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Greek wines

by Tom Cannavan, 06/03

This is a selection of Greek wines that I tasted a while ago, but have only just managed to write up. The tasting was not blind, and approximate retail prices (where known) are quoted in pounds sterling. £5=$8/€8. There is a directory of contact details/UK agents at the end of the article.

white

Château Nico Lazaridi 2000
A blend of international varieties: Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc and Semillon. Pungent nose, with powerful herbal, nettly character. Deeply herbaceous, with some lychee fruit showing through. Particularly sweet fruit on the palate, and maybe some residual sugar, certainly plenty of glycerine, and power. Very good. £4.30 ex-cellars.

Papagiannakos Savatiano 2000
Savatiano is the grape, which has a subdues nose of orchard fruits a touch of peach. There are pleasant hints of flowers. The palate is a similar blend of slightly wild, herbal notes and straightforward apple fruit. A bit non-descript, with decent lemony acidity. Good. £3.95.

Katogi and Strofilia Traminer 1999
Nice floral nose, with hints of exotic lychee fruit. The palate is punchy and full, with a touch of honeyed, oily texture and richness before good acidity. Quite long, and really very good indeed. £6.50.

C.A.I.R. Rodos "2400" 2000
Made from 100% Athiri, this is rather subdued with a nose reminiscent of herbs, straw and hay. There's a glimpse of something floral, then a palate of reasonable white fruit that soon peters out. Moderate. £3.50.

Domaine Harlaftis Chardonnay 2000
Very clean, almondy, subtle crisp pear fruit. The palate is quite ripe and has a nice quality of fruit, with hints of pineapple, but all restrained with elegant acidity. Very good. £7.99.

red

Nemea 1998
100% Agiorgitiko. Plenty of blackcurrant, liquorice and sweet, jammy, rather confected fruit. Slightly cloying on the palate, and a bit thin, but has fruit and is ok at the price. Good. £2.99.

Nemea "Markou" 1997
Fantastically rich, powerful, vanilla and coconutty American oak dominates this Agiorgitiko wine. Really velvet-deep on the nose, with thick black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate delivers lots of silky, bittersweet black fruit with good body and a spicy, tannic finish. Very good indeed. £6.

Domaine Tselepos Kokinomilos 1998
100% Merlot. Real spice-box infusion of sandalwood, cedar and toast, with peppery notes and quite a deep seam of black fruit. The palate has some pleasant green/black olive interest to quite lush cherry fruit. There are drying tannins and hints of spice and a little wilder edge to an otherwise orthodox, heavily oaked Merlot. Very good/very good indeed. £9.50.

Antanopolous Cabernet-Nea Dris
A blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. More big, toasty, spicy new oak lavished on this wine. Sweet, minty, super-ripe blackcurrant and cassis fruit. The palate is big and drying, with a solid tannic structure and lots of oak supporting. There is depth and a hint of plumskin bitterness that is nice in the mix. Very good/very good indeed. £7.

Boutari Merlot/Xinomavro 1998
Good nose of red plums and blackcurrant, some cedary hints, and thankfully tones down the oak a little. The palate has a dusty quality to the fruit and drying tannins, though there is a cool classiness with glimpses of gravel and earth, and lots of silky tannic finesse. Very good indeed. £7.99.

Creta Olympia "Mirambelo" 1998
A blend of Kotsifali and Mandelaria. Big, pungent, earth and undergrowth nose, with leathery, tarry qualities. Fine fruit which is solidly packed; black fruits and a savoury depth, with grippy tannins and good balance. Around £13.50 in restaurants.

Evharis Estate Red 1998
Evharis estate is normally very impressive, and this blend of Syrah, Grenache and Merlot has a very inviting, chocolaty nose which is dark and velvety. There are toffeed aromas of fine black fruit and dense plummy undertones. The palate is juicy with cherry and blackcurrant, and some savoury, bloody, animal nuances. Again good tannins support a long, spicy finish. Very good indeed. £6.

Tsantalis "Metochi" 1997
This blends Cabernet Sauvignon with the local Limnio. Very odd nose. Somehow I am reminded of being at the dentist! There are notes of incense, burning candles, sandalwood and all sorts of exoticism. The palate is full and textured, with some sweet, ripe black fruit set against a firm tannic framework, but possibly a little hollow on the mid palate. Good and odd. £7.49

Château Clauss 1997
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Mavrodaphne, more normally seen in the sweet fortified wines of Patras. It has quite a brown colour and pungent barnyardy notes on the nose, with some hedgerow and bramble fruit. Big dry palate, which is intense and very spicy. Quite a big mouthful of peppery fruit, loads of sweet blackcurrant and a great thwack of tannins. Spice dominates the finish of this interesting wine. Very good/very good indeed. £9.50.

sweet

Kourtakis Mavrodaphne of Patras
51 % Mavrodaphne, 49% Black Corinth. Light tawny/red colour. There are raisins, caramel, and a super fudgy sweetness on the nose. Quite full on the palate, very much like a lighter version of a PX Sherry, with good body and full sweetness, into a long, sweet finish with no harshness. Very good/very good indeed.

Lazaridis - www.chateau-lazaridi.gr
Papagiannakos - www.papagiannakos.gr
Katogi and Strofilia - katogi@forhnet.gr / Oddbins
C.A.I.R. - cair-rho@otenet.gr
Harlaftis - www.harlaftis.gr
Nemea - contact@nemeawines.gr
Tselepos - www.tselepos.gr
Antanopolous - neadris@hol.gr / Oddbins
Boutari - www.boutari.gr / Oddbins
Creta Olympia - cr_olymp@hol.gr
Evharis Estate - www.evharis.gr
Tsantalis - tsantali@otenet.gr / Oddbins
Clauss Wines - aclauss@otenet.gr
Kourtaki - www.kourtakis.net / Oddbins

see also: sex, drama & family feuds in northern Greece, by Wink Lorch