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08 December 2016

Top Wines of Greece tasted in 2016

In my brand new ebook ''The Vineyards and Wines of Greece 2017" which can be downloaded from this link, I have included a top 10 for Assyrtikos, for whites and reds produced from indigenous varieties but also from international ones along my top sweet wines where Greece excels for centuries. But which are the wines that scored the highest in 2016? 

The Whites (highest scores of 94/100 and 93/100)

Avantis Estate, Afoura 2013

PDO Santorini    

Winemaker Apostolos Moudrichas based in Evia Island takes his chance vinifying Assyrtiko in Santorini. The Afoura version which is partly matured in oak (there is also the unoaked Dolphins) shows a honeyed - golden colour and a complex bouquet of pears, tarte tatin with creamy biscuity notes. Full throttled and oaky on the palate with a vanilla layer on top of a dense core of peach fruit. Really long finish. 2016-2019. 94/100

T-Oinos, Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2011

Tinos Island

From the stunning Stegasta vineyard in Falatados Tinos, this is a great example of a top Assyrtiko outside Santorini. This is in fact so stunning that makes a lot of top Santorinis blush with its combination of purity and elegance. Super fresh on the nose with citrus fruit and minerals along evolving honeyed character. Salty, layered and detailed on the palate this is a gem. 2016-2022. 94/100

Argyros Estate, Estate Argyros 2015 

PDO Santorini

The flagship Santorini of Argyros Estate, (a more mineral unoaked version called Assyrtiko can also be found- though not so easily in its country of origin!), is consistently one of the best Greek whites. Produced from really old vines up to 150 years of age and matured in 20% 500 lts French oak it manages to combine an intense ripe stone fruit character with an added layer from oak maturation. Lots of minerality and precision with a long lasting finish. A beauty. 2017-2025. 93/100

Gaia Estate, Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2015

PDO Santorini

For someone used only on the mineral side of the variety this one comes as a surprise with its luxurious oak on top. That oak is however very well defined and nutty followed by a layered palate with high concentration and a long finish. A Burgundian impressive expression of Assyrtiko. 2017-2022. 93/100

Karadimos, Palaiokastra Malagousia 2015


Very complex wine with density of fruit, tension and excellent integration of oak. Palate is layered with a long scented juicy finish. (6m in oak on the lees, planted at 440m). 2016-2018 93/100

Sigalas, Kavalieros 2014 

PDO Santorini

A single vineyard Assyrtiko fermented in stainless steel tank and staying on its lees for 18 months. Colour is medium to light straw with green hues. Complex and refined nose of lime, lemon blossom, chalky minerality and scents of green pears and iodine.  Full-bodied and dense yet crispy and vibrant with bright acidity and a long aftertaste. Still very youthful. A Santorinian star. 2016-2024. 93/100

T-Oinos, Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2015

Tinos Island

The current release of T-Oinos Assyrtiko is still firm on the nose with a mineral and citrus fruit core along some herbal notes. The magic appears on the palate where the wine is very textural with impressive complexity for its age. Pure and mineral driven. (partly matured in 2 tonnes wooden casks for 7 months). 2018-2025. 93/100

Paris Sigalas

The Reds (highest scores of 95 and 94/100)

Avantis Estate, Agios Chronos (Holy Time) 2011

Evia Island

Perfumed nose with violets, black fruit and smoke. Balanced, juicy and layered on the palate with velvety tannins and a lingering finish, this delivers a lot of elegance as well. A Côte-Rôtie inspired blend of 92% Syrah and 8% Viognier and a great effort by Avantis Estate. 2016-2019. 95/100

Dalamara, Vignes Franches 2009

PDO Naoussa

From a combination of own rooted pre-phylloxera vines of 100 years of age (in Paliokalias vineyard) and younger 30 years old, own-rooted as well planted in Vanto (where the winery is located) this is a heart stopping and complete Naoussa. Fantastic oak integration (old oak 4th use) adding complexity to a layered nose of violets, roses, bright red fruit and savoury notes. More silky than velvety on the palate and more top Burgundy than Barolo, this is a very hard to find masterpiece (production is only 250 bottles) with very refined tannins that resemble fine steel rather than Lego bricks. Purity of fruit, finesse, long finish, all are there. 2016-2030. 95/100

T-Oinos, Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano 2013

Tinos island

Profound wine with impeccable balance on the palate, huge but refined - almost Burgundian - tannins. Layered, detailed and pure, this is a top example of red Greek wine with tremendous depth of fruit combining power and elegance. An opulent wine that is at the same time light on its feet! (Single vineyard from Rassonas in Falatados, terraces, 1500 bottles, 18 hl/ha, whole bunches in open top fermenters, 24 months in 400 lts). 2016-2020+. 95/100

