Olga’s Wines for the Festive Season
Βy Olga Antoniadou
I can’t think of Christmas and New Year’s Eve without bottles of bubblies setting the mood for fun with family and friends. I also can’t think of the glow of the fireplace and the chilly days and nights without a glass of red wine. And, as Yiannis put it very nicely in his article Festive Bottles, we don’t need to put our hands too deep into our pockets to have lovely wine. Of course, one can dish on expensive Champagne bottles and cru wines, but most of us can hardly afford the luxury, and definitely not in many bottles. I don’t know about your friends and family, but mine stay for hours, drinking, joking, playing games, pantomime, singing carols and karaoke, laughing our hearts out at the talent shown. Wine fuels the jovial atmosphere and not just one bottle, so the price needs to be considered. On the other hand, it is Christmas, after all, so the wine can’t but be decent in the least.
I know most people consider Christmas lunch inevitably coupled with stuffed turkey, but, in reality, roast pork is a Greek tradition, and I, myself, much prefer roast duck and wild boar or beef cheeks in a lovely red wine-based thick tomato sauce. I like my starter bruschettas to be topped with smoked salmon, smoked trout, or Alonissos tuna, so the bubbles pair beautifully with these. Duck can pair nicely with a Limniona wine, and the red wine tomato sauce pairs beautifully with Xinomavro, Mavrodaphne and Mouchtaro. So, here we go!
Kamara Estate PetNat Blooming Island 2020 Assyrtiko, Malagousia, Xinomavro. A rosé petnat from Northern Greece that has an amazing fizz and a fun label. Slightly hazy, with aromas of citrus fruit, peach and red berries. Sweet strawberries on the palate with yeasty notes. Balanced, refreshing, retains its fizz well, 12,5% abv. The bottle emptied before we knew it. A lovely welcome wine.
Santo White Sparkling Brut 100% Assyrtiko Transfer Method sparkling wine from old basket-shaped (kouloura) vines. The beauty, minerality, and cutting edge of Assyrtiko wine, with intense pear, stone fruit, bread dough and notes of honey. A lovely lemony, mineral aftertaste.
Wine Kingdom 28,50
Tselepos Estate Amalia Vintage 2018 100% Moschofilero Traditional Method sparkling wine that spends almost 2 years on the lees. Lovely acidity with the rose petal notes shining through the candied citrus peel and pear notes, biscuits and brioche. The aftertaste is long, biscuity, and lemony.
Kylix 19,40 euros
Douloufakis Sparkling Brut 100% Vidiano Traditional Method sparkling wine that spends 2 years on the lees. Aromas of apple, pear, stone fruit, honeycomb and brioche. The acidity is not as racy, but the wine shows nice complexity and has a long finish.
Wine Outlet 16,75 euros
Domaine Karanika Extra Brut Rosé a blend of mainly Xinomavro with some Limniona Traditional Method sparkling wine that spends 6-12 months on the lees. Aromas of red berries, strawberry, raspberry, and cherries, together with floral rose notes, bread dough and nutty notes. Crisp, long, sweet cherry aftertaste. Laurence Hartman with his wife, Annette van Kampen stirred the waters with their lovely sparkling wines. I specifically chose the rosé for its versatility.
House of Wine 18,00 euros
Oenops Wines Xinomavraw 2020 100% Xinomavro. A natural wine fermented with ambient yeast in amphora where it spends 10months, bottled unfiltered, no sulphur added. A wine I fell in love with from the very first time I tasted it. An authentic, wild, pure xinomavro showing red fruit and red berries, with floral notes, high acidity, plush tannins, spice and the signature herbal and tomato paste aromas.
Oinognosia 17,60 euros
The next two wines are from the 50 Great Greek Wines - The List, because they are delicious and very rightly made it into the 50.
Zafeirakis Limniona 2019 100% Limniona, 12 months in barrel. A medium bodied, deep ruby wine, with refreshing acidity and aromas of raspeberry, sour cherries, strawberry, liquorice and a floral violet note. Soft tannins and a long fruity aftertaste.
Wine Kingdom 20,50 euros
Gentilini Iris Vineyard 2021 100% Mavrodaphne from a single vineyard in Cephalonia, 5 months on the lees, bottled unfiltered. Mavrodaphne shows an extremely distinctive herbal character that is reminiscent of laurel and sage. This wine has a slightly minty character, coupled with sour cherry and plums, with a whiff of lavender. A very small production that you’ll be lucky to get your hands on.
Cava Oinochoi Halandri 14,90 euros
Chatzivaritis Estate Mus 2020 100% Xinomavro, from Goumenissa in Northern Greece, fermented with ambient yeast that spends 4 months in old oak and 6 months in bottle. Aromas of wild berries, cherry, strawberry, and floral, with a hint of liquorice and slightly herbaceous. The crisp acidity of a Xinomavro is well combined with structure from the tannins, balanced by the fruit and a long finish. An impressive wine.
House of Wine 27,60 euros
Vaimakis Family Mater Natura 6 2018 100% Xinomavro from Zitsa in Northern Greece. Another natural wine that shows aromas of cherries, redcurrants, wild berries, herbs, tomato paste and some earthy notes. Juicy tannins, the crisp acidity of Xinomavro and a long finish. An elegant wine.
The Knack Mouchtaro 2019 100% Mouchtaro from dry-farmed old bush vines at 630m altitude. Christos Koulouriotis holds a WSET diploma, and his winemaking project is based in Megara of Western Attica. Another low intervention wine, ambient yeast fermented, low alcohol 12% abv, spends 23 months in barrel and is bottled unfiltered with no sulphites. Sour cherry, pomegranate, and black plum together with violet notes, some dried fruit like prune and sweet spice. Marked acidity, soft tannins. An exciting wine.
Oinognosia 28,40 euros