Posts Tagged ‘Nemea’

A solid Greek trio

I brought a trio of Greek wines to my brother-in-law’s house a week ago. The two red wines were recommended to me by John Fitter but the 2015 Domaine Glinavos, Paleokerisio, Ioannina  was a random grab.  Not knowing what a “Traditional Semi-sparkling Orange Wine” from Greece would taste like, I just could not resist my curiosity.  It is surprisingly round and complex at first.  I would almost swear it is an infusion herbs and flowers with wine.  It is quite drinkable but is frustrating short in the mouth.  The 2011 Kokkinos, Xinomavro, Naoussa smells great and will tempt any fan of maturing Southern Rhone wines.  It is firm in the mouth and did not give up the level of mature flavors promised by the nose.  Still, it is a wine to try and if you do so I would try double-decanting it.  Finally, the 2013 Skouras, Saint George Agiorgitiko, Nemea is a bright, lively blend of red and blue fruit with some oak hints.  It is a wine that should please many. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2015 Domaine Glinavos, Paleokerisio, Ioannina – $13 (500mL)
Alcohol 10.5%. Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  It is a cloudy, tawny orange color.  There is surprising roundness to the sweet, moderately sparkling start.  The flavors are immediately complex blending cardamom, sweet orange juice, and floral notes.  There is even a mineral bit.  Unfortunately the finish is very short.  ** Now.


2011 Kokkinos, Xinomavro, Naoussa – $17
Imported by Oenos.  The light volume of maturing aromas are attractive but do not prepare one for the firm red and black fruit in the mouth.  There is good flavor, almost like a rather firm Southern Rhone wine.  It wraps up with polished wood notes and focused ripe flavors.  ** Now – 2020.


2013 Skouras, Saint George Agiorgitiko, Nemea – $17
Imported by Diamond Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% Agiorgitiko aged for 12 months in used oak.   Alcohol 13.5%.  The good nose offers up red and blue fruits with a hint of vanilla.  In the mouth is a bright, linear delivery of flavor driven by nearly lively acidity.  The structure imposes the linearity but it drinks well right now.  ** Now – 2020.

Three wines from New Mexico, Mexico, and Greece

December 22, 2014 1 comment

One really should be curious when it comes to trying wines.  We bought the 2009 Gruet Winery, Pinot Noir, New Mexico several years ago after trying an even older, well-preserved example. It may seem surprising at first to find Pinot Noir in New Mexico but do remember that Gruet is famous for their sparkling wines, of which Pinot Noir plays a part.  Our bottle showed a lot of oak influence on the nose followed by primary cherry fruit in the mouth.  This is a solid drinking wine that would be great fun to serve blind at the beginning of a tasting or dinner.   From Mexico, the latest vintage of 2010 L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California offered solid, modern flavors of dense black fruit.  This bottle took a few days to show well which is not surprising given the grape variety.  Again, not a mind-blowing wine but another fun wine to serve blind.  I would personally be curious to see how it tastes several years from now.  The 2012 Aivalis Wines, Agiorgitiko, Nemea offers plummy, dry, and powerfully structured flavors.  The wine is a bit disjointed right now so stick it in the cellar for a year or two.  It you must try a bottle now (and most likely in the future) then be sure to accompany it by a big hunk of meat.  The L.A. Cetto and Aivalis wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Gruet was purchased at the winery.


2009 Gruet Winery, Pinot Noir, New Mexico –
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir that was aged for 16+ months in oak barrels.  Alcohol ?%.  The color was a medium+ red cherry with some garnet.  There were good wood aromas on the notes, some sweet spices, and leather.  In the mouth were cherry fruits in this balanced wine.  The flavors were simple and shorter though the wine has kept well.  Eventually a fruity blue and red core came out.  No need to hold on but will last for years to come.  ** Now-2017.


2010 L.A. Cetto, Petite Sirah, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California – $10
Imported by International Spirits & Wines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There were low-lying heady aromas of tart fruit.  In the mouth were dense, inky flavors, some ripe, powdery tannins, and fruit that turned blacker. Needs a little time in the cellar.  *(*) 2015-2018.


2012 Aivalis Wines, Agiorgitiko, Nemea – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Agiorgitiko that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in 30% new and 70% used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose remained plummy.  In the mouth were plummy, black fruit flavors that were dry.  The acidity was salivating at first then dry, dark tannins came out towards the finish.  The structure is rather strong in comparison to the fruit.  The finish bore dark fruit that seemed separate from the structure in the end.  Needs time to integrate.  *(*) 2016-2019.


A Greek Treat from Nemea

Christos Aivalis is the owner of Aivalis Family Vineyards.  He is the fifth generation to grow grapes in his family.  He produces wine using fruit from his own and nearby vineyards.  These vineyards are located between 250 to 600 meters.  He does not employ irrigation and avoids fertilization as much as possible.  The grapes are fermented using temperature control, aged in old barrels, then bottled unstabilized and unfiltered.  All of this has resulted in a compelling wine.  It smells great, is easily drinkable, and should hit its stride this fall.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Aivalis Family Vineyards, Nemea – $16
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is 100% Agiorgitiko that was aged for 12 months in old barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed floral (perhaps violets) blue and black fruit.  In the mouth were grapey flavors of purple fruit, some smoke, and a nice structure.  The wine was drying as purple and black flavors came out in the finish.  It had some salivating acidity.  This was best on the first night for it developed more structure with air.  **(*) 2014-2017.



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 Greek Wines from Skouras Winery

The Skouras Winery, Malandreni, Image from Skouras Winery

Skouras Winery was created in 1986 by George Skouras who studied oenology in Dijon, France. The founding winery is located in Pyrgela, Argo with a second winery built in 1996 at Ghymno, Nemea, and in 2004 operations moved to a new winery in Malandreni. Skouras Winery produces wine made from both indigenous and international varietals sourced from estate vineyards and regional growers.

Vineyard in Nemea, Image from Skouras Winery

Both of these wines are good value for the money but I must lean towards recommending the white Moscofilero. I cannot recall the last time I drank a Greek white wine so I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I poured myself a glass. It is a lovely wine with good white fruit, floral notes, and pleasing mouthfeel. The Moscofilero grape has a pink colored skin and is known to produce wines with a strong aroma of roses. It grows particularly well in the high-altitude vineyards of Mantinia where the fruit is harvested in October. If you want to try a new type of white wine then pick up a bottle for the weekend. Many thanks to John for recommending this wine. Both of these selections are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2010 Skouras Winery, Moscofilero, Peloponnese – $16
Imported by Diamond Importers. This wine is 100% Moscofilero sourced from the Mantinia vineyard located on sandy soils at 750 meters. The vines are 25 years old. Half of the free-run juice is used due to the skin color which is then fermented in stainless steel followed by short aging on the lees. Drunk over several nights this wine has a nose of lightly ripe white fruit and peaches. The mouth follows the nose with white fruit that is backed by stone flavors then turns a bit tart as it takes on a suppleness which is balanced by acidity. There are floral white fruits in the finish. *** Now-2014.

2008 Skouras Winery, Saint George, Nemea – $15
Imported by Diamond Importers. This wine is 100% Aghiorghitiko (Saint George) sourced from vineyards on clay soils at 650 meters. The vines are 24 years old. The fruit is fermented in stainless steel, undergoes malolactic fermentation in barriques, then is aged for 12 months in used French barriques. Drunk over two nights there is a lightly scented nose of berries. In the mouth the fruit is bluer, with hints of red tart fruit. There is a softness to the flavors as acidity causes salivation on the sides of the tongue. The finish reveals a gentle ripeness, spice with a slight perfume in the soft aftertaste. ** Now.

An Appealing Young Wine from Nemea

March 24, 2012 1 comment

Ancient Greece, Southern Part, The Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1911, Image from Univ. of Texas

Excited by the 2009 Thymiopoulos Vineyards, Xinomavro I continued my exploration of Greek wines by choosing another selection from Athenee Imports.  GAIA Wines was founded by Yiannis Paraskevopoulos and Leon Karatsalos in 1994.  In 1996 they were joined by Christina Legaki and additionally purchased a 7 hectare vineyard in the Koutsi subregion of Nemea.  Today they have wineries in both Nemea and Santorini.  The Notios wine is produced at the Nemea winery in Peloponnisos.  Peloponnisos is a peninsula located at the southern end of Greece.  Wine has been produced in the Nemea region for millenia as evidenced by descriptions from Homer.  If you look at the included map, Nemea is located in the north-eastern portion of Peloponnisos in the green-area near Corinth. The non-irrigated GAIA vineyards are located at 550 meters of elevation.

Vineyards in the Koutsi Subregion of Nemea, Image from GAIA Wines

This selection is currently available at MacArthur Beverages.  I would personally recommend this wine for current drinking though it might be worthwhile to cellar it for one year to see what happens.  Andrea (Athenee Importers) suggested chilling it down as a picnic and party wine.

2010 Gaia Wines, Notios, Agiorgitiko, Nemea- $13
Imported by Athenee Imports.  This wine is 100% Agiorgitiko sourced from the Koutsi subregion where the soils are marl and limestone.  It underwent malolactic fermentation.  On the first night this wine showed a fruity, easy-going manner perfect for warmer weather.  On the second night this was a light+ ruby color.  The young nose revealed lifted berries with cooler but ripe red notes and a floral aspect.  The flavors become stoney with some red and blue fruit mixing with acidity that marked the sides of the tongue.  There was good presence and it definitely became a more serious wine.  It wrapped up with cherry flavors which bore some weight, ripeness, and texture.  There were undertones of blue fruit in the aftertaste. **  Now-2015.