We are trying to soak up as much of the lingering good weather during harvest season before the cold, rain, and wind become the norm in Tbilisi and Georgia. Yesterday we were warmly invited to a “supra,” Georgia’s distinctive feast slash party mechanism. Large table, many guest, great food, much wine, and rather regimented toasting procedures. Led by a “tamada,” or toastmaster, these supras are Georgia’s most well known means of hospitality. Teetotalers, beware: wine is frequently quaffed and infrequently meant to be consumed at once. Toasts are done in an order, and while there is variation from region to region and differing levels of formality based on the occasion (funeral supras I imagine are quite orthodox), there are toasts to God, the hosts, women of the family, and always some toasts to deceased family members. Toasts to Stalin are not entirely unheard of, though my hosts yesterday forwent raising a glass to Mr. Jugashvili, Georgia’s most notorious son. All foreigners who have been to Georgia for more than a layover have been invited to one, and blog entries on the subject can be colorful. One from “Cuttino” is here. I’ll keep it short on the supra; my focus is on the topography, but see below for a quick audio clip of the song that broke out at the table. Four or five of the family hosts at the table clearly had musical talents are were not afraid to wield them. 

The host family invited us out to Kakheti, Georgia’s most famous wine region. It is harvest time, so grapes are everywhere. The event was held, of course, on a vineyard outside the very small town of Vazisubani. This town in Kakheti is on the smaller mountains on the western side of the Alazani valley, so one gets a stupendous view of the eastern side of the valley perpetually. The eastern side is defined by the “real” Caucasus, and the tops of the mountains in view mark the border between Georgia and Russia’s unruly province of Dagestan. The valley itself is still green, with autumnal hues, and the Alazani river calmly flows southeast through the middle of its flat valley. The image below is typical, from a highland vantage point looking at a higher point over a beautiful valley.

Old Tbilisi Alazani

Magus… väga magus! Nagu vahuvein aga ilma mullita. Midagi Asti-maitselist. Kommiga läks palju paremini alla. Aga pole minu maitse (nagu ka Asti).


Võibolla natuke liiga magus minu jaoks. Ostaks teine kordki kui magusa isu tuleb.

Okay, since I still associate alcohol with shame (growing up with a closet alcoholic parent will do that to you), I feel the need to specify I buy any only a handful times a year. And when I do, it tends to be either sake or French cider or white wine (not chardonnay though) or perhaps an Australian shiraz or Alazani… yeah, tonight is one of the rare nights I am actually craving a drink. If the 0.99 dry cider is meh, gonna try out whichever mulled cider recipe I’ve got the ingredients for.