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02 February 2023

The Red Wines of Central Greece – elegance, power and purity

By Yiannis Karakasis MW & Olga Antoniadou

This tasting included two rosé wines, 11 red wines and three resinated. The overall impression was encouraging, with many excellent examples expressing elegance and purity. However, there are still things to be addressed in the quest for more excitement. Interestingly, extraction levels have generally decreased for the red wines, and oak use is more restrained than in previous years. On the other hand, the fruit was fresher, and acidities were higher, so the fruit was harvested earlier, and tannins were better managed overall. 

Seeing that the three Mouhtaro wines and the Mouhtaro/Merlot blend showed excellent typicality for the variety was more than engaging. Moreover, it was promising to notice producers trying their luck a little more with indigenous varieties than in the past, but there are still some outstanding wines from international ones.

For the tasting notes of the white wines of Central Greece, you can click here

Rosé wines

Mikro Ktima, Rosé Kyathos 2022

From Mytikas in Halkida of Evia, this is bottled under a screwcap. Light pink-orange coloured with aromas of lemon rind, tropical fruit and floral primrose notes. Acidity towards the lower end, a slightly oily body and despite the 12% abv, the alcohol was a little punchy. Not a particularly complex wine, but it is easy to drink.

Evambelos Gi, Rosé Philoktitis 2022 

Central Greece - Fthiotis: 90% Grenache Rouge, 10% Syrah. Pale pink with salmon hues, with aromas of red fruits like strawberry and raspberry and pink grapefruit with a touch of pink peppercorn. The aromas were inviting and showed lovely intensity, followed by a medium body with fresh acidity and a longish finish of pink grapefruit. 12,5% abv. Enjoyable and easy to drink. A fun wine to be drunk by the glass. 

Domestic market 9,65 €

Red wines - indigenous varieties

Muses, Mouhtaro 2021 

Muses Valley - Boeotia: The vines grow on sandy clay soils at 450-550m altitude. Bottled unfiltered. Medium ruby with purple hues, with aromas of red cherry, sour cherry, red forest berries, pomegranate and pungent violet stem flooding the nose. Still primary on the palate with bright acidity and tannins, which are very refined. Oak needs time to settle. Longish sour cherry finish. 13,5% abv. A fascinating and distinctive wine with character and ageing potential. Α highlight.

Domestic market 18 €

Samartzis, Mouhtaro 2020 
Muses Valley - Boeotia: Medium ruby in colour, with aromas of red cherry, red berries, and sour cherry, somewhat smoky on the nose. Fresh acidity, medium body, medium tannins and a longish, slightly bitter finish. It needs aeration, but it opens up showing why Mouhtaro is such an exciting variety. 

Domestic market 34,50 €

Katrisiosis Mouhtaro 2018

Vagia - Boeotia: Waxed closure. The vines grow on rocky, clay soils, and the wine is made from selected grapes from Thivaiki Gi Winery. Aromas of sour cherry, red cherry, red plum, violet notes, cigar box, and coffee. Medium-bodied on the palate with relaxed tannins and a fairly long finish. 13% abv. Very good for the style of wine. 

Vriniotis, Vradiano Wild Ferment 2021

Deep ruby coloured with a new world in style nose full of chocolate, smoke and figs along violet notes. Rich and tight with high alcohol and balancing acidity, this is a full-throttled wine with 15% abv demanding food and ageing. 

Domestic market 47 €

Red wines based on indigenous varieties

Samartzis Mouhtaro & Merlot Barrique 2019

Waxed closure. The vines grow at 420m altitude on the southern slopes of Mt Elikon. Medium garnet with red and black fruit aromas, floral notes and sweet spices. Fresh acidity, good tannin structure, a body on the fuller side and a longish finish. Initially had a rather strange, unpleasant aroma, which disappeared after quite some time in the glass. 13,5% abv. A very satisfying wine.

Domestic market 12,50 €

Akriotou, Hermit 2020

Waxed closure. An intriguing blend of indigenous Liatiko and Vradiano with Syrah. Spontaneous fermented, low intervention winemaking,  and bottled unfiltered. Medium ruby, red and black fruit aromas, tea leaves, and floral and peppery notes. Medium-bodied, quite elegant with fine-grained tannins and balancing acidity. A structured wine that should age well, but you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy it. Α highlight.

Gikas, Vradiano/Merlot 2017

Waxed closure. 60% Vradiano and 40% Merlot grown at 400m altitude on sandy clay soils. Medium ruby, with aromas of ripe black fruit, medium acidity and slightly stalky tannins demanding ageing. A promising more to the elegant side wine that requires food. 13% abv. 

Domestic market 19,90 €

Red wines - international varieties

Papoutsis, Rigma Merlot 2021 

Atalanti - Fthiotis: Merlot, with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in oak barrels for nine months. Aromas of red cherry and red plum, sweet spices, fresh acidity on the palate, medium body, medium relatively dry tannins and a moderate finish. Rather woody. Could do with more fruit definition—13,6% abv.

Domestic market 9 €

Avantis, Collection Syrah 2019 

The flagship wine from Avantis winery based in Evia. Single vineyard from Afrati, Central Evia it sees extended maceration spending 18 months in new French oak, blended from selected barrels and bottled unfiltered. Aromas of red and black fruit, violets, yeasty notes, fresh acidity, chewy tannins, a body on the fuller side, and a longish peppery finish. 14% abv is very well integrated, and this is the case with oak use as well—a seriously serious wine with structure, power, and a delicate balance.

Domestic market 67 €

Muses, Syrah 2020

Waxed Closure. Aromas of black cherry, black plum, blackberry and sweet spices, and floral notes, the fruit is more wild berries on the palate. Fresh and structured with a medium-full body and a longish finish. Well crafted and rewarding.

Domestic market 23 €

Lykos, Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Waxed closure again. Farmed organically, it spends 18 months in oak. Aromas of redcurrant and black cherry, slightly floral with a whiff of capsicum pepper. Beautifully fresh and persistent on the palate with 14.5% abv, which is well integrated.

Domestic market 26,50 €

Hatzimahali, Opous 2015 Cabernet France

Impressive Opous Cabernet Franc new vintage, following legendary 2004, perfumed like a lavender flower, fresh like autumn sea breeze but tight and powerful like a wrestler with firm tannins and ripe fruit. A top expression of the variety in Greece and a highlight in our tasting.

Domestic market 43,50 €


Pine Forest Ritinitis Gikas Winery

From vineyards in Northern Attica, growing on sandy clay soils at 400m altitude. Sweet lemon, melon, banana, slightly floral with honey notes. Fresh acidity, medium body, medium finish. The resin was almost undetectable. 13% abv. Lovely effort here.

Domestic market 12,50 €

Bottles were weighed full before the tasting

Kyathos Rosé 1268 gr
Philoktitis Rosé 1194gr
Rigma 1180gr
Mouhtaro Muses Estate 1516gr (too heavy)
Mouhtaro Samartzis Estate 1378gr
Mouhtaro Katrisiosis 1604gr (too heavy)
Merlot/Mouhtaro Barrique Samartzis Estate 1456gr (could be lighter)
Hermit Akriotou Microwinery 1438gr
Vradiano/Merlot Gikas Winery 1504gr (too heavy)
Syrah Collection Avantis Estate 1562gr (too heavy)
Syrah Muses Estate 1572gr (too heavy)
Cabernet Sauvignon Lykos Winery 1612gr (too heavy)
Pine Forest Ritinitis 1306gr

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