02/12/19 Greek Wine Tasting
I am as guilty as anyone about having stereotypical thoughts about Greek Wine. Just the words together conjure up scents of pine resin (Retsina). I could not have been further off base. Every single one of the wines I tasted were elegant, polished and unique. Give Greek wines a try - you will be amazed at the quality of good ones!
Wine Art Estate Malagousia Plano (Macedonia) - Pale gold with green flashes. On the nose, stone fruit and grass - white peach? On the palate, gooseberry/grapefruit - this drinks much like a Sauvignon Blanc. Tart, crisp with a long finish of lemon fruit mid palate. Dry, medium body.
Carras Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko is the premium grape of Greece. It is a white grape and produced, in this example, a pale yellow wine with notes of tangerine on the nose. Tart, dry with a tangy tangerine citrus note on the palate. 50% neutral oak/50% stainless. Medium plus body. Works well as a substitute for either Vermentino or Chardonnay.
Gavalas Santorini Assyrtiko. The Greek island of Santorini is a volcanic island. Virtually no vegetation unless it is cultivated. The soils are primarily pumice. Vines are trained like wreaths, coiled up on the ground to keep the fruit close to the earth to prevent wind damage. No irrigation is permitted. Rootstocks go back 500-600 years. This harsh environment produces a wine of extravagant extraction and concentration of fruit. The wine was pale yellow with green tint. From 80-100 year old vines,. Rich stone fruit on the palate. Very polished. Not a lot of minerality as one might expect.
La Tour Melas Rose. Pale salmon color. Spicy, faint hint of petrol minerality. Maybe wild red berry nose, tart strawberry on the palate. Very like a fruit forward Provencal rose. Medium fruit, light body, bright acidity fades quickly.
Moraitis Rose. North of Santorini, on the mainland, soils are primarily sandy. The wine is a dark pink color. Minerality on the nose. Bright acidity and dark red berry fruit on the palate. Long finish, acidity is almost effervescent.
Pavilou Nemea (Agiorgitiko). Medium ruby color, roses and blackberry fruit on the nose. Berry/cherry fruit on the palate. Soft tannin, acidity in balance. Medium body and alcohol. Long finish, mid palate.
Moraitis Paros Reserve. Mandelaria (red grape) & Monemvassia (white grape - related to Malvasia) are co-fermented like Cote Rotie. 80% French oak, 20% American oak. Bright acidity, tight textural tannin. Crushed cherry and berry flavors about mid-way between fresh fruit and stewed fruit. Medium finish. This drinks like a cross between Sangiovese and Merlot. Perhaps not the biggest wine in the world but very refined.