A Little Sojourn Into Greek Wine
Is Greece on your oenological radar? With the history behind it, it should be. Consider this; wine’s place in history began in Greece over 6,500 years ago. Not only that, they have over 300 Greek wine varietals originating in Greece.
Today we travel to Greece and Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city in Greece and out approximately 25 kilometers to the southwest. Greece has over 4,000 islands dotted through its waters and over 600 wineries in the country.
The winery, Ktima Gerovassiliou is located in the PGI Epanomi Appellation known for its mild Mediterranean weather, cool ocean breezes and sea fossiled, sandy soil. It has been featured in the Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wineries. In 2015 the winery was recognized as the Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Winemaker/Vintner Vangelis Gerovassiliou studied under and earned the recognition of the famed Emile Peynaud, at Bourdeaux University. Peynaud is known as the forefather of enology today. Vangelis himself set a precedent as a visionary when he recognized the potential of the grape Malagousia in the 1970’s. The Malagousia was on the brink of extinction. The floral qualities and elegant notes were intriguing and he made it his quest to return the grape to its former stature. Vangelis’s winery also has a museum with over 3,000 corkscrews and openers including pieces dating back to the 18th century. Truly one of the most prominent collections in the world.
The first wine is an award-winning white 2015 single vineyard Malagousia from Domaine Gerovassiliou. The Malagousia is an ancient grape that was close to extinction before it’s revival in the 1980’s. The wine, bright straw color with very light green undertones. On the nose, pear stands out. The exotic fruit surrounds a light touch of white pepper. Upon the second sip, I am taken back to the tropics with the smell of night blooming jasmine. The palate is pronounced and in line with the grape. The initial sense is of lemon zest. It is full bodied and pronounced. The acidity is palpable without being overbearing. The finish is tart and lingering, not unpleasant. It is a sensation I am not used to. My mind goes to food. I run to the kitchen for a bite of leftover cod (the cod is lightly breaded in panko) with a few capers. Perfect pairing.
The second wine I am tasting is a 2014 White Blend of 50% Malagousia and 50% Assyrtico. The Assyrtico comes from Santorini which in itself sounds trés tropical and a place I might be found lounging on the beach if I was there, with a glass of this in my hand. The nose is of fresh grass, orange, and tropical fruits. On the palate, this full-bodied wine has a light citrusy finish. While I could certainly pair this as I did with the Malagousia, I would also include sushi and a shellfish with richer sauces.
2015 Single Vineyard Greek Wine
Production: 10k bottles
2014 Estate White Greek Wine
Production 150k bottles
My takeaways are to be open to tasting new and unusual varietals with storied pasts. I will definitely be tasting more Greek wine in the future.