SAPERAVI, a grape variety that originates in Georgia, has attracted some interest in Australia – and Hugh Hamilton is one of Australia’s most experienced saperavi makers. After 12 vintages making the red wine, Hugh Hamilton Wines’ latest line of Georgian-inspired saperavi wines, the Exotica Collection, includes no fewer than four different releases. The ancient grape hails from one of the world’s oldest wine making regions and its origins date back to 6000BC. Hamilton’s interest in the variety was sparked in 1997 when he met Georgian winemaker Lado Uzunashvili. Without knowing how well the saperavi would fare in the McLaren Vale terroir, or if the vines would yield at all, he ripped out a flourishing section of his established vineyard and designated it to saperavi. The Exotica Collection includes four signature wines – The Oddball 2015 Saperavi, Oddball The Great 2014 Saperavi and two wines, Mtsvane and Georgian Saperavi, made in Georgia in collaboration with Uzunashvili. The word “saperavi” translates into English as “ink”. Hamilton says the grape is incredibly deeply coloured and can be very tannic. “It demands different treatment to all other grape varieties we work with. We consider ourselves largely caretaker winemakers, but saperavi requires extra care and a very gentle hand.” Try the wines at Hugh Hamilton Wines Cellar Door at 94 McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale.