05 September 2018

The Wines of Tinos island

In my previous post (more here) I, quite extensively, discussed the synthesis of producers and wine styles in one of the most promising Greek terroirs. Tinos island. This is exactly what I find intriguing about the island. Since terroir is more or less shared, in Falatados in particular, – as it consists of granitic free drained sand - the excitement arises from the different philosophies of the producers, and how each one tries to express the varieties. 

Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano have paved the way mainly due to the Clos Stegasta wines of the Toinos winery, that have created a cult following. Nevertheless, there is a discussion over other local grapes such as Aspro Potamisi, Mavro Potamisi, Koumariano and Rozaki, the latter a table grape now allowed to be vinified. In the future, these may add some extra spice to the excitement, but, at this point, it is too early to judge. Time will tell. 

What to try:

Domaine de Kalathas Vorias 2017
Rozaki planted with northern exposure, matured on the lees for 8 months, no battonage and 12.5% abv from 60-150 years old crawling vines. Fresh herbal and distinctive, with soft acid and roundness.

Domaine de Kalathas 10+12 2017
Aspro Potamisi from Livaderi up to 200 years old from Kalathas and Mirsini regions. Golden coloured with fresh almond and guava in the nose. Fat and fresh this is a distinctive, gastronomic and delicious wine. Among my favourites from Jerome Binda. 

Domaine de Kalathas Sainte-Obéissance 2017
14.5% abv, this is a blend of Aspro Potamisi and table grape Rozaki. Old vines. Mostly ripe and exotic on the nose with a honeyed finish. 2.500 bottles in total.

Domaine de Kalathas Sainte-Obéissance 2016 
Still on the lees with 7.5 grams of residual sugar and 14.2% abv. Sweetness is well balanced by the wine’s iodine finish. Very textural and rewarding wine with an impressive evolution in time. 

Domaine de Kalathas Kokkinaki 2017
A blend of native Koumariano, Koundoura (Mandilaria) and Mavro Potamisi in a light red style. Charming nose, strawberries and roses. Intriguing on the palate, refined and peppery, a perfect summer wine. 

A note on the wines of Kalathas: The wines of Jerome Binda are constantly evolving improving year by year due to the restless character of Binda. What is more important is that he decided to work with old vines and varieties such as Aspro Potamisi that have so far very little expressed and worked with.

Toinos Malagousia 2017
(12.5% abv with 3.2 pH and 4.45 TA). Slightly floral and herbal with bright mouthwatering acidity this is very pure and long. Excellent. I would age that for 2-3 years. 

Toinos Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2017
A combination of oak 20%, amphora 5% and inox used. 6 months maturation on the lees with 3.03 pH and 5.3 TA. Wonderful with crystaline purity, precision and clarity of fruit. Mineral and super long. Lives up to its myth. 

Toinos Rare Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2017
Unreleased yet. 2000 bottles. Smoky with match stick reduction and a kiss of oak. This one is matured only in amphora and barriques. A Burgundy from Tinos. Would love to see it blind next to a top notch one. Outstanding.

Toinos Mavrose 2017
A blend of Avgoustiatis and Mavrotragano with a pale rosé colour, yet with plenty of substance and structure, even some light tannins. Exciting and underrated rosé, but in reality one of the best in Greece. 13% abv.  

Toinos Mavro 2016
The middle, often ignored, label of Toinos is reintroduced with 100% Mavrotragano since the 2016 vintage. This is absolutely delicious, matured in 30% new Taransaud oak with fine grained tannins and lovely acidity. Rich not heavy with solid potential.

Toinos Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano 2016
1150 bottles will be released to the market, next year. Deep violet colour with massive tannins yet stylish and already approachable. Could it rival the legendary 2013?

A note on the wines of Toinos: These are some of the most crystalline crafted wines in the country full of character and tension. Moreover they age gracefully as the 2011 Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko has proven. The 2017s whites are impressive, the reds are improving year by year. Would love to see less oak in some of them and more focus on freshness and texture. 

Tripotamos Vineyards XBOURGO white 2017

100% Assyrtiko, that matures on the lees. Explosive nose, minerally smoked, with notes of biscuits around a core of extremely pure fruit. Taut, thick yet tense and precise; it almost floats like water in a river. An outstanding mineral Assyrtiko, that confirms the huge potential of the island. 

Tripotamos Vineyards XBOURGO red 2017
Blend of 70% Mavrotragano and 30% Mavrothiliko. Crushed peppercorns, juicy blackberries and superb oak on the nose. Textural, more elegant than rich (alcohol at 13.9%) with nicely played tannins and a strong umami character on the finish. Fascinating!

A note on the wines of Tripotamos: Impressive maiden effort from a great terroir next to Exombourgo rock. I can’t wait to taste the next vintage because if this is the start things can only be brilliant. 

Vaptistis White  2017
A blend of 70% Assyrtiko and 30% Mandilaria that spends 6 months on the lees and shows a yeasty, marzipan-like aromatic profile, with a nice balance of ripeness and freshness. A textural wine, with 12% abv. 

Vaptistis Red 2017
70% Mandilaria, which is traditionally quite tannic and robust, along with 30% Mavrothiriko. Floral, with black fruit on the nose and a touch of oak leading the way to a fresh and slightly tannic palate. A promising wine with capricious Madilaria nicely handled.

A note on the wines of Vaptistis: This is a work in progress that I expect to improve with the new winery built in the island which will permit better control of the grapes. Yiannis Moraitis - Vaptistis is a very passionate and determined person fully devoted to the project, so I would expect great things in the future. 

Volacus Malagousia 2017 
13.2% abv, 6 months on the lees, produced in 1.700 bottles. Tight and focused, with ripe apple, peach and green tea aromas. Structured, salty and very mineral, with mouthwatering acidity. Definitely not the Malagousia we know, but rather, a new intriguing interpretation of the variety. A must try.  

A note on the wines of Volacus: 2017 has been the third vintage for Volacus producing nowadays one of the most characterful Malagousia in Greece. Michalis Kondizas is a hard worker, a farmer who has further invested in buying more land. 2017 saw the release of the maiden vintage of Assyrtiko which when tasted was very tight due to the very recent bottling. The best is yet to come for the winery.