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A Pair of Greek Wines For Now and Later

February 19, 2014 Leave a comment

This post features two radically different examples of Xinomavro both of which you should try.  This third vintage of 2012 Thymiopoulus Vineyards, Xinomavro Young Vines that we tasted continues to provide satisfaction from the first glass.   I might give an edge to the 2010 vintage but this still deserves to be a part of your daily rotation.  The 2009 Kir-Yianni Estate, Xinomavro, Ramnista has the potential to be really good in several years time.  There is an earthy component in the nose and in the mouth which I was strongly attracted to.  However, this wine is very young right now.  I took my tasting note on the third day but continued to follow the wine for two more days!  I would taste this again in a few years to see how it is evolving.   These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Thymiopoulus Vineyards, Xinomavro Young Vines, Naoussa – $15
Imported by Athenne Importers & Distributors.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a good nose of fresh and ripe strawberries.  In the mouth were red and black fruit, pleasing tannins, and an exotic floral flavor.  It had a grapey structure and a little upfront weight to the fresh and ripe fruit.  Nice.  ** Now-2017.

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2009 Kir-Yianni Estate, Xinomavro, Ramnista, Naoussa – $22
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Xinomavro sourced from selected blocks on lighter soils.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a beautiful, earthy nose but in the mouth the flavors were dialed down tight.  There were blacker fruit, a hint of earth, and some very fine drying tannins.  The wine turned tart with graphite in the finish.  Definitely interesting but really needs time.  **(*) 2016-2026.

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A Pair of Greek Wines

Both of these wines offer a Greek twist to what I normally drink.  Perhaps I am naive but I do not recall seeing a bottle of Greek sparkling wine before.  The NV Ktima Tselepos, Amalia Brut is immediately enjoyable out of the bottle with its white tropical fruit that borders on the ripe side.  The 2009 Alpha Estate, Axia is also in the right state for current drinking. This even blend of Syrah and Xinomavro clearly tasted different.  The fruit is at the center with the structure present in the shadows.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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NV Ktima Tselepos, Amalia Brut, Methode Traditionnelle, Arcadia – $20
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Moschofilero which was fermented in stainless steel vats then bottled for second fermentation and aged for 12 months.  RS 12 g/L. Alcohol 12%.  There was a very light color in the glass.  The light nose was fruity with white, tropical aromas.  In the mouth there was an initial touch of yeast before ripe, tropical flavors slowly build in the mouth.  There were fine, strong bubbles with a mousse that lasted until the finish.  The finish bore creamsicle flavors along with some acidity at the back of the throat.  ** Now-2014.

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2009 Alpha Estate, Axia, Syrah-Xinomavro, Florina – $20
Imported by Diamond Importers.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Xinomavro which were fermented in stainless steel, rested on the lees for seven months then aged for nine months in French and American oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore aromas of macerated berries.  The mouth follows the nose with a firm and dry start.  There were then flavors of prune, fig, and firm black fruit along with some cedar.  The flavors lightly expanded revealing integrated acidity and barely apparent tannins.  The flavors took on some tang and a little texture.  There was some personality to the different flavors.  I would guess this is a near-term drinker.  ** Now-2015.

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An Odd Pair of Wines

We recently tasted another Georgian wine from Chelti Estate Vineyards the 2008 Gunashauri.  Last summer I wrote about the 2007 Chelti in The Stones and Blue Fruit of the 2007 Chelti, Saperavi.  I give a nod towards the 2007 Chelti however you might try either one of these wines if you are new to the wines of Georgia or the grape Saperavi.  Surprisingly good is the 2009 Ktima Pavlidis Winery, Thema.  It is an engaging blend of Syrah and Agiorgitiko with deep flavors that exhibit a hint of its barrel aging.  The blend works really well and makes you want to drink more.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2008 Chelti Estate Vineyards, Gunashauri, Kakheti – $12
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Saperavi which was fermented in stainless steel  Alcohol 13%.  The light nose was pungent with heavy aromas of fresh berries and slight but good funk.  In the mouth there was blacker red fruit which stepped up in the mouth.  It had a firm, density, salivating acidity, and some ripe tannins.  There was definitely a different flavor profile with slightly ripe black fruit.  There were very approachable tannins with less structure than I would expect from the grape.  The aftertaste was a bit earthy.  ** Now-2016.

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2009 Ktima Pavlidis Winery, Thema, Drama – $19
Imported by Athenee Importers & Distributors.  This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Agiorgitiko which underwent malolactic fermentation then as aged for 10-14 months in oak.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed deep aromas of berries and earth.  In the mouth there was deep but soft and expansive fruit with blue and black fruit flavors exhibiting some grip inside.  There was acidity followed drier, slightly tart, black fruit with hints of red fruit and maybe a wood note. There was an expansive, dark perfume in the finish before developing a bit of drying, tannic structure.  With extended air there was a little, sweet vanilla hint.  *** Now – 2018.

Grillo, Moschofilero, Mature Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Tibouren

Here is a group of five eclectic white and rose wines.  The 2010 Antonopoulos, Moschofilero has benefitted from a little bit of age.  It is rather attractive as a crisp wine and certainly strongly priced.  The 2011 Bulgariana, Sauvignon Blanc follows up the 2009 Bulgariana, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah I recently tried.  It is a bit weightier than the Antonopoulos and while it is more international in taste, it is tasty and even less expensive.  Many thanks to Ruben for providing the sample.  At the 2013 Bacchus Portfolio Tasting, De Maison Selections table I commented how MacArthur Beverages still had the 2009 Clos Cibonne, Tibouren Rose on the shelves.  It is drinking great, came the reply.  It sure did, have it with a meal or by itself.  The 2006 Sans Permis, La Chanson is another close-out vintage following the 2005 Sans Permis, La Chanson.  It has lost the Santa Barbara County appellation for generic California and perhaps in doing so, some focus.   There was a strange disconnect between the nose and mouth so I suspect this is completely mature.  I had issues with the nose so I downgraded the wine, perhaps the second bottle will show better.  Lastly, the 2011 Tami, Grillo has strong personality.  It may be a bit polarizing but if you are a fan of Arianna Occhipinti or Sicily in general then give it a try!  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Antonopoulos, Moschofilero, PGI Arkadia – $10
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is 100% Moschofilero sourced from vineyards at 650m.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a very light straw.  The light nose was expressive and crisp with white, floral fruit.  In the mouth the white fruit had some weight.  While the acidity is there it come out more as salivation starts in the aftertaste.  This lively wine had chalky notes and leave a dry texture on the gums and palate.  The aftertaste had good length.  ** Now-2014.

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2011 Bulgariana, Sauvignon Blanc, Thracian Valley – $9
Imported by G&B Imports.  This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The light nose was heavy with clean Sauvignon Blanc aromas.  The wine was vibrant on the tongue tip with noticeable acidity at first then the flavors fill and puff out.  There is a  nutty weight with acidity on the back of the throat.  The flavors were a touch tart with a drying tannic touch and good aftertaste.  ** Now.

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2009 Clos Cibonne, Tibouren, Cotes du Provence – $20
Imported by De Maison Selections. This wine is a blend of 90% Tibouren and 10% Grenache sourced from 30+ year old vines.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged 12 months on the lees under fleurette in 100-year-old foudres.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light, dried orange rose.  The nose was subtle with dried floral aromas and Pilsner.  In the mouth there was savory, dry red fruit, dried roses, and a bit of pleasing glycerine like weight.  It had a yeast note and some ripeness in the finish.  This balanced wine was fresh in the middle with a little tangy, and some dried, ripe spices.  *** Now-2015.

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2006 San Permis, La Chanson, Chardonnay – $12
This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 14.5%  The color was a light yellow with hints of gold.  The light nose bore heavy aromas with barrel toast, maturity, and something odd.  There was weighty, rich yellow fruit in the mouth with a creamy feel.  It was balanced with acidity.  It was surprisingly youthful in the mouth, perhaps disconnected with the nose, and does not show much complexity.  There were some ripe spices in the finish.  * Now.

