Wines made from the same variety
takes up the largest scope in Kakheti and provides high quality production for making European and Kakhetian type white table wines as well as strong and dessert wines. It is also a good source of table grape for local consumption.
In the literature about viticulture, and among native viticulturists, Rkatsiteli is known by many other names, depending on the districts where it is grown. Sometimes, these names emanate from different variations of Rkatsiteli. For example, in Kakheti in the past, many other versions could be distinguished- in addition to the real Saperavi, there were several other forms: the female and male (L. Jorjadze, 7), the yellow and red (S. Cholokashvili, 5); in Saingilo Saperavi was known as Kukura (V. Geevski and G. Shareri, 12), in Russia, in the area of Orjonikidze – in the district Levokumi, it was known by the names Tipolioki and Gruzinski, while in the district Budionovski – as Korolioki and Budeshuri (T. Orlova, 1940); In foreign ampelographic works can be found Rkatsiteli Gelb (H. Goete, 1887), Rkatsiteli (Guioni, 1896), and Rkatsiteli Gialo (Viala and Vermoreli, 1901-1910).
Rkatsiteli is the native grapevine species of Kakheti. It originates from the domesticated species of the Alazani valley.
By its morphological and agricultural features it belongs to the ecological-geographical group of prol. pontica, sub prol. georgica Negr. (13). Generally, Rkatsiteli is close to the majority of other grapevine species which are represented in Alazani valley.
The local origin of Rkatsiteli is also proved by other points. In ancient times, Rkatsiteli was called Kukura. This fact is mentioned in the works of V. Geevski and G. Shareri (12): “its old name Kukura is originated from the village Kakhi (Zakatala district).” It is clear that the name Kukura is used as distorted version in the works of V. Geevski and G. Shareri- a characteristic tendency for other works of that time, because if it came from Kakhi (or Kaki), it would be turned either into the name Kakhura or Kakura, not to Kukura. This is affirmed also by many other propositions and opinions. The investigations conducted by the Institute of Viticulture and Enology have revealed that in Saingilo, particularly in the village of Kakhi, there are nowadays many vineyards of old Rkatsiteli (about 200 ha). The harmonious development of Rkatsiteli and its originality are astonishing.
Therefore, the place of Rkatsiteli’s genesis is obvious, however the time is not known, as historical accounts earlier than the 13th century are not available. This is why academician Iv. Javakhishvili (6) considers the time of Rkatsiteli’s origin as the first five plus centuries, based on linguistic analysis. By its morphological and biological features, Rkatsiteli has to be classified as the representative of a new species. This is indicated by the novelty of its morphological features (lightly covered – nearly even leaves, oval berries, white coloring and other details); the scarcity of its hybrids (apart from the pink Rkatsiteli there are no other significantly different variations found anywhere); and the similarity of self-pollinated rootstocks to their mother saplings. Based on all of this information, Rkatsiteli should be considered as a younger grapevine than Saperavi.
Rkatsiteli is represented in nearly all viticulture regions of the Soviet Union, but more widely so in Kakheti, where it takes up 13ha i.e. 75% of the whole dedicated land. According to the 1953 vineyard description, Rkatsiteli takes up 16 ha land-scope totally in Georgia; 30% of Georgian vineyards. In relation to its given scope, it is the first not only in Georgia but also in the Soviet Union where, at the end of 1940, 15,000 ha was dedicated to Rkatsiteli. A more detailed description of Rkatsiteli’s distribution in Georgian regions is shown in Table 1.
As Table 1 indicates, Rkatsiteli is more widely cultivated in Kakheti, followed by Bolnisi-Marneuli, Kartli and comparatively less so in Imereti and Racha-Lechkhumi.
Rkatsiteli is the universal vine for Eastern Georgia; found in nearly all regions and districts within regions, as Tsolikouri is characteristic for nearly all regions of the Western Georgia.
Aside from Georgia, Rkatsiteli is quite widely distributed in its neighboring republics – in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan. In Azerbaijan, Rkatsiteli is mostly cultivated in the districts of Aghstafi, Zakatala, Kakhi, Shamkori, and Tauzi, which are located on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border. In Saingilo – in the districts of Zakatala and Kakhi – 300ha is dedicated to Rkatsiteli. By 1940, about 708-733 ha was dedicated to Rkatsiteli in entire Azerbaijan.
