The White Wines of Central Greece - moving forward
By Yiannis Karakasis MW & Olga Antoniadou
Unpacking wines sent for a tasting can be quite a feat. Metres and metres of cellophane tape, with layers of bubble plastic, inside boxes. One wonders at the patience and care of the person who boxed the wines to ensure they reached their destination intact and at the "im" patience of the person who unboxed the 36 bottles of this tasting. Quite an environmental burden if one considers the wines sent around the world for tastings. But that is a whole discussion on its own.
On the brighter side, tasting wines can only be exciting and, alas, rather tiring. The wines in this tasting were from wineries that participated in the Central Wine Fair (an annual wine fair of the Wines of Central Greece) and included white wines, rosé wines and reds, plus three resinated. This article will cover the white wines tasted, while another post will follow.
Our overall impression was more than positive. It was a pleasure to see so many well-made wines, fruit-forward and pleasant, with some progressing to the next level highlighting terroir complexity. The picture is clear. From one side, many 'smaller' wineries have slowly added to the wine scene; from the other, the 'larger' wineries have fine-tuned wines that have been on the market for some time. Winemakers are experimenting with the different available methods to enhance the aromatic complexity of the wines and add to the structure with cold soaking pre-fermentation, lees ageing and some barrel ageing and /or fermentation.
Samartzis, Klepsidra Malagousia 2022
A wine made from vines that are 25 years old at 400m altitude in the Muses Valley of Boeotia. A lovely expression of the variety with aromas of stone fruit, quince, orange, tropical fruit, jasmine and chamomile. A slightly oily character on the palate, 12,5% abv finely balanced by fresh acidity. Gentle with a long lemony aftertaste. A wine that makes you happy with every sip and a standout in our tasting.
Domestic market 9.80€
Petriessa, Malagousia 2022
From Vathy in Avlida. 6 hours of cold soaking, made from free-run juice, with some lees ageing. A wine that shows a balance of fruit and zesty acidity scented with stone fruit, citrus rind, and some herbal and floral notes. Medium-bodied on the palate with a solid finish. Very pleasant and straightforward as well.
Domestic market 6.50€
Agatsa, Ianthi 2022
Another aromatic wine from Thiva in Boeotia that undergoes cold soaking for 4 hours before fermentation and shows intense aromas of pear drops, banana, and apple cake, slightly minty and lemony on the palate, fresh acidity and a moderate finish. Very pleasant to begin with, but the aromas faded after a while in the glass. This one needed more concentration, but otherwise, it is very lively.
Domestic market 5.50€
Skoubris, Malagousia 2022
A wine from Evia that shows aromas of apple, pear, and lemon, and a greener grassy character, more bitter lemon on the palate, a whiff of nail varnish, acidity not very balanced with the fruit and a moderate finish. A wine that could do with more refinement.
Domestic market 8.10€
Lykos, Malagousia 2022
A wine from Evia and vines that grow on sandstone and clay soils at 200m elevation with wild ferment noted on the back label. Restrained on the nose, with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, and a slight minty character which becomes more apple and pineapple on the palate, a body on the lighter side, medium acidity and a longish finish. Charming and thirst-quenching Malagousia.
Domestic market 12.50€
Hatzimihalis, Malagousia Drios 2022
A wine from the valley of Atalanti that shows aromas of apple, pear, ripe stone fruit, slightly smoky notes and unripe lime on the nose that becomes more grapefruit, tropical and floral on the palate. Fresh acidity, a relatively long finish, with a deep fruited palate filled with creamy oak. 13,5% abv. An exciting oaky interpretation of the variety and another standout in our tasting.
Domestic market 13.50€
Evampelos Gi, Sauvignon Blanc 2022
From Domokos of the Fthiotis region at 400 m elevation. A wine that is medium gold in colour and shows lemony, herbal, and green aromas, with notes of asparagus and wet wool. 12,5% abv, medium acidity and a longish finish. Satisfying.
Avantis Estate, Sauvignon Blanc 2022
A wine from Evia bottled under screwcap that is medium gold coloured and shows aromas of tropical, citrus and stone fruit and a slightly minty character. Fresh acidity, 12.8% abv and a longish finish. An excellent all-round wine could do with a little more structure on the palate.
