It's almost 9 pm by the time our taxi driver navigates his way across town to Vinotel, a boutique hotel in old Tbilisi where we have arranged to meet Eko Glonti, founder of Lagvinari a small organic winery in Georgia. \u00a0Actually when we arrive, courtesy of a taxi journey assisted greatly by Google maps (which thankfully I had downloaded) we are not too far away from the old part of Tbilisi which we explored in the morning.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nOur day had started casually, with a walking tour of Old Tbilisi, a leisurely breakfast, a trip on the cable car to Narikala Fort, followed by a walk across the Freedom Bridge. \u00a0A short taxi drive took us to the bottom of the Funicular and at the top we enjoyed a hearty traditional late Georgian lunch in Funicular Restaurant. \u00a0Walking back to the hotel from the Funicular we chatted about our trip so far and the fact that so far I had only tasted Georgian beer and not Georgian wine. \u00a0This was a deliberate move on my part firstly, I like a cold chilled beer on occasions and rarely drink it in Dubai (I even indulged with a cold one with breakfast - just because I could). \u00a0Secondly, I knew we had an evening of Georgian wine ahead of us, so I had saved my first experience to be with an expert.\r\n\r\nOur expert for the evening was Eko Gloniti who we had been introduced to by Sarah from Taste Georgia. \u00a0Eko is the founder of Lagvinari a small organic winery in Georgia. \u00a0The very charming and charismatic Eko \u00a0spent the evening telling us about Georgian wine and taking us through a guided tour of some of his wine over dinner.\r\nThe Food\r\nOur mission for the trip, like any other culinary trip we do was to eat local food, and so we were delighted when Eko said he would order for us and take us on a Georgian culinary experience. Over dinner we sampled a whole range of dishes and from memory here's what we nibbled our way through.\r\n\r\nMchadi (corn bread)\r\nSeasonal pkhali platter (crushed vegetables\u00a0with walnut seasoning)\r\nGeorgian Cheese Platter with local Honey\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFresh herb platter with cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs and hot peppers\r\nKhachapuri Mille Feuille\r\nTender red beans with rachuli ham in clay pot\r\nChicken shkmeruli (garlic sauce)\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCr\u00e8me br\u00fbl\u00e9e\r\nHot apple tart with caramel ice-cream\r\nPeople are a little bit conservative of Georgian wine \u00a0...\r\n \r\nThe Wine\r\nEko was keen that we try a variety of wines and over the course of the evening, all from his winery and all exceptionally good. \u00a0This was an evening to drink full glasses of wine, to raise our glasses often and to discuss everything from Georgian Wine through to the Seven Summits and Kilimanjaro. \u00a0During the evening the owner of Vinotel, Benedict (Beno) joined us and we chatted some more about hotel business and wine cellars, though I have to admit that my memory fades as the evening goes on for this is an evening to drink full glasses rather than to sip and spit !\r\n\r\nWe started with four white wines\u00a0and ended finally with two reds, each one growing more in intensity as the evening drew on.\r\n\r\n"Award-winning Master of Wine, journalist, presenter, wine judge and photographer. One of the Three Wine Men."\r\n\r\nLoving the Georgian wines from Lagvinari. #qvevri\r\n\u2014 Tim Atkin (@Timatkin) June 5, 2015\r\n\r\nLagvinari\r\nLagvinari is a small organic winery in Eastern Georgia (Kakheti) founded by Eko Glonti our host for the evening. Eko is charming and a great dinner host, sharing stories about the winery and his time in Georgia. \u00a0He is a doctor-turned-geologist-turned-winemaker and is reviving disused vineyards in Georgia using traditional methods.\r\n\r\nEko is making great wine ! \u00a0Whilst he's reasonable coy about his success at the beginning over the course of the evening he reveals that his wine has just been accepted by Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck\u00a0who will host four of his wines. \u00a0His wine is sold by Hedonism Wines a renowned wine merchant in Mayfair, London described by some as a "wine museum" or "candy shop for wine"\r\n\r\nEko works with local artisan grape growers using indigenous grape varieties (Rkatsiteli and Saperavi) and uses ancient winemaking techniques which means making wine in Kveri. \u00a0Kveri which you can see just about everywhere in Georgia, are traditional egg shaped clay pots and the oldest method of wine making. \u00a0Kveri's are filled with crushed grapes which buried underground during the wine making process. \u00a0The wine produced is organic, hand-harvested, and made without fining or filtering. \u00a0He's currently making about 35,000 bottles a year and is looking for new vineyards to work on but is mindful of keeping true to traditional methods which means that over expansion is not for him.\r\n\r\nOver the course of the evening, we taste six bottles of wine, four under the category of white wine and two reds. Of the four white bottles that we sampled, the colour is a rich amber which is sometimes referred to as orange wine which is a result of the way in which the wine is brewed along with the grape skins.\r\nFifteen years ago no Westerners would try the wine, because of the colour, they thought it was oxidised, now orange wine is becoming trendy - Eko Glonti\r\n \r\nVINOTEL\r\n\r\n+995 322 555 888\r\email@example.com\r\n\r\nTASTE GEORGIA\r\n\r\n+995 599 039106\r\firstname.lastname@example.org\r\nLAGVINARI\r\n\r\n+995 577 546006\r\n+44(0)7771622288\r\email@example.com\r\n \r\n\r\n \r\nBoutique Hotel\r\nWe met Eko at Vinotel, which belongs to a friend of his. Vinotel is a historical building in the old town, on the bank of the Mtkvair River and just a short walk away from the Old Town. Recently converted to a boutique hotel with just thirteen rooms it's a charming location and a treat for wine lovers boasting huge wine cellars and a social diary packed full of events. \u00a0We dine in the garden, but take a walk around the hotel later and can't but help to love this place. It's unique and charming, everywhere you go there are different things to look at, from the Georgian mirrored ceiling in the lobby which was custom made through to the quirky and individual furniture. We take a peak into one of the bedrooms and can't help wishing that we were staying.\r\n\r\nMoving downstairs to the cellars we are treated to a tour of the cooled wine cellar which stocks a large variety of wines from artisan wine through to more mainstream choices, there's also a selection of organic and bio organic wines including those by LagVinari.\r\n\r\nThe \u00a0cellars boast a few different tasting rooms and we can't help wishing that we were staying longer to see the rooms occupied as they are just crying out for people, wine and conversation.\r\n\r\nSeems we are not the only ones to love the hotel, there are plenty of quotes from VIP's and dignitaries on the website, including a quote from Sheikh Nahyan bin Mabarak al Nahyan who dined there.\r\n\r\nMadloba (Thank you) to Eko and Beno who hosted our evening and to Sarah from Taste Georgia who introduced us to her two friends.