Rkatsiteli is less distributed in Armenia. Old vineyards of un-grafted Rkatsiteli can be found in the districts of Alaverdi, Kafani and Shamshadini. New vineyards are cultivated mostly on Ararati Soviet farms. According to 1940 data, the total land-scope given to Rkatsiteli was defined as 110,3ha in Armenia. After accomplishing the current plan of vineyard development, the land area dedicated to Rkatsiteli there will exceed 500ha.
In Dagestan, Rkatsiteli is cultivated mostly in the Darubandi district, at about 48ha, and also in Makhachkala district on 10ha.
In Uzbekistan, Rkatsiteli is less distributed, mostly on the Soviet farms. According to 1940 data, Rkatsiteli occupied 16ha of vineyards on Uzbekistan Soviet farms, and was also found in the Ak-Kovaki center as small vineyards. The total scope of Rkatsiteli vineyards in Uzbekistan consists of 25ha.
In Russia, Rkatsiteli is mostly cultivated in the area of Orjonikidze – in Budionovski, Levokumski, and Chervlionski districts, taking up about 29.2ha. In Done and Kirimi, Rkatsiteli is found in expositional vineyards.
Therefore, outside of Georgia, Rkatsiteli takes up more than 1000ha- allocated in the following way, in relation to particular viticulture districts (see Table 2).
During the last years, about 5000ha new vineyards of Rkatsiteli have been cultivated in Moldova.
Therefore, according to 1940 data, the scope of Rkatsiteli vineyards in the Soviet Union was defined as 15,000ha, and, by its scope, this is also the first grapevine distributed nowadays in the Soviet Union.
Such wide cultivation of Rkatsiteli is determined by its high level of harvesting, production quality and the good adaptation abilities in natural conditions. These characteristics have made Rkatsiteli a generally praised and wide distributed species. Rkatsiteli is included in the standard assortment of grapevine species in Georgian regions as well as in the republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kirgistan, Daghestan, and in Krasnodari.
According to the economic board decree, 10,000ha of vineyards of Rkatsiteli is expected to be cultivated that will add to the current 25,000ha together with the existing vineyards.
Rkatsiteli belongs to an especially high quality species by its high agro-technological characteristics.
The botanical description of Rkatsiteli was made in the Testing Station of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of the village of Vazisubani (Gurjaani district). The vineyard is cultivated on a lightly declining slope of the Tsiv-Gombori rock at 565m above sea level, is 30 years old and is grafted on Berlandieri X Riparia 420a, formed as an alley.
The young shoot. The tip of the young developing shoot is, along with the crown and two leaf buds, covered with quite thick web-like hair, is greyish-white colored with slightly pink edges. The leaves of the second row are relatively less covered, especially on the top. These leaves are greenish-yellow and bright bronze colored, while on the lower part are grayish-white with a pink tone. The young shoot is dark wine colored.
The one year sprout. One year sprouts grow more thinly than normal. During the autumn they are reddish-brown. The distance between the axils is about 7.5 -12cm. The axils are darker than the space between them.
The leaf. The leaves of a middle row (9-12) are roundish, dark green and of medium size (19x18cm), mostly three-lobed but rarely five-lobed or un-lobed (complete blades) can also be found. The blade of a leaf is web-like, sometimes taking the shape of a funnel.
The upper cut areas are often of a middle depth, but are often quite deep. The deep incisions are closed and oval, while the shallow incisions are open. Most often, lyre-shaped incisions of average depth can be found, more rarely –incisions with parallel sides. The basis of a cutting area sometimes has one tooth.
Lower incisions are less developed and more shallow. By the shape they are similar to gaps with parallel sides or like a sharply cut angle.
The incision of a petiole is deep, similar to a lyre or a stretched arrow, with a basis that is often sharp or roundish.
The end tooth of the major veins of leaves is often triangular and has a sharp tip. Lateral teeth are triangular and like saw teeth and are convex on one side.
