10 November 2019

SuperNormal: Aoton Savatiano 2017

Ι have contemplated the question of value and wine for quite some time and it seems to me that wine has become an increasingly expensive affair, in the last few years. The prices of quite a few wines have rocketed so high that they have become more of an asset, a luxury brand or a trophy, rather than a drink made of the complex development of grape juice that is meant to be savoured, appreciated, shared and, most of all enjoyed. And despite the fact that these wines are ultimately beautiful it makes you wonder if wine is losing (in some cases) its essence and perhaps its soul.

Nowadays, as soon as a bottle of wine becomes well known and sought after, it takes little more than a few vintages before its price spirals upwards. And, I'm not only referring to the top regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone. This column arose from my perception of an empty space. The legendary wines are often praised by all but can be afforded by very few. Nevertheless, there didn't seem to be much written about wines that are distinctive, interesting, and sensibly priced. Suggestions of wines with character, that are actually an amazing bargain for their quality. So, here I will be focusing on beautiful, top value, wines that should not be missed. Of course, I had to set a reasonable upper limit; exactly the point of this column. The limit for wines from Greece is up to 15 euros and for those from around the world, up to 35 euros. Welcome to the world of super+normal. 

Aoton Savatiano 2017

When people talk about Savatiano, the producers that mostly come to mind are Papagiannakos and, more recently, Mylonas, Markou, Frangou and Kokotos. But, there is a rebel out there. An underdog, named Aoton (an ancient Greek word that defines the finest specimen of its class) represented by 4th generation winemaker Sotiris Ginis. Sotiris is an oenologsit who is dedicated to quality and the evidence towards this is: ''I did not release 2016 and 2018 at all, because the vintages were mediocre'' he says. 

The winery owns 10 hectares of land which are cultivated organically (organic certification underway) and produces no more than 20,000 bottles. Ginis a firm believer of the undiscovered virtues of Savatiano has a very well defined opinion of what he is looking for in the variety. ''I like the ripe, almost late harvest Savatiano, which is gathered at the end of September because it expresses a depth of fruit and complexity,'' he argues. In the winery he definitely embraces low interventions; his wines are spontaneously fermented for 20 to 30 days following a night harvest. ''I like grapes when they are crunchy and fresh, there is a big difference when you harvest at night. You need to taste the grapes to understand what I'm saying," he continues. The must is fermented with the skins, but every day a part is removed; think of it as a partial saignée method. Total sulfites are around 30-40 mg/lt.

The wine: First tasted in April and the rating I gave was 91/100. Retasted in September and I am still very impressed with it. The colour is almost gold. This is an Alsatian take on Savatiano, bold and powerful with a nutty nose, but lots of freshness as well. Herbal notes add to complexity. For all the ripeness on the palate there is also vivacity and high energy, with a vein of fine acidity and a super long finish. Congratulations are the least one could offer.

Find at Greece&Grapes 7.40€

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