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Nika Parcuanias Marani
at Zaza Gagua Wine Cellar

by
Kathy Sullivan

Nika ParcuaniasSummary: We met Nika Parcuanias, winemaker at the Zaza Gagua Wine Cellar, where he is making wine with the unusual ancient Georgian grape variety Ojaleshi. Nika is an enthusiastic winemaker with a bright future in front of him as he seeks to become a commercial winemaker.

The wine cellar is named Zaza Gagua Wine Cellar and Nika Parcuanias is the winemaker. Nika’s father and grandfather made their living from grapes including: growing grapes, selling grapes and making wine.

Nika ParcuaniasThe Nika Parcuanias Marani at Zaza Gagua is located in the town of Tamakoni in the Samegrelo region of Georgia. Tamakoni village is somewhat isolated with about 50 residents and the entire area including surrounding villages has about 800 residents. Nika has noticed that the young people from the village are leaving the village; however, Nika decided to stay and produce wine. Nika is specializing in the Ojaleshi grape variety, one of the oldest grape varieties in the region.

Nika ParcuaniasWinery

The winery/marani building was constructed in 2012. The outside of this petite-size marani is faced with red brick and stone. An extended roof provides protection from wind and sun. Passing a double wood door with a curved top, guests enter into the small winery where our wine tasting took place.  The inside of the building is efficiently lined with concrete bricks. The building originally had windows but these were covered to reduce the amount of light in the room. Currently Nika is producing 600 liters (1,500-2,000 bottles) of Ojaleshi wines for his family. He currently produces wine in carboys but plans to begin using qvevris. Nika uses only the natural yeast from the grapes.

Nika ParcuaniasVineyards

This region of Georgia is famous for the grape variety Ojaleshi. The Ojaleshi grapes are typically harvested in December when the grapes are at 25 to 26 degrees Brix. Although Ojaleshi ripens late, the wine produced is dry. Currently Nika has small plantings of grapes and plans to add more grapevines of different varieties. The local villagers are supportive of Nika’s endeavors to produce wine. Typically people of the village and surrounding area bring their grapes to the winery for Nika to use. In 2013 two tons of grapes were harvested in the village.

The connection with the village inhabitants was evident before we arrived at the marani. Our driver kept stopping and asking people where the marani was located. Everyone knew of it and told the driver to continue on the road about 2 kilometers. About ten kilometers later we arrived at the wine cellar.

Nika ParcuaniasOjaleshi Wine

The Ojaleshi 2013 we tasted was a dark red. The aroma and taste reminded one of a walk on a forest floor. The wine had tannins and spices. The aftertaste was very spicy. Nika generously provided local walnuts, acorns and other regional foods to enjoy with our tasting of Ojaleshi wine.  He also suggested pairing Ojaleshi wines with steak, beef, cheese, bread and nuts.

Nika ParcuaniasFuture

In the future Nika plans to produce enough wine to become a commercial winery. We look forward to tasting future wines by Nika.

Nika Parcuanias Marani
at Zaza Gagua Wine Cellar
Tamakoni, Samegrelo, Georgia

 

Article Written April 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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