The underside of leaves is covered with web-like hairs across the veins and bumps; more intensively on the leaves of the lower row. When touched, the web-like hairs become similar to flakes.
Generally, the leaf petioles are lower than the major vein, rarely equal, and are covered with a red wine colored surface and green lines.
The flower. The flower has a normal construction, is hermaphroditic, and has well developed stamens and pistil. There are often five, or rarely six stamens. The length of stamens' thread in relation to the height of the pistil is 1.0 and rarely 1.12. The pistil is cone-shaped, having a well developed column and nose, and sometimes deviates to one side.
The bunch. The bunches of Rkatsiteli are mostly of a medium size, from 12 to 24 cm long and from 5 to 12 cm wide. The size of a medium bunch is 16x8cm while the length of a well developed bunch is 22cm, with a width of 10cm. They are mostly cylindrical-cone and cylindrical, though rarely cone shaped bunches can be found. The length of the bunch's arm is often 2/3 of the bunch's size. Sometimes it begins from the bunch's pedicel and is characterized with two sides. Most commonly, the bunches are quite solid, rarely being very solid or spaced. The average weight of a bunch is 160-200g, while of very dense bunches is 300-400g. As a rule, the bunches are complemented with small seedless berries, which make up about 5-10% and sometimes more – 25%. The petiole of a bunch is 3-5cm long. At the time of grape ripening it becomes hard, like wood, and takes the coloring of a sprout. The pedicel of a berry is green, about 3.5-7.0mm. and is uneven and has a wide-cone shape.
The grain. The majority of berries are of a medium size; from 1.68 to 1.92 cm long and from 1.56 to 1.80 cm wide. The length of large berries is 2.0cm, while the width is 1.8cm. Grains are oval, having a wider middle and round end. Rarely is a berry asym; and we can also find round berries. Grains are golden-yellow. In some un-irrigated slopes (Anaga, Kardanakhi and others) the berries of Rkatsiteli takes on a very beautiful pinkish coloring.
The skin of berry is thin and firm, covered by wax-like middle-sized spots. The fruit is fleshy and juicy, the juice of uncolored, the taste – pleasant and harmonious, while the original aroma is very significant.
The seed. The number of seeds in one berry is between one and four. 10,000 berries consists of about 36% berries with one seed, 50% with two seeds, 16.6% with three seeds, and 3.4% with four seeds. About two seeds are found in an average grain.
The body of the seed is longish-oval; gradually narrowing to the tip, and is about 6-7 mm long and 3-4 mm wide. Its basis is placed in the center, is convex and oval shaped. The outer line of its body is narrow and deep and separates the body into two wide parts. The line from the basis to the direction of the tip is well depicted. The inside part is bumpy, having deep parallel lines. The length of a tip is 1.5 mm, while the width is 1.0 mm. The seed is grayish-yellow, the tip orange, and cylindrical, deviated towards the inside.
The sequence of the vegetation phases. Layerd observation of the vegetative period and its particular phases was conducted in the collective vineyards of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Telavi. The data about vegetative periods is given in Table 3.
Table 3 indicates that the time period of Rkatsiteli’s vegetation is distinct for the particular districts of a different climate, from 138 days (in Uzbekistan) to 161 days (in Azerbaijan).
As Table 3 shows, the vegetation period is placed between 138 (in Uzbekistan) and 161 days (in Azerbaijan). The sum of temperatures is between 3140 and 3490.
According to this data, the area of Rkatsiteli cultivation can be extended to the north – up to the mountains, where the temperature sum equals 3,000 – 3,100.
One year sprouts in Kakheti are able to ripen freely and timely. In relatively cold districts, for example in Meskheti (Akhaltsikhe district), Nukriani (Sighnaghi district), where Rkatsiteli cannot ripen timely, its one year sprouts of one meter are able to ripen freely. In Kakheti and around this region (in Darubandi, Odesa, the central Asian republics and others), Rkatsiteli is characterized by a more average speed of growth than other species.
