|Color of berry skin||Black|
|Also called||See list of synonyms|
Saperavi (Georgian: საფერავი; literally "paint, dye" - due to its intensive dark-red colour) is an acidic, teinturier-type grape variety native to Georgia, where it is used to make many of the region's distinctive wines, along with the Alexandreuli and Rkatsiteli varieties. Leaves are 3-lobed, large, and roundish. Berries are medium to large, elliptic, dark bluish, and thin-skinned; with a maturation period of approximately 5 months and moderate productivity.
Saperavi is also the name for a red wine made from the Saperavi grape variety grown in some areas of Kakheti. It is an extractive wine with a characteristic bouquet, a harmonious taste and pleasant astringency. Its strength is 10.5-12.5% and titrated acidity 5-7%. At the international wine competitions this wine received one gold and one silver medal. It has been produced since 1886. Saperavi grapes produce substantial deep red wines that are suitable for extended aging (perhaps up to fifty years). It has the potential to produce high alcohol levels, and is used extensively for blending with other lesser varieties. It is the most important grape variety used to make Georgian red wines.
Saperavi is a hardy variety, known for its ability to handle extremely cold weather; and is popular for growing in high altitude and inland regions. It is a teinturier grape, containing the red anthrocyanin within the grape pulp as well as the skin; and is unusual in being one of very few such grapes used in single-varietal winemaking (most are used in small amounts, strictly for blending).
The Saperavi grape originated in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia and now is spread throughout its entire territory (Kakheti, Saingilo, Kartli, Shavshet-Klardjeti, Imereti, Guria, Racha and Lechkhumi). Georgia is known as one of the oldest winemaking regions of the world, with archeological research showing evidence of cultivation dating to 6000-5000 BC. The Saperavi variety is one of the oldest cultivars from the region, and has consistently been the most important in Georgia's commercial winemaking industry.
Saperavi grapes are used predominantly in Georgia, but have spread to other regions of Eastern Europe more recently. Saperavi cultivars are also being grown in New World wine regions; notably in Finger Lakes, New York area vineyards. It has shown promising results for a few growers in Australia, where it was pioneered in the King Valley Region of North East Victoria.
Notable Georgian wines made exclusively or predominately with Saperavi grapes:
- Saperavi; a semi-sweet wine to dry wine, aged for 1 year, produced in multiple regions. One of the most common wines made from this grape, not specific to any region.
- Kindzmarauli; a semi-sweet wine, aged for 2 years, produced in the Kvareli region. Grapes are harvested later than for most other wines made from Saperavi.
- Akhasheni; a semi-sweet wine similar to Kindzmarauli, produced in the Gurdzhaani region.
- Mukuzani; a dry wine, aged for 3 years, produced in the Mukuzani region. It is sourced from the best of the local vintages; and is considered the best of the Georgian wines.
- Alazani; a light semi-sweet wine, produced in the Alazani region. A blend of 60% Saperavi and 40% Rkatsiteli. The warmer climate produces sweeter grapes than other regions.
Saperavi is also known under the synonyms Didi Saperavi, Kleinberiger, Nerki Khagog, Patara Saperavi, Saparavi, Sapeavi De Kakhetie, Saperaibi, Saperavi de Kachet, Saperavi de Kakhetie, Saperavi Patara, Sapeur, Sapperavi, Sapperavy, Scoperawi, and Szaperavi.
- Jancis Robinson, ed. (2006). "Teinturier". Oxford Companion to Wine (Third Edition ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 688–689. ISBN 0-19-860990-6.
- "8,000-year-old wine unearthed in Georgia". The Independent. Retrieved 2003-12-28.
- World's Earliest Wine. Archeology, vol. 49 (1996), Retrieved 24 February 2004.
- "Apéritif - Anthony J. Hawkins WINEGRAPE GLOSSARY". aperitif.no. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- "Saperavi". Vitis International Variety Catalogue. Retrieved 2010-01-29.