One of Azerbaijan’s most appealing destinations for wine tourists
Half hidden amongst hilltop vineyards in a deeply rural corner of Ismayilli district, Chabiant’s winery (aka Chateau Monolit) is one of Azerbaijan’s most appealing destinations for wine tourists thanks to a quality guesthouse with open-air swimming pool as well as a splendid tasting room and impressive wine storage caves designed to look centuries old.
They also organize a harvest festival (late August) and a Vino Nuovo celebration (Late-November) mimicking Beaujolais Nouveau festivities worldwide. Set at an altitude of around 750m, the naturally rain-fed soils of the terroir produce excellent quality grapes that benefit from sun-soaked days but mildly chilly nights. Over recent years the wine-making here has undergone a major rethink and now aims to “bring new life to local viticulture in Azerbaijan”. Most significantly, since 2016, the winery has undertaken a project to seek out and ‘rescue’ rare or forgotten grape varieties to add to the oenological palate.
Chabiant Rosé – Azerbaijan isn’t generally known for its rosé wines, but Chabiant has come up with a refreshing game changer made from 100% local Matrasa grapes. Coloured a mellow salmon-pink, the medium-bodied wine has an array of subtle citrus notes (mandarin, grapefruit) and a pleasantly long finish.
Chabiant Rkatsiteli-Mtzvani – This pale-coloured, dry white is a dual cépage combining 70% Rkatsiteli with 30% Mtzvani grapes. Pairing well with seafood, the wine is crisp with a moderate acidity softened by notes of melon and pear.
Chabiant Saperavi-Cabernet Sauvignon – If you like dry, mildly peppery reds, this deeply coloured tannic mix of Saperavi (70%) and CabSav (30%) is a strong choice with hints of toast, spice and cloves yet a clean, fresh finish offering a fine accompaniment to pasta dishes.
The winery is in the tiny settlement of Hajihatamli, on a small country lane that links Goychay and Ismayilli. Coming from the latter, much of the route roller-coasters along hilltops with fine if distant mountain views. Take the opportunity to stop in the culturally unique village of Ivanovka which still maintains a Soviet-style cooperative farm organisation. Many of the villagers are so-called ‘Molokans’, groups of Russian non-conformist Christians who were effectively banished here in the 1830s. Older men often sport distinctively long white beards. These days Ivanovka is renowned across Azerbaijan for the quality of its vegetables and honey, while some villagers also have a side-line in winemaking – sold in old water bottles, such wines can be surprisingly drinkable but finding a good one is always hit and miss. If you’re exploring the area, don’t miss a side trip to the pretty little rural towns of Lahij and Basgal, famed for their metal-craft and silk-scarf making respectively.
Chabiant Guesthouse is open 24/7 throughout the year.
The winery opens daily from 10:00 till 20:00
- Hajihatamli village, Ismayilli
- +99451 700 32 72