It's not everyone that can claim they've been making quality wine pretty much continuously since at least the twelfth century B.C. Most people also can't say with authority that their wines were the favorites of people like Hippocrates. You know, that greek guy who invented, um, well. At least I know they named the Hippocratic Oath after him. In any case, very few places in the world have a winemaking pedigree like the people of the island of Samos.
A thumbnail sized, green mountainous island that pokes up out of the eastern Agean sea, the name Samos comes from Sami (based on the Phoenician "sama," or "high place") and is the legendary homeland of King Angeus, about whom I could not find any information, even on Google, but who presumably was an important Greek. However, in Ionian times (before the height of Greek civilization) Samos was a seat of power in the Mediterranean and the home to king Polycrates. Much later, Samos is known for having produced the bane of every 9th grade Geometry student: a man named Pythagoras.
Samos has been making wine from a variety of grapes since time immemorial (wine vessels dating to 2800 BCE have been found on the island). However, in the 16th century, a variety of Muscat (blanc a petit grains) was brought to the island and quickly became the wine grape of choice and has henceforth been known as Muscat of Samos. Grown on the slopes of Mount Ampelos which rises to 1144 meters above sea-level, these small berried grapes are grown as high as 900 meters in elevation, and ripen to incredible sweetness in the Mediterranean sun during the day, and are cooled by ocean breezes at night.
Samos is arguably Greece's most famous wine appellation.
Modern wine production in Samos might be marked by the formation of the Union of Wine Making Cooperatives of Samos, which was founded in 1934 and united several small producers together on the island. Today wines from Samos are released under the label of Samos, controlled by this union. Comprised of 25 different cooperatives, with about 4000 members and winegrowers, the cooperative produces about 9000 tons of grapes per year for wine.
These grapes are used to make several wines, ranging from dry to sweet to the (thankfully) less popular retsina flavored wines.
This wine is comprised of grapes harvested at various times, from ripe to what we might consider late harvest, selected from choice vineyard plots. After crushing the grapes are barrel fermented in oak, of what variety and for how long I do not know. This wine is supposed to be able to age for decades if not centuries. Vintages from the early 20th century are supposed to be drinking especially well now.
This wine is a light gold color in the glass with hints of brown and has a honeyed nose of candied lychee fruit, a scent which becomes the dominant flavor of the wine. Silky smooth in the mouth with high glycerin content, the wine is like liquid lychee gold tinged with honey. I'm not big on dessert wines in general, but this stuff was great.
This is a great dessert and or cheese wine. I think it would particularly complement nutty flavors like those of these pine nut cookies.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
How Much?: $14
This wine is available for purchase online.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
How to Help Lake County After the Fire Wine and Words in Three Volumes I'll Drink to That: Robert Bohr of Charlie Bird Vinography Images: Over a Barrel Warm Up: Sicilian Wine I'll Drink to That: Salvatore Geraci of Palari Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 27, 2015 Wine News: What I'm reading the Week of 9/27 The Lodi Zinfandel Revolution Continues I'll Drink to That: Master Sommelier Guy Stout
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune