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Greek wines from Oddbins

by Tom Cannavan, 01/98

Impressions of 4 wines from Greece, part of an extensive new range of Greek wines stocked by the UK merchant Oddbins, though not exclusive to them (as far as I know). These are all "new wave" wines I suppose, showing cleanly fruity flavours and made in a modern, fresh style.

The wines were not tasted blind. Prices in pounds sterling (£5=$8)

Gaia Thalassitis (white wine) 1996 (£6.99)
Almost transparent, pale straw colour. Rather delicate lime and spun-sugar nose. Bone dry with subdued tropical fruit flavours and a keen edge of tart apples. There is chewy grapefruit acidity in the finish. A good food wine with a bit of real character.

Antonopoulos Chardonnay 1997 (£9.99)
Much praised by wine critics, there is extraordinary depth to this wine which at first seems overpowered with charred aromas of toasted oak. On the palate it is surprisingly clean and fresh. It is bursting with tropical fruit and sharply defined by citrus acidity. The oak is still prominent and adds a chewy quality. Long, unusual and full of interest.

Spiropoulos Porfyros 1996 (£5.99)
Dense purple colour. Smoky nose with hints of damp leaves and strawberries. The palate displays a seam of pure, bright cherry fruit with a coating of sweet vanilla and a caramel note. A little bit one-dimensional, but well made and very enjoyable.

Papentonis Midenagan (red wine) 1996 (£7.99)
Very dense purple/black colour. Quite a richly fruity nose - stewed black fruits and an earthy depth. Sweet, ripe, fruity flavours on the palate too with berries, cream and a raft of soft tannins beneath. Very smooth with oak in the finish and good balance.

Along with the very enjoyable Boutari Visanto sweet wine reviewed in my tasting of 6 inexpensive dessert wines this is a good showing from Greece, proving that there are plenty of wines worth exploring.