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11 June 2016

Stunning Red Greek wines for the summer

As we have already entered summer time it is more or less a standard procedure to drink more white wines than reds. Yet if alcohol is moderate and tannins are to the low side, reds can actually provide an adventurous alternative especially for dishes that include red meat, strong cheeses and why not intense fish like salmon or tuna.

Chill them and use a cooler for serving and I am sure you will be rewarded. 

What is happening now with Greek reds? Well, they seem to be at crossroads with a motion perhaps for more elegance and less extraction which I favour and would indeed wish to see a trend here. Add to that less new oak and especially American oak and I am a happy man. I hope that this grows over the next couple of years and becomes the norm.

For the time being, I have carefully selected some reds for you that can provide an excellent companion for the summer dishes, nights and adventures.

Domaine Porto Carras Limneon 2013

Possibly the most ancient Greek variety still in production, Limnio gives wines of finesse and immediate pleasure not lacking in complexity. This one from historic Domaine Porto Carras is perfumed with bright red fruit and black pepper. There is no new oak here since the average age of barrels is 5 years. There is a touch of leather as well adding to complexity. Juicy, mineral, fresh with moderate tannins it has grip and lovely structure. 90/100. Drink  2016-2020. Sells at Greek market at 10 euros retail.

Kikones Limnio 2013

From the land of the Kikones (ancient population of Thrace) comes the second single varietal Limnio wine produced in Greece. Detailed, precise with purity of fruit it shows nice balance between ripeness of fruit (mostly plums and black cherries) and spicy expression of liquorice and vanilla. Supple, burgundian in texture with 30% new oak this is very enjoyable. 90/100. Drink 2016-2018. Sells at Greek market at 16 euros retail price.

Melissinos Mavro 2014

Mavrodaphne was traditionally producing sweet wines until Euriviades (Vladis) Sclavos started delivering dry wines in 1996 with his benchmark Orgion. Tannins are moderate and if well played Mavrodaphne can be one of the most fascinating Greek wines. This Mavro from boutique winery Melissinos (20.000 bottles overall) shows a complex savoury and plummy nose with a mineral and savoury edge. Elegant and refined on the palate with very fine tannins it overdelivers. 92/100. 2016-2020+

Douloufakis Dafnios Liatiko 2014

Nikos Douloufakis is among the most respected producers in Crete for his hard work and vision on the indigenous varieties especially Vidiano and Liatiko. His red Dafnios from breathtaking Liatiko (he has also a white Dafnios from star variety Vidiano) is delicately scented with spices and red cherries leading to a medium palate with 13.5% abv with lots of sweet fruit. Matured in 2nd and 3rd use oak for 9 months. 89/100 Drink 2016-2019. Sells at Greek market at 8 euros retail price so this is a bargain.

Palivou Estate Νemea 2014

This textbook Nemea is an excellent expression of Agiorgitiko variety with vivacious red fruit and excellent oak integration (70% 2nd and 3rd use and 30% new). Concentrated yet retaining finesse this is delicious and shows the potential of the variety if not overextracted. 90/100 Drink 2016-2020. Sells at Greek market at 10 euros retail price.

Averoff Rossiu di Munte Vlachiko 2011

The premium line up Rossiu di Munte from Averoff Estate including also a Cabernet Sauvignon called Yiniets, a Pinot Noir and a Syrah-Traminer is simply irresistible. Vlachiko is indigenous to the area of Epirus in western Greece and its name means ‘’countryman”. It produces wines that are light yet with lots of flavour. The Averoff version is pale coloured, perfumed and silky on the palate with terrific depth of fruit and delicacy. Alcohol is just 12% abv and new oak around 20%. Produced in just 1381 bottles from 15 years old vines at 725 m. 91/100. Drink 2016-2022. Sells at 22.50 euros retail.

Theopetra Estate Limniona 2012

Last but not least the herbal scented late ripening Limniona varety. Ripe and spicy on the nose with layers of black fruits, yet with refreshing acidity on the palate that balances nicely the full character of the wine. Velvety with fairly long finish. 89/100. 2016-2022. Sells at 16.50 euros retail market in Greece.

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