Chacha is the national alcohol of Georgia. It is made in the same way as grappa in Italy. In Spain it is called orujo and in France marc. Alcohol is distilled from the residues of wine-making, the skins and seeds. Distillation is made twice to make the taste cleaner and lighter. Big producers also add a little sugar to soften the taste and to make it more crowd-pleaser. Chacha was originally made exclusively in homes, but today it is made by a large number of large vineyards and the biggest can also export it.
Tvilbino is a winery founded in 1969 in the Kakhet region of Georgia. It is one of the largest Georgian wineries. The company also exports wines to more than 30 countries. There are two different grape varieties commonly used in Georgia, Saperavi (dark) and Rkatsiteli (white), both of which Tvilbino makes its own versions of chacha. The price of a 50 cl bottle is about 12 euros.
The aroma has fermented grape, grass and pear. The taste is soft and quite sweet, the sugar has probably been added. The taste is light and slightly murky. White wine aroma is on the base, but there is also a hint of dried fig or apricot. The fruity aroma of the pear is rather strong. The aroma of walnut and almond is also in the background. Tvilbino Rkatsiteli is a rather original product and clearly differs from Italian grappa. The taste is perhaps a little too sweet and it feels like there has been added sugar to mask some of the side flavors of the manufacturing process. Chacha is also referred to as “Georgian vodka”, but vodka is far from here, even though it is also clear in color. The fruity and nutty taste is quite original and interesting. It is worth trying Chacha if you come across it on a trip to Georgia or some eastern-European country who sells it. For Grappa lovers, it’s a particularly different experience.