The productivity. As with the majority of Georgian grapevine varieties, Rkatsiteli produces its first sign of grape from the second year after planting. Full harvesting happens from the third year, while from the fourth to fifth years it becomes regular. In strong soils (such as in Khirsa-Gumbati) and irrigated vineyards, when cultivated properly, Rkatsiteli productivity can be increased considerably and from an early time. For example, on the Soviet farm of Khirsi, three-year Rkatsiteli was providing 23.5 centners per hectare and, in some vineyards, upwards of 40 centners. This characteristic also refers to Rkatsiteli in other regions- namely, in Dagestan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and the central Asian republics.
Rkatsiteli is a very harvestable grapevine. In Kakhetian vineyards – in Mukuzani, Tsinandali and Nafareuli -old, non-grafted vines per 2.15m2 provided 70-80 center grape, with 20% sugar. In some vineyards of Mukuzani, for example in Kikianteuli and Chumlaki, 200 centners grape was picked per hectare. The productivity of new, grafted vineyards is also significantly large and in some vineyards it is defined by 150 centers and more per hectare. In order to characterize the productivity of Rkatsiteli, below is given four years data about the Soviet farm of »Samtresti«.
As Table 4 shows, the harvesting of Rkatsiteli comes to 100-120 center per hectare, while in some vineyards it is 200 center.
Outside of Georgia, in other viticulture regions of the Soviet Union, Rkatsiteli has also taken the same level of productivity and quality. For example, in Azerbaijan, in the Kirovabadi district, according to scientist V. Lazariani, the productivity of Rkatsiteli equals from 80-180 center. On the Soviet farms of »Nizami« and »Azerbaijan« from 1931 to 1935, the average productivity was defined as 82 center per hectare, while in 1949 by 160 center. In Russia, in the Orjonikidze area, and in the Levokumski, Budianovski and Chervlenski districts, the productivity of Rkatsiteli is between 78 and 195.5 centers and the average is 169 centers. According to M. Peiteli, Rkatsiteli is distinguished by high productivity in Dagestan, reaching 70-186.7 centers. In Uzbekistan it can provide about 131-230 centers of production with the average being 180 centers, as was fixed in the vineyard belonged to Rizamat Musa-Musamedovi, while on one of the Soviet farms- where it is called »Uzbek-Wine« -Rkatsiteli productivity is defined as 82.3 center.
According to N. Arutiniani (9), in Armenia Rkatsiteli provides 60-79 center of productivity. In the district of Odesa it is 38-56 centers, while in Khersoni district – 64 center.
On the Soviet farm »Shakhrinau« in 1952, average productivity was defined as 300 center per hectare, while in Russia in the vineyards of Novocherkaski (of the Viticulture Institute) in 1949-1953 was 84 center per hectrare.
As the given material indicates, Rkatsiteli is characterized by high productivity and quality nearly everywhere.
Resistance to fungal diseases and frosts. In Kakheti, Rkatsiteli is distinguished by significant resistance to fungal diseases, more endurance against downy mildew than against powdery mildew. In Western Georgia, it is less resistant to downy mildew than other species and needs to have an additional fungicide administered. Outside of Georgia - in Azerbaijan, Dagestan, and partly in Ukraine, Rkatsiteli is sensitive to powdery mildew. It is relatively resistant to phylloxera, as much in Georgia as in Moldova and Ukraine. Among European species, Rkatsiteli is the most resistant to phylloxera after Mtsvane.
Rkatsiteli is very strong against winter frosts- similar to Rislingi, Pinot and others. For example, in 1935 during a cold winter in Azerbaijan, when the minimal temperature was fixed at -23.5o, according to observation (A. Gukasovi, 13) the most resistant grape varieties appeared to be Rkatsiteli followed by Saperavi. Regarding other industrial species such as Baian-Shirei, Tavrizi and Tavkveri, they displayed the great sensitivity to the frost. Such high resistance was also shown by the Rkatsiteli of the Anapi district during the winter of 1933-1934. Based on conducted descriptions (N. Papanovi,19), Rkatsiteli took first rank, Pinot noir – the fourth, Saperavi – tenth, Aligote nad Cabernet – seventeenth, while the weakest was considered Kosorotovski, with 90.8% frost-damaged buds. Such good resistance was again displayed by Rkatsiteli in Dagestan, where it took first rank together with Rislingi and Semiloni, and also in central Asia (Tashkent). According to the research data (over 2-3 years) by I. Kondo, bud damage from frosts was insignificant (see Table5)
Rkatsiteli is a widely distributed vine. This is universal not only because of its great adaptability to the environment but also because of the productivity of its grape that can be used for making high quality table wine, the rare and high quality Kakhetian type wine, good quality dessert wine and the best grape juice. Rkatsiteli also provides fine table grape for local consumption. But it is mostly used for wine production with great values.
Mechanical structure of grape. The mechanical consistency of the grape is very important. The data of mechanical analysis is given below in relation to particular districts and years (see Table 6).
As Table 6 shows, the mechanical consistency is quite variable in different districts and years. The outcome of juice is defined in laboratory conditions, while in industrial conditions it is, as a rule, lower. On the farm of Samstreti, it fluctuates from 73 to 80 deca-liters per ton; in Uzbekistan it consists of 71 deca-liters when containing 21% sugar and 63.5 deca-liters in case of containing 27,5% sugar; in Azerbaijan the average outcome is 70.2%, in Russia – in the area of Orjonikidze, in Chervlenski district -it is between 70.8 and 73.4 deca-liters per ton of grape.
Chemical structure of juice. The grape juice of Rkatsiteli is characterized by good chemical consistency. From the time of physiological ripening to the time of nearly over-ripening, it keeps a desirable proportion of sugar and acidity. Also, Rkatsiteli can accumulate a large amount of sugar (up to 30%) and keep the necessary level of acidity (only rarely falls to below 5). In the southern districts, from the time of physiological ripening to the time of over ripening (approximately one month), it is possible to make nearly all types of wine from the Rkatsiteli grape.
The ability of accumulating sugar and its variability is given in Table 7.
As Table 7 indicates, the sugar concentration in the juice of Rkatsiteli grape is significantly different throughout the particular districts and years (varying from 18% to 31.7%), while maintaining nearly the same level of acidity.
Use of grape and quality of wine. Rkatsiteli is used for several reasons – it can be used for making all types of wine, very qualitative grape juice and good table grape for local use.
High quality white table wine from Rkatsiteli is provided in its homeland – in Kakheti. Here it is characterized by a distinct nature in different zones.
The central Kakheti, it is distinguished by two large masses: the right side of Alazani valley – the north-eastern slopes of the Tsiv-Gombori mountian, and the left side of Alazani – on the southern slopes of the main Cauacasus mountain.
The wines from the right side of Alazani are provided from vineyards which are located at different altitudes above sea level and so are significantly different, while the wines from the left side of Alazani are less distinct.
On the right bank of Alazani, namely in its north-western part – in the Akhmeta-Ikalto zone -it makes a bright tea-colored greenish, tender, harmonious, light, European type table wines. In this zone famous Kakhetian wines are also characteristic (when mixing with Mtsvane or Khikhvi)- a beautiful tea-color and full, with harmony, and having more tenderness than the wines of Bakurtsikhe-Kardanakhi or Gurjaani.
From Ikalto to Mukuzani firmer, European type wines are produced, from which the following are especially distinguished: white table wines of Kondoli, Tsinandali, Kisiskhevi, Lower Khodasheni, Vazisubani and Mukuzani. These wines are bright golden-greenish, full, having fruity aromas, tenderness, harmony, cheerfulness, and a pleasant bitterness. Their strength equals 11-12 o, while the acidity is 6-8%. Similar, but more tender than European type wines, are those made from wine cultivated on the left bank of Alazani – in Nafareuli, Saniore, Artanashi, Eniseli and on other vineyards. These wines are close to the famous white wines of Raini and Shabli with their tenderness and lightness.
To the south-east – from Mukuzani to Anaga -wines are so enriched in flesh and alcohol that they cannot be compared to any European type wine; this is instead a high quality Kakhetian wine. Especially distinguished is that from Kardanakhi district, having a dark tea-color, strong original aroma, completeness, temperament, harmony and slight bitterness, the strength of such wine equals 13-14o, while the acidity reaches 4 - 5%.