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2011 Tami, Grillo, Sicily – $16
Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  This wine is 100% Grillo sourced from 10-year-old vines which was fermented with indigenous yeasts.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color is a light golden-yellow.  The light+ nose is of waxy floral aromas reminiscent of extended skin contact.  In the mouth there was acidity on the tongue tip followed by white fruit.  There was very fine texture to this wine which has some weight in the mouth.  The flavors turn whiter and stonier was the acidity builds in the back of the mouth.  It leaves a hint of the lees.  ** Now-2014.

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Continuing Today’s Fun With the 2010 Thymiopoulos, Young Vines

I have lately come across many tasty wines and feel like I barely have enough time to make you aware of them. The 2010 Thymiopoulos, Young Vines is one such example. It recently appeared on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages so I was prompt at purchasing a bottle. Earlier in the Spring I first discovered the 2009 vintage (you may read my post about the wine here and view some pictures here). My enjoyment of the 2009 vintage from Thymiopoulos Vineyards led me on a quest to explore Greek wines. The 2010 vintage of the Young Vines is also lovely, if not better than 2009. According to Andrea Englisis the 2010 vintage was great all over Greece. Beyond the extra year of vineyard maturity, these really are young vines, Apostolos Thymiopoulos decided to produce this wine without any oak influence. This has resulted in a fresh, berry flavored wine that all should try. It might benefit from a year in the cellar but it is fun to drink right now. Many thanks to Andrea for answering my questions. This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Thymiopoulos Vineyards, Young Vines, Xinomavro, Naoussa – $15
Imported by Athenee Importers. This wine is 100% Xinomavro. Alcohol 13.5%. The light nose reveals lovely, concentrated fruit aromas. In the mouth the fresh berries mixed with fresh herbs and drying, citrus tannins. With a short amount of air the fruit popsicle flavors become lovely and capture ones attention so much so that you do not mind the young tannins. There is an interesting dark, mineral aftertaste. *** Now-2016.

A Trio of Inexpensive Greek Wines

When I vacation at the beach I tend to expand the range of what I drink to include daiquiri and beer.  However I still want to drink wine in the evening so I decided to bring along some inexpensive selections.  John recently added several new Greek wines including these three from Verity Wine Partners.  The Dio Fili has plenty of citric acidity to match up with food but may still be drunk alone if you do not mind some bracing acidity in the throat.  It also held up well in the bottle over many days.  The Antonopoulos is pleasing in its maturity with enjoyable wood box notes.  I would drink it now.  The Mitravelas Estate is quite fun and has enough personality to complement an evening meal outdoors.  These bottles were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2011 Dio Fili, Siatista Winery, Rose, Siatista – $10
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 85% Xinomavro and 15% Moschomavro sourced from 80 year old vines at 800 meters.  The color is a playful light to medium cherry with a hint of rose.  In the mouth there is first dark red fruit then white grapefruit flavors mixed with lots of citric acidity.  The dry floral flavors have a little weight before the noticeable acidity returns in the back of the throat during the aftertaste.  Over time the ample acidity persists with lively flavors on the tongue and a touch of tannic texture on the tongue.  There is enough ripeness to the fruit.  ** Now-2014.

2006 Antonopoulos Vineyards, Private Collection Red – $13
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 60% Mavrodaphne and 40% Merlot sourced from vineyards located at 150-300 meters on soils of clay and sand.  It was aged for 6-12 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is a light to medium garnet rose.  The light nose reveals pleasing aromas of which I cannot describe.  In the mouth there are tight berry flavors, a touch of wood box, followed by soft and mature red berries.  It is a little tart with the acidity coming out in the finish along with some tannins.  There is a softer aftertaste where the flavors turn blacker along with some greenhouse notes.  ** Now.