Boutari, Legacy 2007

PDO Naoussa

From Trilofos region this is the first super premium Naoussa which is of course a single-vineyard one from Bas-Karter. Deep smoky and meaty nose with a lovely array of aromas like fresh cherries, pepper, violets and vegetal hints. Impressive complexity on the palate which is packed with firm but ripe tannins. Layered, powerful for the long run. 2017-2027. 94/100

Dalamara, Vignes Franches 2012

PDO Naoussa

Aromatic nose with intense dark cherries and plums with hints of roses. Tight, focused with fine grained tannins and high concentration. Still awkward but will come together over the next 5 years. 2018-2028. 94/100

Kir-Yianni , Ramnista 2012

PDO Naoussa

Youthful nose with roses, cherries and sweet spice. Nice oak integration overall. Refined palate with solid tannins, multi-layered with fruit purity and depth. Excellent Xinomavro effort for ageing with a deep and fleshy core. 2018-2025. 94/100 

Thymiopoulos, Earth and Sky 2012   

PDO Naoussa  

Mineral nose with strawberry and light vegetal scents. Roses! Ripe on the palate, dense and persistent. Seminar, sweet tannins. A winner Xinomavro with amazing depth of fruit and concentrated mid-palate. This is top class!  2017-2027. 94/100

Stellios Boutaris 

The Sweets (scoring 94 to 97/100)

Argyros, Vinsanto 20 Years Barrel Aged 1992

Fantastic Vinsanto, long layered with amazing complexity and impeccable balance. Nose is expressed by a minimum of 20 aromas. Great character and class. Greece’s sweet perfection. 2016-2100. 97/100

Argyros, Vinsanto 12 Years Barrel Aged 2000

An excellent wine of great complexity and individuality that offers a fantastic aromatic array of walnuts, dried plums, coffee and figs, with real flesh on the palate and persistent finish. Fresher than the 20 years Argyros, still extraordinary. 2016-2050. 96/100

Argyros, Vinsanto 4 Years Barrel Aged 2008

Caramel, figs and coffee on the nose followed by a layered palate with persistent finish. Terrific value for money Vinsanto to be enjoyed without remorse. 2016-2040.95/100

Samos Union, Nectar 1980

Naturally sun-dried Muscat matured for about three decades in oak. Aromatic spectrum leaves you speechless with fantastic balance of freshness and evolution. Very few bottles were released from just a single barrel. Majestic. 2016-2050. 94/100

Gavalas, Vinsanto 2009

Raisins, coffee and figs on the nose. Traditional and quite oaky on the palate with a long finish. Great balance of bright acid with residual sugars. 2016-2040. 94/100

Karamolegos, Vinsanto 2007

Absolutely brilliant Vinsanto from Karamolegos winery. Fleshy and rich with perfectly integrated acidity. More like Sigalas style rather than Argyros. 2016-2040. 94/100

Monemvasia winery, Malvasia 2010

Revival of a historic style of wine by George Tsimbidis. Blend of Monemvasia, Assyrtiko and Kydonitsa that mature in oak for 24 months, this shows fascinating aromas of dried fruits, caramel, toffee and nuts and an endless sweetness but wonderfully balanced by crisp acidity. 2016-2030. 94/100

Nopera, Epitome PDO Samos

A kind of Solera selection from vintages 2006-2013 expressing a marvellous array of aromas like dark chocolate, chestnut cream, fig paste, and honey. Very long and smooth it is a gem. 2016-2040. 94/100

Tatsis, 2011 Sweet Xinomavro and Negoska

A Greek unicorn wine once produced so far from noble rot affected grapes in Goumenissa, Macedonia. Just 4320 half bottles out of 4.5 hectares! Cloudy and unfiltered with a complex nose very much like Tokaji, scented with honeycomb aromas, caramel and an earthy dimension. Beautiful! Sweet but not heavy or cloying due to wine’s sharp acidity that cuts like a knife. Precise, unique with character. 2016-2030. 94/100

The 100/100

Boutari, Naoussa 1969

A Greek treasure that first tasted five years ago and still remembered the bouquet before re-tasting it. Saline notes, noble leather, spices at least another five aromas composed an extraordinary nose. Like a hug on the palate with perfect harmony and balance. Amazing sophistication. 100/100

My ebook The Vineyards and Wines of Greece can be downloaded via my blog and the following link 


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