A Spring Wine Exploration
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
In the last few months I have put more time into tasting novel productions as I think progress is what Greek wine needs. Evolution is such a necessary element of achieving higher standards and this is exactly what Greek producers are doing at this awkward moment. Reinventing and presenting contemporary wines. Seizing the opportunity and keeping the flame alive.
The following is a small wine list of recently tasted new wines, which managed to capture my attention. I am also including a favourite from Cyprus, not a Xynisteri, as I will be reporting on that with a separate post.
All prices are suggested retail in the domestic market.
Bazigos Robola of Cephalonia 2019, 12% abv
A very lively expression of Robola. Intense with citrus, fennel and spice. Good acid and definition on the palate with a riper mid-palate and very decent finish. *** €9
Vinifera Limniona 2018, 13.5% abv
This is a new effort by Vinifera winery, a new discovery by Olga. It is perfumed with violets around a core of cherries and strawberries. Chocolatey also on the nose. Elegant on the palate, delicate tannins, also some cocoa notes which, I have to admit, disrupt the overall harmony. Overall though this is a solid and refined example that promotes the variety’s typicality. ***+ €25-30
Costa Lazaridi Château Julia Agiorgitiko 2019, 14.2% abv
The much anticipated 100% Agiorgitiko from Costa Lazaridi is deep ruby with a nose on the edge of ripeness full of black cherries and excellent oak integration (12 months in 20% new oak). It is velvety on the palate, with fine quality tannins, yet the fruit seems to be a touch riper. I’m sure that with an earlier harvest this would prove to be one of the most thrilling Agiorgitikos of the country. *** €17
Troupis, Nemea 2019, 12.9% abv
The very first attempt of a Nemea by Troupis winery is consistent with the approach of elegance and multiple trials that the winery has adopted over the last years. A limited production first attempt of 800 bottles. The grapes are sourced from high altitude vineyards at 720 m. Gentle extraction of 20 days with a small addition of sulphites. Matured in used Stockinger oak, for 12 months. Bright ruby coloured with cherries, pomegranate and herbal nuances. Very elegant and punchy on the palate, the oak is almost invisible, with tension and a fairly long finish. ***+ €22
Troupis Pity’s Ritinitis, 12.3% abv
Pitys was the only Oread nymph who accepted the love of the satyr Pan, but Voreas, his rival, threw her off a cliff and killed her. Earth felt sorry for Pan and transformed her into a pine tree. This is the story behind the name and the label. Now on to the wine, which is such fun to drink. It is produced from Assyrtiko planted on the plateau of Mantinia, which yielded 3000 bottles. In some of my previous posts I have discussed the rebranding of Retsina and this is precisely what I had in mind. Partly fermented in oak barrels to add more complexity and ageing potential it captures the spring in a glass with grapefruit, mint and masticha notes. The resin is detectable, but very delicate. Delicious on the palate with a vein of acidity and good concentration. It can work nicely both as an apéritif and for meze. **** €14
And a bonus from Cyprus
Vouni Panayia, Vasilissa 2019, 13% abv
My favourite white microvinification of Vouni Panayia is the Vasilissa (Queen); a variety that was perceived to be Morokanella up to last year. Impressive label This is spontaneously fermented and has remained on the lees for 7 months for more complexity. A production of 600 bottles. Pure and charming on the nose, with sweet tropical fruit and lovely floral aromas of lemon blossom and jasmine. It is lean and crispy on the palate with good definition and a zesty finish. Again another fun to drink wine, something we need to make more of. ***+