2010 Mitravelas Estate, Red On Black, Agiorgitiko, Nemea – $10
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is made from Agiorgitiko sourced from 20+ year old vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color is an almost medium ruby with grapey purple core.  The subtle nose reveals dark, ripe aromas.  In the mouth there are gently firm flavors of red and blue berries which are surprisingly ripe.  A wood note takes over along with some softness before a little structure and a touch of tannins come out in the finish.  There is a little bit of warmth and soft acidity.  ** Now-2015.

Two Wines from Estate Argyros in Santorini

April 24, 2012 1 comment

Vineyard, Image from Estate Argyros

Estate Argyros was established in 1903 by Georgios Argyros with an initial holding of five acres.    It specialized in bulk wine production until third-generation Yiannis Argyros started running the estate in 1974.  In 1987 he produced the first estate bottled wines.  Two years later Yiannis Argyros and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos (of Gai’a Wines) met and became friends.  Not only did the initial fruit for the Gai’a Wines come from Estate Argyros but they were also vinified there.  Yiannis Paraskevopoulos remained a consulting oenologist after constructing the Gai’a Wines winery.

Yiannis and Matthew Argyros in the cellar, Image from Estate Argyros

Today the estate is run by fourth generation Matthew Argyros.  There are now 65 acres of vines located in the Episcopi Gonia region at 35-150 meters.  The Atlantis wine series are produced to balance quality and price.   The estate focuses on the indigenous varietals of Greece with these two selections made from Assyrtiko, Mavrotragano, and Mandilaria.  All vines are basket trained with the Mavrotragano vines 20-30 years of age and the Mandilaria 60-80 years of age.  There are some very old sites of vines along with two sites which were just planted last year with Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.  Mavrotragano is being planted more throughout Santorini and is the mostly widely planted new varietal at Estate Argyros.

Harvest at Estate Argyros, Image from Estate Argyros

These wines represent my introduction to the red varietals Mavrotragano, which only grows on Santorini, and Mandilaria which grows on the southern islands.  According to Andrea Englisis of Athenee Importers, Mandilaria is known for its red fruit notes with soft tannins and acidity where as Mavrotragano is known for its deep color, high tannins, and acidity.  The Atlantis Red is blended with 10% Mavrotragano for structure.  My favorite of these two wines is the Atlantis Rose.  There are some sweet fruity notes to the nose but this is counter-balanced by tart aromas and flavors carried through on an energetic yet controlled flow of acidity.  The Atlantis Red steps things up with a very fruity profile.  If you like wine and fruit-cocktail than grab a bottle of the red.  I would drink this now for its fruitiness but it has tannins and acidity to age.  Many thanks to Yiota Ioakimoglou of Estate Argyros and Andrea Englisis of Athenee Importers for answering my questions and providing images..  Both of these wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Estate Argyros, Atlantis Rose, Santorini – $12
Imported by Athenee Importers.  This wine is a blend of 80% Assyrtiko and 20% Mandilaria.  The fruit was fermented and raised in stainless steel.  A vibrant color in the glass.  The powdery nose is reminiscent of Sweet Tarts.  In the mouth there is a soft approach at first then lively flavors show up on the tongue as some grip is developed.  Saline notes and dried herbs mix with the dry cranberry flavors.  The flavors turn tart in the finish as minerals and dark red flavors come out which are kept refreshing by cranberry-like acidity.  The aftertaste continues with tart red flavors.  Rather satisfying right now.  ** Now-2014.

2008 Estate Argyros, Atlantis Red, Santorini – $15
Imported by Athenee Importers.  This wine is a blend of 90% Mantilaria and 10% Mavrotragano.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel then aged for six months in 600 liter French oak barrels.  The nose began with stinky cheese aromas but those blew off after an hour.  In the mouth there was slightly puckering, juicy, ripe black cherry fruit.  The entry is soft but then there was integrated structure provided by white citrus flesh-like tannins which dried the palete as a fruit cocktail note came out.  A licorice-like vein ran through the aftertaste mixing with juicy acidity, and drying, slightly spicy tannins.   ** Now-2017.