Udabno, at first sight, seems a forgotten place in the desert. Originally a Soviet built village – but then abandoned and left to the last, striving old farmers. Since about 8-10 years it has been brought to life again, by a Polish guy who fell in love with Georgia when traveling the countryside. His idea was to build a restaurant and hostel for people driving through on their way to David Gareja (the monastery I posted on before). This turned out quite well – and his Oasis is thriving. They promise delicious Georgian food and friendly people – and on top you get dogs and cats at your feet, charming the guests.
Sighnaghi, the pearl of the Kakheti region, is one of the most important villages in Georgia’s greatest wine district. The oldest parts are from the 18th century, with a 4-5 km town wall. We also heard it was considered maybe the most beautiful village in Georgia. Built 790 meters above sea level, it overlooks the glorious Alazani Valley and the Caucasus Mountains. In fact almost every part of it was restored by Italian architects, and paid for by the mighty family Sjevardnadze.
We learned that the cradle of Wine is Kaukasus, and Georgia has the oldest wine traditions in the world, second only to Armenia. 8000 years old Clay barrels for wine making have been found here. The wine making was unique – and still is today. The grapes were put in the clay barrels that were buried in the ground for fermentation – no additives…not even sugar. 100% ecological.
No wonder the wine tastes heavenly. We tried three different Saperavi wines from the OKRO`s Wines, relaxing on a terrace overlooking a lovely cat overlooking the whole valley and the mountains. Finishing off with a mild Chacha (70% – but not noticeable).
In the end I thought the strict rules applied for making these Georgian wines exceeded all intricate EU-rules, making EU not fully able to realize the fantastic quality of these wines – and therefore not marketing them as they should. Rather interesting…
A war monument with thousands of names from the area, meant another moment of contemplation. So many horrors and so many wars this country has suffered. And still – inhabited by upright, friendly and hospitable people.
We hit the road again, and our knowledgeable guide remembered my talking about a photo of the grape vendors…This party was packing up for the night, but we stopped for a chat and a photo. Sweet guys…in the end I jumped in the car with some kilos of the sweet grapes too (not the guys!)! I was not allowed to pay anything…but hugs were free!