The wines of Pheasant's Tears, Kakheti, Georgia
Some unusual but lovely qvevri wines from Georgia


John Wurdeman

Georgian winery Pheasant’s tears was founded in 2007 by John Wurdeman and Gela Patalishvili.

John is an American painter who first came to Georgia in 1996, and the following year bought a house in Sighnaghi. In 1998 he relocated to Georgia full time.

Gela is a winegrower whose family’s connection with wine goes back eight generations. The two met in 2005 when John was painting in a vineyard, and decided to work together. 

All wines are fermented in qvevri, traditional clay amphorae, which are lined with beeswax and sunk into the ground. Natural yeast fermentations are employed.

Slightly different techniques are used to make each of the wines. Some have moderate skin contact, others have minimal (3 weeks to 6 months). Stems are included. It’s all decided by taste. John notes that qvevri wines seem to age faster than conventional wines.

The name ‘pheasant’s tears’ refers to a Georgian story in which only the very best wines are good enough to make a pheasant cry. Not sure what they are doing giving wine to pheasants…


Pheasant’s Tears Chnuri 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
The lightest, crispest white wine in the line up. Apple and herb nose. Nice fresh, appley, herby palate with a bit of grip and nice freshness. 90/100

Pheasant’s Tears Kisi 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
A full-coloured amber skin contact white. Aromatic with a lovely palate showing herbs and pear with some tannic grip. Fresh and pretty. 92/100

Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
An amber skin contact wine. Beautiful perfume: spice, peach and pear notes. The palate is grippy and firm with lovely elegant peach and pear fruit. Grippy and firm. 93/100

Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli 2010 Kakheti, Georgia
Spicy and exotic on the nose with warm peachy notes. On the palate there’s apricot, spice, dried herbs and some grippiness. Lovely wine. 94/100

Pheasant’s Tears Rkatsiteli 2008 Kakheti, Georgia
Warm, ripe, spicy and bold on the nose, with apricot and peach. The palate is grippy, spicy and rounded. Just fabulous. 94/100

Pheasant’s Tears Tsolakauri 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
Interesting herb and wax nose. The palate is appley and tangy with some bitterness, notes of tea and a firm finish. 88/100

Pheasant’s Tears Mtsvane 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
A skin contact white wine. Bold, smooth, sweetly fruited and grippy. Some tea and dried herb notes, as well as good acidity. 92/100

Pheasant’s Tears Tavkvevri 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
A red wine. Vivid, juicy and berryish with fresh, vivid fruit. Lovely youthful cherry and berry fruit on the palate with some grippy tannin. 92/100

Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi 2009 Kakheti, Georgia
A teinturier (red-fleshed) variety. Powerful, intense and structured. Beginning to open out a bit with good acid and vivid fruit. 92/100

Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
Dense, intense and tannic with immensely powerful, vivid black fruits. 92/100

Pheasant’s Tears Saperavi 2010 Kakheti, Georgia
This was drying on the vine in August, and the result is a wine with powerful amarone-like flavours. Spicy, dense and lively with high acidity. Fabulous. 93/100

Pheasant’s Tears Shavkapito 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
A red wine. Fruity, vivid and youthful with joyful red fruits and grippy tannins. 91/100

Pheasant’s Tears Shavkapito 2010 Kakheti, Georgia
Grippy, tannic and dense with some earth and spice and lots of structure. 90/100

UK agent: Les Caves de Pyrene

Wines tasted 05/12  
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