In the same Bakurtsikhe-Kardanakhi and Anaga zones, the wine consists of a high concentration of sugar and for this reason is used in strong and dessert wine production. Of these wines should be underlined the following brand wines: »Anaga« of the Madera type, consisting of 19o alcohol, 14% sugar, and 5 - 7% acidity. It is an amber-colored wine with a specific taste and aroma. Both »Saamo« and »Kardanakhi« wines are similar to Portvein and are made from Kardanakhian Rkatsiteli. The first consists of 17 o alcohol, 13% sugar and 5 - 7% acidity, while the second consists of 18 o alcohol, 10% sugar and 5-6% acidity. There wines are dark and amber-colored with a characteristic taste and honey aroma. Khirsi has nearly the same nature and is provided from the Khirsian Rkatsiteli grape.
In outer Kakheti, high quality table wine from Rkatsiteli is produced in the Sagarejo district. Rkatsiteli of Manavi has a golden-greenish color, specific aroma, tenderness, lightness, harmony and pleasant taste. The wine type of Manavian Rkatsiteli is closer to the Rkatsiteli wines of Nafareuili-Artana-Eniseli, and Ikalto, which are also similar to the famous white wines of Shabli by their lightness, tenderness and strong aroma. Nowadays, Rkatsiteli of Akhmeta, Gurjaani and other suitable regions are used to mix with Tsinandali and Manavi Mtsvane to make the famous brand wine »No.1 – Tsinandali« and »No.3 – Gurjaani,'' while Rkatsiteli of Gurjaani, Signagi and other regions are used for Kakhetian type wines »No.8 – Kakhuri« and »No.12 – Tibaani.« On Kardanakhi and Khirsi farms, Rkatsiteli is used to produce Portvein wine »No.14 – Kardanakhi« and Madera type »No.16 – Anaga.«
Rkatsiteli has an abundance of high quality grape juice. Together with Mtsvane, it took first place for its beautiful golden-yellowish coloring, pleasant taste and original aroma. Such high quality grape juice is produced from Rkatsiteli of Ukraine and Azerbaijan. In the Kirovabadi Viticulture Center, among many species, four samples of Rkatsiteli took 4.4 points out of 5. After that, Rkatsiteli is considered as the best variety for making grape juice. Such high estimation was also awarded to the Rkatsiteli grape juice of Ukraine – 8 and 7.75 and also a high degustation evaluation: coloring – golden-yellow, specific aroma, full taste and very pleasant.
Finally, in Eastern Georgia, Rkatsiteli is one of the major table grape (dessert) species. It is used as a consumption grape during all seasons and can be stored for a long time for winter use. From the Rkatsiteli grape Badagi, Chamichi, Churchkhela, Tatara, and candy are produced.
Generally, the Rkatsiteli grape with its beauty, medium sized full bunches, pinkish-yellow oval berries and pleasant taste is not inferior to the famous table species Shasla, but is superior in all characteristics except for an early ripening. Additionally, it should be considered as a good representative of the table grape varieties for local importance.
In Azerbaijan, mostly in the districts of Kirovabadi, Kakhi and Shamkori, Rkatsiteli provides high quality dry table wine, for example in the Soviet farms »Privagzalnoe,« »Karachanakhi« and the third Soviet farm. From the wines of the mentioned areas, the highest evaluation (6.9) was taken by Rkatsiteli wine of the third Soviet farm. This is characterized as »clear, beautiful, golden, complete, and harmonious wine.« But the dry table wines of Azerbaijan are less fleshy and harmonious than the same type wines of Kakheti.
The chacha of Rkatsiteli in Azerbaijan is successfully used for Kakhetian type wine by fermenting with Baian-Shirei grape juice.
Rkatsiteli is better used for the strong and dessert wines. For example, it should be mentioned that the dessert wine »Kara-Chanakhi«, made from the late harvest of Rkatsiteli (consisting of 16o alcohol, 18% sugar and 5-6% acidity), is straw-colored, full, harmonious and has a honey aroma. Rkatsiteli, together with Baian-Shirei, is used for making the brand wine »Aghstafa.«
In Armenia, Rkatsiteli is recognized as one of the best varieties for table dry and dessert wines. To get dry table wines, Rkatsiteli is generally picked early, when its grapes consist of 19-20% sugar and 5-6% acidity. High quality table wines are mostly produced in the north-eastern districts of Armenia (which border Georgia).
