign policy implementation. Attending a dinner of CBSS-ministers, the wine on the menu was Georgian. It thus seems that Lavrov took this opportunity to enjoy something banned in Russia, in a parallel to US politicians smoking Cuban cigars.

The source is none other than Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, who mentions this on his blog. Apparently, Georgian wine was served for dinner during a boat trip with foreign ministers of the Baltic Sea region, within the context of the CBSS. What Lavrov thought about this, Bildt does not tell, but at least the Swedish schnapps was a hit.

The Swedish wine monopoly, Systembolaget, recently introduced its first Georgian wine - a 2005 Teliani Valley Saperavi, which evidently was the wine enjoyed by the Russian foreign minister. The Saperavi grape is the most common in Georgian wines, which is used for brands like Kindzmarauli and Mukuzani from the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia. The Saperavi grape - often associated with one-year wines - is sweet in taste and often produces high alcohol levels. Besides Georgia, Saperavi is also nowadays to be found in Australian vineyards. Except the Saperavi, other popular grape varieties in Georgian wines are Alexandrouli and Mudzhuretuli, to be found in the famous Khvanchkara wines of Western Georgia.

Which type of Georgian wine Lavrov prefers is unknown, but it is safe to say that he did not - as generations of Russians - venture into any deeper discussion about the qualities of various Georgian wines. Probably he was wise not to, as some Stockholm malice might be better than Moscow's bitter cup, would it be known of Lavrov's wine consumption when abroad.


Anonymous said...

What I want to know is where is all that Georgian wine going now? I don't see any in the British shops. I don't have any trips to Kiev any more to pick it up. In any case, it's increasingly difficult to carry wine when doing air travel thanks to the tiny liquids allowance

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Varske,

Well, I cannot say where all Georgian wine is going these days. In recent years though, Georgian wine producers have been adapting their produce to more European tastes, so it might be that the Georgian wines will be changing their character in the future. As for buying Georgian wines, I usually pick them up while out travelling. That the Swedish wine monopoly has now introduced a Georgian wine is probably not something permanent. Carl Bildt actually claims it was on his initiative - as a result of him phoning the state monopoly. This is then really a matter of ministerial rule, which is outlawed according to the Swedish constitution.



Vilhelm Konnander said...

Apparently, Carl Bildt has been in contact with the Swedish wine monopoly, urging them to order some Georgian wine. At least, that is what he said in an interview on Swedish radio the other week. We will have to see for how long Georgian win will be available in Sweden though.

Tiamsuu said...

Estonia, for example. Many brands, many different prices, very popular. Georgian wines were present, but relatively rare before Russia shut it's market. They're everywhere now.

Vilhelm Konnander said...

Dear Mait,

Well, I don't know about Estonia these days, since I cleared out most shelves with Georgian wines when I was there a few weeks ago. ;)

Actually, you may find really good Georgian wines in all three Baltic states. Strangely enough, it is the supermarkets that carry the greatest variety of wines, while wine stores often almost ignore Georgian wines, probably because they don't think they're posh enough for their clientele.



Torokul Doorov said...

Last week, I had a wonderful evening with my colleagues at the Georgian restaurant in Prague. And there was a Georgian wine. :)))
During my life in Russia (I’ve lived there about six years) I haven't had a good opportunity to enjoy it, but here in Czech Republic we found the great place. Now, I understood - Georgian wine... it's something special!