Posts Tagged ‘Crete’

Wines From France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Serbia, and More!

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

This post features a diverse selections of wines presented in order of preference.  The 2012 G.B. Burlotto, Verduno Pelaverga is interesting not just for its use of the ancient Verduno Pelaverga grape but also its lovely nose of white pepper and intriguing cinnamon note.  I can attest that I never had a wine from the Somontano DOC until I opened the 2011 Lamarca, Ojo de Liebre, Somontano.  It offers blue and black fruit with good structure and minerals at a very attractive price point.  The 2010 Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, Corbieres should have broader appeal than the admittedly funky 2009 vintage that I recommended.  The recently arrived 2012 Famille Lancon a Solitude, Cotes du Rhone is a strong value with its red fruit and hints of earth.  You may drink it now but it would be interesting to see what it tastes like next year.

The 2012 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora is still a good wine at its price point but lacks the control of the previous vintage.  The 2010 Massaya, Classic, Bekaa Valley is another solid value but I still wait for another 2007 equivalent. The 2010 McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas was the second wine I have tasted from this estate.  If you have not drunk a Texan wine then this is worth the experience.    Finally, the 2007 Manousakis Winery, Nostos, Crete was strange and despite the attention, it was dumped.  The McPherson was purchased at Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits, I believe the Massaya was purchased at Total Wine and the remaining bottles from MacArthur Beverages.


2012 G.B. Burlotto, Verduno Pelaverga – $19
Imported by Elite Wines Imports.  This wine is 100% Verduno Pelaverga.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were fresh aromas of white pepper and general evocations of Cabernet Franc.  In the mouth were tart red flavors, pepper, and a drying nature.  The black and red fruit had very moderate grip, some lift, and a hint of dried green herbs.  The finish was minerally followed by an intriguing note of cinnamon and ripe fruit in the expansive aftertaste.  The flavors turned blacker with air.  *** Now-2019.


2011 Lamarca, Ojo de Liebre, Somontano – $13
Imported by The Spanish Wine Importers. This wine is a blend of 80% Trempranillo and 20% Garnacha aged for 12 months in oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was of sweet, macerated berries and mulberry.  The wine developed structure with some extract which counterbalanced the slightly billowy flavors of blue and black fruit.  It had very fine tannins, black stones in the finish, and hints of graphite.  It became a little savory.  Nice wine.  *** Now-2019.


2010 Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie, Corbieres – $16
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchants.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault which were partially destemmed then co-fermented.  It was aged in tank.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose was woodsy with Kirsch and raspberry aromas.  The mouth followed the nose and was quite approachable.  There was some funky ripe fruit, black minerals, and satisfying round tannins.  It became a softer wine with air, blacker with low-lying violets.  There was a good finish with firm tannins.  *** Now-2017.


2012 Famille Lancon a Solitude, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Langdon Shiverick.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore delicate ripe aromas of fresh strawberry and cherry.  In the mouth were fresh red fruit and cherry that was roundish but had some solidity.  The fruit seamlessly mixed with  the acidity making way to a ripe and fresh strawberry finish.  There was a hint of citrus and a little earth with air.  Strong value.  ** Now-2017.


2012 Agrina, Portuguiser, Fruska Gora – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Portuguiser.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of ripe strawberries.  In the mouth were round, puffy flavors that were quite forward.  There was some tang to the wine and texture on the tongue.  The tart aftertaste  brought some cranberry-strawberry flavors and hints of minerals.  A tasty wine but a little too loose.  ** Now-2015.


2010 Massaya, Classic, Bekaa Valley – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 60% Cinsault, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were more berry and tooty-fruity flavors that had some freshness.  With air, there was a spicy bit with acidity on the front-middle of the tongue then black fruit with some minerals before a little grainy, macerated berry flavor came out.  A solid wine.  ** Now-2015.


2010 McPherson, Tre Colore, Texas – $18
This wine is a blend of 62% Mourvedre, 27% Carignan, and 11% Viognier.  Alcohol 13.9%.  There were wafting aromas of macerated berries.  Billowy.  There was a riper start in the mouth with strawberry notes before the flavors became redder and riper.  It turned softer in the short finish.  There were no hard edges but could use more acidity for verve.  ** Now.


2007 Manousakis Winery, Nostos, Crete – $18
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Roussanne.  Alcohol 14%.  There were tangy flavors  of red and black fruit.  The wine became citric and sharp towards the finish as the acidity became quite noticeable.  There were potpourri notes in the aftertaste.  On the second night the wine was woodsy and yeasty.  Strange.  * Now.


The Rustic 2008 Lyrarakis, Kotsifali from Crete

Psarades Vineyard, Image from Lyrarakis

Crete is located at the extreme southern end of Greece and is the country’s largest and most populated island.  The Lyrarakis winery was founded in 1966 when they started planting indigenous varietals.  All of the production was sold in bulk until they started bottling their own wine, releasing their first vintage in 1992.   In 2004 they completed construction of a new bottling facility and renovation of the cellar.  The 14 hectares of Lyrarakis vineyards are located in Algani in the north central portion of Crete.  The soils are gravel on limestone and are located at an altitude of 550 meters.

Cellar, Image from Lyrarakis

Phylloxera entered Crete during the 1970s and continued to spread throughout the 1980s.  While the rest of Greece was experiencing an influx of new money and French-trained oenologists, the old Kotsifali vines were being destroyed.  As a result the oldest Kotsifali vines in the Lyrarakis vineyards are around 25 year of age.  These vines are planted on American rootstock thus immune to phylloxera.  There are vineyards on Crete which were unaffected and provide Lyrarakis fruit for other wines which are sourced from 100-year-old vines!  In an email exchange with Bart Lyrarakis he explains that wines made solely from Kotsifali tend to age quickly and are best consumed within several years.  In order to produce a wine that will age it is blended with the indigenous Mandilari or Syrah.  Lyrarakis started blending Kotsifali with Syrah back in 1998.

Kotsifali, Image from Lyrarakis

We drank this wine over two nights and while it was still fine on the second night, it had lost the rustic vigor it showed on the first night. So if you want to try an interesting wine you should certainly pick up a bottle of this one.  I would briefly decant the wine before serving it to your friends.  Make sure you finish the bottle on the first night, I cannot imagine your friends will complain about that recommendation.  This wine is currently available at MacArthur Beverages.  Many thanks to Bart Lyrarakis for answering all of my questions.

2008 Lyrarakis, Kotsifali, Crete – $10
Imported by Stellar Importing Company.  This wine is 100% Kotsifali sourced from estate vineyards.  The fruit was de-stemmed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  Drunk over two nights this opened up well after one hour of air.    The nose revealed a combination of stone fruit and blue perfumed fruit.  In the mouth this was rustic and appealing the first night with red fruit then some soft blue fruit mixed with a hint of tartness and acidity.  There were some fine+ tannins.  ** Now-2014.