On the Ararat plain, Rkatsiteli is used for fine dessert wine. In this direction, Rkatsiteli has great prospective in Armenia.
In Ukraine, Rkatsiteli is cultivated mostly in the vineyards of the Viticulture Institute. The dry table wines made from these vineyards are characterized by golden-greenish coloring, pleasant original aroma, full, harmonious and cheerful taste and consistency and sometimes with a high alcohol level. Generally, Rkatsiteli picked at different times can provide different kinds of wine; early production is good for champagne, the middle period is suitable for table wine, and the late yield is good for dessert wine.
In Ukraine, Rkatsiteli is very prospective for champagne production as it is characterized by high quality, tenderness and original aroma. For this reason we picked the grape early (on 13 September 1937) that consisted of 18.9% sugar and 10.65% acidity, and then on 11 September 1939 – with 18.9 % sugar and 12.50% acidity. The champagne material of 1937 was evaluated by the Degustation Commission in this way »the coloring –good, in the aroma of Kiuve and Tai, a strong aroma is expressed, the taste characteristics of Kiuve are similar to Raini's. The acidity is satisfying. The taste- harmonious and tender, original; this is not typical material for champagne.«
According to the Degustation Commission, Rkatsiteli champagne from the 1936 yield from the Institute of Viticulture and Enology of Ukraine was evaluated in this way: »Rkatsiteli champagne wine is characterized by a specific aroma, is definitely significant and evaluated at 6.9 points.«
Rkatsiteli has also shown quite good results in Russia, in the Orjonikidze area. From the early picked grape can be gained slightly bitter, full, qualitative table wine with harmonious acidity; while a late harvest can make high quality dessert wine of the Tokay type. As the sugar concentration freely comes to 12%, while the acidity to 5-6% in the Orjonikidze area, Rkatsiteli is mostly used for high-quality dessert wine. For example, the famous brand wine »Rkatsiteli« that is obtained from chacha, after strengthening results in real Tokay type wine. Rkatsiteli is also applied for the making of high quality white Portvein (10-15%).
In Uzbekistan, Rkatsiteli is engaged in dessert and dry table wine production. As the grape consists of a lot of sugar (31.7%), high quality table wine that is heavy and fleshy cannot be achieved. For this reason, the Rkatsiteli grape is mostly used for making dessert wine in Uzbekistan; it is very high quality, consisting of 15-16o alcohol, 16-20% sugar- is beautiful, golden, with a specific aroma and harmonious taste. After storing for a certain amount of time, it improves in quality, becomes darker in coloring and takes on a honey taste. This wine is definitely high quality and has been awarded high evaluations at different Degustation Commissions (9 point).
Rkatsiteli is less distributed in Kirim, where it is used for dessert wine of middle quality.
Below the chemical characteristics of Rkatsiteli wine types are given – champagne, table and dessert – from different places (see table 8).
As Table 8 shows, Rkatsiteli wines differ from each other in relation to their ecological conditions and cultivation districts. Also, its rich chemical nature should be mentioned– high alcohol and acidity.
The rich chemical nature is also related to its organic features. Rkatsiteli wine was always served with high praise and in evaluation at the Republican and central Degustation Commissions.
In order to provide more evidence of this., Table 9 gives the conclusion of the central Degustation Commission that took place on 11 April 1946, in Moscow, for the reason of evaluation of the Georgian wines which were presented by the SSR Scientific Academy of Georgia (see Table 9).
The specific aroma of Rkatsiteli as a species is slightly depicted, only the old wine generates a tender and pleasant taste, aroma, and harmony. Over time it also takes on a different coloring, instead of greenish tea, becoming golden.
Rkatsiteli from particular areas in some years has provided high quality European type wine that is not inferior to the famous white wine of Raini.
