When the Communists marched in and took over Georgia, they had no use for Georgia’s 400+ varieties of grapes.
Too many grapes.
They also didn’t care for the long names of some of the grapes and appellations: Mukhuzani, Kindzmarauli, Napareuli…
Too complicated. Too hard to pronounce.
So they got rid of them. Most of the varietals died off, except for a handful.
And to replace those cumbersome words?
Numbers. The wines were simply numbered.
Some of the numbers had better reputations than others. We were told that an especially desirable number — better than the rest — was number eight (rva – რვა).
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the number system stuck for awhile. You’d go into a store and ask “Do you have number two?” or “How much number four do you have left?”
Today, as a nod to that era not so far in the past, you can still go in to most wine shops in Georgia and find on the shelves an affordably drinkable number eight: Kakhuri No. 8 from Teliani Valley.
You can also call it by its given name: Rkatsiteli.
You spend years here coming and going, and just get back from a week in wine country, but randomly find this out at the neighbor’s house tonight at dinner.
I love this place.