New Wave Greek Wines: Zafeirakis New Age Limniona 2018
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
Greek whites are steadily on their way up. From the textural and aromatic virtues of Vidiano and Robola to the saltiness of Assyrtiko, with some stardust from Moschofilero and Malagousia, wines made from these varieties have often made a loud statement on the international markets. Elegance is the quality that has increasingly been adopted by Greek winemakers. Albeit, the shift for Greek reds has been slower, and they have often been criticised for heavy use of oak and overipeness.
Nevertheless, one notices a fresh approach among new releases with a more hands-off perspective and a lighter touch. This has made my palate happy, and I have felt proud of the evolution of Greek wine. The new age Limniona from Christos Zafeirakis is a notable example. This is the fruitier, more ethereal, version of Limniona; a variety that Zafeirakis has invested a lot in and he first produced in 2008.
This is a wine produced from the classic soils of Tyrnavos in Thessalia, Central Greece, rich in flint (pictured below, credit http://domainezafeirakis.gr/), and from young vines, which are 10 years of age and cultivated organically. Zafeirakis is an evangelist of spontaneous fermentation and large oak barrel maturation. In the New Age Limniona, he uses large 5-ton foudres for 12 months maturation. And the result is undetectable oak; like a cloud, almost invisible.
Aromatically the New Age Limniona 2018 bursts with vibrant and almost crunchy red cherries alongside dark roses, mint and some savoury notes. There is lovely purity and definition on the palate with silky tannins cutting through the wine’s delicate body—long, persistent and mineral aftertaste. Like an excellent quality Beaujolais Cru, it delivers much pleasure and shows the way. An all-year-round pleasure. What it lacks in complexity it gains in purity.
12.8% abv, Total Acidity (gr tartaric acid/lt): 5.4, Total SO2 (mgr/lt): 60, pH: 3.58,
Altitude 200-300 m, Soil: Clay with high calcium concentration, Yield: 90hl/ha, Age of vines: 8-12 years, Date of harvest: 25 September 2018