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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learning About Greek #Wine via #winestudio

For the past few weeks, Tina and Guy have been introducing us to Greek wine during their Mondya night #winestudio chats. Their schedule can be found at  Protocol Wine Studio. My knowledge of Greek wine is very basic, almost singularly geared towwards Santorini. Thus during #winestudio, I was able to learn about other growing regions such as the Macedonian region of Northern Greece, the Peloponnese, and other Aegean Islands.  The final night, I was fortunate to be included in a media tasting of three Greek wines:
  • 2012 Domaine Skouras Moschofilero [mos ko fee' le ro] Peloponnese $18
  • 2011 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko-Athiri [a seer' tee ko] [ah thee' ree] Santorini $18
  • 2009 Alpha Estate Xinomavro [zee-NO-mav-ro] Hedgehog Vineyard Amyndeon $24
Starting with the Domaine Skouras, the Moschofilero is a white wine grape with a purple skin - making this a vin gris wine. It is grown throughout Greece, but has found a noticeable home in the Peloponnese. It has an inherent spicy character which reminded me of a Rkatsitel, with the floral aroma of a muscat. Although many others thought the aroma seemed very Viognier-ish. The finish was tart and acidic - very refreshing and pleasant.

I've become very fond of Assyrtiko wines from Santorini and one popular style is to blend this grape with Athiri. The latter adds some weight and depth along with more fruit flavors to the mineral-salty rich Assyrtik. The Domaine Sigalasis a fantastic wine; the finish goes on forever. The flavor profile starts with yellow fruit and ends with great acidity and mineral balance. Give me some oysters.

The final wine was the Alpha Estate Xinomavro, harvested from the Amyndeon AOC northeastern Greece. In this region, winters are wet with moderate temperatures; summers, hot and dry.  The result is intense fruit which produce intense wines, and that describes the 2009 Alpha Estate Xinomavro. It was much bigger than I had imagined, full of purple fruit flavor - very plummy - plus a black pepper spice. The finish was acidic and tannic - no wonder Alpha Estate ages this wine one year in the bottle before release. Regardless, the wine benefits from an aerator - maybe even a blender. It screams for rich red meat. Not surprisingly, the following day the wine had mellowed - still plenty of plum flavor, but the tannins had dissipated to leave a smoother - easier to drink wine.

Go out and explore Greek wines. They area affordable, very drinkable, low in alcohol, and becoming more accessible - what more incentive do you need. 

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