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Vintages of Georgia sing with centuries of tradition

Updated: 2015-07-24 09:03
By Mike Peters (China Daily)

Vintages of Georgia sing with centuries of tradition

Georgia has a long tradition of making wine that traces back 8,000 years. The country has announced initiatives to enhance trade with China, especially of agricultural products, such as wine. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The wonder of this wine starts with the color-a brilliant amber.

Then there's "the nose"-compelling, powerful fragrant. Not quite like anything I've encountered in a wine glass before.

"Eternity of sun living in the bottle," promises the label. I'm not sure what that should taste like, so I take a sip. On the tongue it's as powerful and intriguing as the aroma, but ...

"Cool, huh?" chuckles Fong Yee, watching the crowd of faces at the Georgian wine tasting she's conducting in Beijing. The British-born Chinese wine expert takes a big, succulent slurp from her glass, spits it out in a businesslike way and savors the flavor echoes on her palate.

"Like dried apricots, right?" she prompts. "It's nutty, too-I want to drink this with cheese, or some other big, salty, oily food.

"In the decanter," she sighs, giving the big glass beaker a twirl, "it just gets prettier and prettier."

Georgian wines are hard to get, she says later. "That's such a pity-I'd love to see more of it in China."

She may be about to get her wish.

The Georgia Wine (China) Promotion Center opened this month in China, during a visit by the country's minister of agriculture, Otar Danelia. The minister announced initiatives to enhance trade between the two countries, especially of agricultural products, such as wine.

"Georgia is the cradle of wine, and China is the cradle of tea," he says, commenting on a series of events promoting both beverages, and recent exchanges involving top government officials from both sides. China's agriculture minister visited Georgia in May, signing off on an action plan that includes fairs, tastings and master classes for Georgian wine in China.

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