Domestic market 12.77€
Petriessa Assyrtiko 2021
6 hours of cold soaking, made from free-run juice, with some lees ageing. Medium lemon in colour with aromas of ripe citrus fruit, apple, stone fruit like peach and some greener fruit like grapes. 12,5% abv with medium acidity and a longish finish. Well-made and enjoyable.
Katrisiossis, Assyrtiko 2021
From a winery in Thiva and, as it says on the label, a single vineyard, the wine has been aged in oak. Aromas of citrus fruit, peach, quince paste, apple, pear, myrrh, and rose Turkish delight. A body on the fuller side with 13,5% abv, medium acidity and a longish finish makes this wine inviting. Really loved this one, especially for those looking for some creaminess in their Assyrtiko.
Vriniotis Iama 2021
A delicious 60% Assyrtiko and 40% Malagousia blend driven by Assyrtiko's brightness and supplemented by the fruity core of perfumed Malagousia. Medium bodied with 12.7% abv shows very well. Precise and pure, with a slight creaminess on the finish.
Domestic market 13€
Vriniotis, Assyrtiko sur Lies 2021
Different aromatically than Santorini, more floral, Riesling-like sharing, however, the same signature on the palate: freshness, razor-sharp acidity, salty minerality around a fruity core. Long lasting finish and lots of flavour with only 13% abv. Consistently one of the best Assyrtikos in the country.
Domestic market 27.30€
Papoutsis, Asproyes 2022
Malagousia & Chardonnay. From Papoutsis winery in Atalanti this is certified for organic cultivation with vineyards growing on limestone soils. Aromas of white blossom, stone fruit, oranges and a note of melon, fresh on the palate, 12,5% abv with a medium body and a failry long finish. Effortless and delightful blend.
Domestic market 9.00€
Mikro Ktima, Kyathos 2022
A wine from Mytikas of Evia under a screwcap closure. Scented with aromas of basil, primrose flowers, and citrus fruit and, despite its 12,5% abv, is slightly warm on the palate. Medium-bodied with a somewhat oily texture. In need of refinement.
F by Foivos Papastratis 2021
Assyrtiko & Muscat a petit grains in equal parts. A wine from Mytikas of Evia that has seen six months lees ageing in tank and bottled under screwcap. Aromas of ripe apple, grapes, grapefruit and stone fruit, rose petals, 13% abv with a medium body, fresh acidity and longish finish. Very good for this style of wine.
Domestic market 12.20€
Foivos, Paralia Single Vineyard 2021
Muscat a petit grains and Assyrtiko again from a single vineyard in Lilandio, Evia. 6 months lees ageing in tank, foot trodden, no mechanical means used in vinification. The label is fun and fresh. Aromas of yeast, ripe red apple, quince and stone fruit, slightly oxidative, 12,5% abv. with a medium body, fresh acidity and a longish finish. An intriguing and thought-provoking food wine.
Domestic market 18€
Akriotou The Wild Mountaineer 2021
Savatiano from Plataies of Boeotia. Made from 60-year-old vines and ambient yeast fermentation, it spends ten months on the lees and is bottled unfiltered. Aromas of flowers, stone fruit, honey notes and minerality on the palate, 12% abv., a medium body, fresh acidity and a longish finish. A thrilling food wine and a standout in our tasting.
Domestic market 13,80€
Avantis, Lenga 2022
Gewurtztraminer from Avantis Estate. Off-dry, shows the typical aromas of the variety, rose petals, tropical fruit, stone fruit, and spice. 13% abv, the body is on the lighter side, with fresh acidity that balances the off-dry character. Easy drinking and pleasant.
Domestic market 11,80€
Bottles weighed before tasting the wines, including content:
Klepsidra 1280 gr
Petriessa Malagousia 1294 gr
Ianthi 1314 gr
Malagousia Skoubris 1280 gr
Lykos Malagousia 1284 gr
Hatzimihalis Dryos 1250 gr
Evampelos Sauvignon Blanc 1186 gr
Avantis Sauvignon Blanc 1200 gr
Petriessa Assyrtiko 1298 gr
Katrisiossis Assyrtiko 1598 gr (could be lighter)
Vriniotis Iama 1250 gr
Vriniotis Sur Lies 1408 gr
Papoutsis Asproyes 1176 gr
Kyathos 1194 gr
F by Foivos Papastratis 1180 gr
Paralia by Foivos 1288 gr
Akriotou The Wild Mountaineer 1438 gr (could be lighter)
Avantis Lenga 1578 (could be lighter)