SuperNormal: Moropoulos Mantinia 2018
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 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.
Moropoulos Mantinia 2018
A new release by the Moropoulos family winery in Mantinia, and the first vintage of Lefteris Anagnostou (winemaker of Karamolegos in Santorini). Brother and sister Kostas and Georgia Moropoulos own 12 hectares of land and are devoted to the cultivation of Moschofilero. Their total production amounts to 11,000 bottles for Mantinia and 6500 for their rosé wine. Farming has been the tradition of the Moropoulos family for generations, but the vineyard was planted in the '90s. The average age of the vines is 15 years, and approximately 4 hectares of these are farmed organically. Their first winemaking attempt was made in 2015, on a very small scale. Their production is still quite limited, despite the quality of their raw material, and that is because they want to have time to assess the dynamics of each separate vineyard.
Moropoulos is one of the most typical examples of what one would consider a boutique winery in Greece, not only because of the size of the winery, but also because of the mentality of the family. They cultivate the vineyards themselves, they started from scratch and have genuine motivation. The winery is making choices which are targeted at making a mark in one of the important PDO regions of Greece; a region which has been expressed by the larger wineries up to now, whether inside or outside the boundaries of the region. The potential of the winery is promising, due to the quality of the privately owned vineyards, and new ideas are in store. They are contemplating the production of a certified organic Mantinia (a significant part of the 2018 blend is made up of the organic vineyard), acquirement of a vineyard with old vines and new plantings at a higher altitude.
2018 was a fairly difficult vintage. It rained during the harvest, there was hail just before that, and the crop ripened unevenly due to the increased production (compared to 2017 or 2016).
The wine: Tight and focused on the nose, it delivers floral and citrus scents as the wine develops in the glass. Gorgeous citrus and jasmine with hints of minerality. On the palate it is very fresh, with mouthwatering acidity, and a long spicy finish. The purity of fruit and the impressive structure of the wine makes the difference. Surprisingly salty and defined, with a grippy finish. Definitely not an ordinary Moschofilero. (13% abv, pH 3.08, TA 6.6, 5.5 m on the lees). Greece&Grapes €9.90
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