To drink this week: Crete and Peloponnese
This week's suggestions include a white from Crete and two reds from the Peloponnese, a Nemea (100% Agiorgitiko) and a full bodied with intense personality Cabernet Sauvignon from Messinia prefecture.
Manousakis Winery Muscat of Spina 2016, Crete
A local clone of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, Muscat of Spina is becoming fast a very popular and fashionable variety producing mainly easy drinking and light wines to be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with light dishes, salad etc. Not this wine though!
Vines are extremely old approaching 120 years of age planted at 800 m of altitude. They can be described as of historic importance planted way before phylloxera arrived in the island of Crete, something that happened in the 70's. They are trained in an uncommon way as trunkless Gobelet.Yields are obviously low approximately 25 hl/ha and total production is close to 3000 bottles. For vinification producer Afshin Molavi comments that they don't do the ''fruit salad protocol'' but emphasize instead on the mineral and savoury side of the grape. Well does it exist? Obviously as the wine shows a yeasty and mineral flavour profile with floral notes discretely on the background. Medium bodied surprisingly intense with flesh and fairly long finish. Excellent pairing with a risotto with herbs and prawns or chicken. (retails in local market at 12 euros).
Nemeion Estate 2008, PDO Nemea
From vineyards in Koutsi and Petri villages this is constantly a top performing Nemea produced from 100% indigenous Agiorgitiko. The Domaine or Ktima produces also the luxurious Sovereign label but I think that more excitement, elegance and authenticity lies in the less ambitiously produced Nemeion label. With high percentage of limestone in the soil the high vigour of the variety is controlled resulting in a velvety wine with flesh and power but without sacrificing purity and elegance.
Hand harvested on the second half of October followed by gentle handling in the cellar and prolonged maturation and aging in the bottle (3 years total) Nemeion 2008 delivers a perfectly vibrant and complex nose, fruity and savoury with herbal notes that make the wine so exciting. Oak is well integrated. Palate is full and delicate at the same time balancing nicely on a fine line. Long layered and delicious. (retails in local market at 26 euros).
Panagiotopoulos Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Bio
I rarely fall in love with a Greek Cabernet but this is absolutely delicious. It is produced from the heart of Trifylia in Messinia perfecture with Trifylia almost becoming classic for producing scented Cabernet Sauvignons with a bordelais soul. 2008 still in production (soon 2010 will be released in 15.000 bottles) features grapes frοm privately owned vineyards at 400-450 m of altitude in gentle slopes. Yields do not exceed 50 hl/ha and the average age of vines is 30 years.
Fairly deep and youthful colour with the nose starting showing some evolution. Dense with cassis, cedar, luxurious oak supported by a solid core of fruit. Quite complex. Powerful with 14% abv, structured starting revealing its virtues. More to deliver during the next 5-8 years. (retails in local market at 26 euros)