In the end, the special lightness, tender and cheerfulness of Rkatsiteli wine, of some districts, should be noted which creates the real possibility of its use in champagne enology. Such areas are Ukraine, Kartli, Outer Kakheti, and parts of the north-eastern part of Kakheti – the Telavi-Ikalto-Akhmeta zone. The wine made in this zone was awarded high evaluation (8.4 points) in Moscow, in 1946.
Variations and clones.
Rkatsiteli is poor by its variations in comparison with Saperavi and Mtsvane. The mentioned variations by L. Jorjadze (7) (male and female Rkatsiteli) based on their descriptions (also by this author) can be equalized to widely spread common Rkatsiteli – one and the second (male) - to Rkatsiteli with small berries.
At the time of harvest in the village of Mukuzani in 1948, the women who were picking the common version of Rkatsiteli, noticed two sprouts with distinct colored bunches: in one bunch some berries were completely pink, in another some were pink on one side and yellow on the other, while a small number of berries were completely yellow. In one bunch was a surplus of pink berries. Nowadays, this variation of Rkatsiteli – with pink berries -is cultivated in the Research Center of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Telavi and is characterized not only by its distinct color – pink, but also by the density and solidity of bunches and high level of sugar concentration. However, the expectation for making high quality wine has not yet been affirmed.
In addition to this variation, scientist of the Institute of Viticulture and Enology, V. Loladze (2), has differentiated the following clones and variations:
1. Rkatsiteli with small berries: characterized by small three-lobed leaves, medium-sized bunches, and small berries. It is a less harvestable variation and can be found as single vines in general cultivated vineyards.
2. Clone No.67: characterized by significantly small berries. It has a medium-sized bunch with 5-6 normal-sized berries, while other small berries remain undeveloped. This nature of developing very small berries is continued over time and remains the same in the third generation. This is a useless species having no prospective that should be destroyed and eliminated from vineyards.
3. Clone No.48: highly harvestable. In morphological features it is not different from the common Rkatsiteli, only in its high productivity. After proper investigation, it has shown high agricultural values. Since 1955, it has been widely cultivated on Soviet farms.
GENERAL EVALUATION AND DISTRIBUTION BY DISTRICT
Rkatsiteli is the major industrial grapevine in Kakheti. It is cultivated in nearly all viticulture districts of the Soviet Union.
Such wide cultivation of Rkatsiteli is determined by its high agricultural-technological characteristics, out of which can be underlined: considerably high level of harvesting that is maintained in nearly all regions and districts of its distribution; great adaptation capacities to different ecological conditions; high resistance to frost- although Rkatsiteli is not as strong as other frost-resistant species of the northern viticulture regions such as Rislingi, Pinot and so on.; resistance to mildew and quite good resistance to phylloxera- even greater than is characteristic for European species; high quality and endurance of the production; its diversity of use (for making high quality European type dry table wine (Kakheti, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia); Kakhetian type wine of rare value (Kakheti); high quality dessert wine (Kakheti, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Stavropoli); good material for Soviet Champagne (Ukraine, Kartli, partly – Kakheti) and as a table grape for local use.
Rkatsiteli is the great fame and pride of Kakheti.
Especially high quality European type table dry wine can be made from Rkatsiteli that is cultivated in the districts of Akhmeta, Ikalto, Tsinandali, Vazisubani, Artani, Nafareuli, Eniseli and Manavi, while the best Kakhetian type wine is provided in the Telavi-Akhmeta zone and Kardanakhi. In some years Rkatsiteli provides rare samples of European type wine that is not low in character in comparison with the famous wines of Raini and White Bordeaux.
Rkatsiteli’s negative feature is its low resistance to powdery mildew (especially noticeable in the vineyards of Azerbaijan and Daghestan) and the slight bitterness and comparatively weak aroma. The mentioned weaknesses are easily improvable: first by administering the additional fungicide in irrigating regions, while the second – by acting faster and more tenderly to the grape and by adding the grape of Mtsvane which can annul its bitterness and improve the aroma and tenderness.
Rkatsiteli is undoubtedly prospective for many viticulture regions of the Soviet Union. It is included in the standard assortment of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Daghestan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Ordjonikidze, and Kirgistan, and the enlargement of its vineyard scope is planned up to 10,000 ha in the Soviet Union.
Wines made from the same variety