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08.30.2011

Greek Wine: A Compendium of Tasting Notes

nafplion (1 of 1).jpgOccasionally I still dream of Greece. Warm breezes above the terra cotta roofs of Nafplion, grilled octopus and crisp rosé....

I had better stop before I get depressed.

The press trip I took to Greece at the end of June this year was a wonderful introduction to the region, and served to cement a budding notion that Greece was home to a wonderfully unique combination of interesting wines that represent phenomenal values on a global scale. And that's even before Greece dumps the Euro.

My trip, as you might remember, was concentrated first on the island of Santorini, where I visited every producer there, and tasted nearly every wine made on the island.

After our time there, we returned to the Peloppennese, and visited several wine regions there, using the little town of Nafplion as our home base. In addition to winery visits, we also had the opportunity to sit down and taste through a collection of about 40 wines highlighting indigenous grape varieties that had been assembled for us by our hosts.

That tasting, along with a number of winery visits yielded roughly 100 tasting notes on different Greek wines that I've collated to share with my readers. For some of you, such compendiums are about as interesting as watching paint dry (I'm certainly in that camp myself). But I know others enjoy the survey of a region that such compendiums can represent, and since I don't have time to write up profiles of each of the individual wineries I visited, this is my way of highlighting some of the best of what I tasted.

The prices I am quoting were provided by the wineries, and I have indicated where I can, and as far as I know, which wines are definitely not available in the US. Just because I've listed a US price, however, doesn't mean the wines will be easy to find. Persist, however, and you might be rewarded by an exceptional value.

Enjoy.


White Wines

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2010 Lyrarakis Dafni, Crete $20
Pale gold in color, this wine smells mysteriously of pine boughs, wet stones, and white flowers. In the mouth, the wine offers wonderfully unique and difficult to pin down flavors of white flowers, aromatic herbs, wet chalkboard, and hints of exotic citrus on the finish. Fantastic acidity and wonderful texture round out the package. Definitely one of the more unique flavors I've had in my mouth for some time, and a real stunner of a wine. 12% alcohol. Click to buy.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2010 Katogi Averoff Traminer, Ioannina $26
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange peel and rose petals with a bit of wax. In the mouth, bright zingy acidity brings flavors of orange and kumquat zest to life in an electric storm of flavor. These juicy flavors are backed by a strong stony minerality that lingers in the long finish with orange oil. Lovely. 13% alcohol. Click to buy.


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2010 Mediterra Xerolithia Villana, Peza (Crete) $19
Light gold in color, this wine smells of wet leaves, white flowers, and a touch of wildflower honey. In the mouth, the wine offers wonderful bright wet stone minerality, exotic citrus zest, including tangerine. A long citrus finish and wonderful balance make this a very nice glass of wine. 13% alcohol.

2010 Tsantali Assyrtiko, Hallkidiki $18
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells beautifully of white flowers and wet stones. In the mouth flavors of green apple, lemon zest and wet stones sit on a silky bed of texture. Nice acidity lingers with green apple flavors in the finish. Very tasty. 13% alcohol.

2010 Tselepos Moschofilero, Mantinia $17
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of sweet white jasmine with hints of green apple. In the mouth flavors of jasmine and green apple, white peach and cucumber have a slight touch of sweetness to them that takes on a faint lychee character in the finish. Excellent acidity make this a unique and refreshing mouthful, and a perfect example of why this grape can make very pretty wines. 12% alcohol. Click to buy.

2009 Tselepos Blanc De Gris Moschofilero, Arcadia
Pale blond in color, this wine smells of honeysuckle and candied green apples. In the mouth the wine has a rich silky texture and faintly sweet flavors of honeysuckle, green apple, and green melon. Bright, bouncy acidity makes the wine quite refreshing. Barrel fermented and aged for 3 months in old French oak. 13% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2008 Spiropoulos Astala Moschofilero, Mantinia $20
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and gooseberries. In the mouth strong wet chalkboard, wet potting clay, and rainwater flavors dominate, making for a beautifully austere character, tinged with herbs and hints of lime zest. Fantastic acidity plus a very nice silky body. Quite interesting. Made from a single vineyard, and named after one of the most ancient villages in the region.

2010 Semeli "Semeli White" White Blend, Peloponnese
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apples and wet stones. In the mouth flavors of green apples wet stones zing with great acidity. Nicely balanced and quite crisp, it's a very tasty wine. A blend of Savatiano and Roditis. 12.2% alcohol. Not imported to the US.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2010 Douloufakis Femina Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Crete $24
Light gold in color, this wine smells of candle wax and lychees. In the mouth, flavors of lychee and candle wax mix with wet stones and honeysuckle amidst bright acidity. The honey character mixes with mandarin juice in the finish. 13% alcohol.

2010 Douloufakis Dafnios Vidiano, Crete $16
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apple, jasmine, and green melon. In the mouth, flavors of green melon, Juicyfruit gum (linalool), and wet stones make for an interesting mix. Nice acidity and balance. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Greek Wine Cellars Kouros Roditis, Patras $12
Light greenish gold in color, this wine smells of candle wax and green apple skin. In the mouth, flavors of wet stones, candle wax, and green apple mix with lime zest and bouncy acidity. Nice crisp finish. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Gerovassiliou Malagousia, Epanomi $25
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of unripe peaches and green melon. In the mouth, flavors of green melon and muscat grapes swirl amidst nice crisp acidity. Tastes a bit like a mild or more subtle version of Muscat but nicely dry. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Katogi Averoff Fresco Averoff White Blend, Central Greece $11
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of bright white flowers, honey, and wet stones. In the mouth, flavors of wet stones, unripe pear and apples predominate, with hints of lime. Crisp, with nice acidity, and a clean finish. Pleasant and refreshing. A blend of Savatiano and Roditis. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Strofilia Strofilia White White Blend, Central Greece $14
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet stones, bee pollen, and citrus zest. In the mouth the wine has a linear citrus brightness, with a steely minerality that keeps the wine on the austere side. Good acidity means this is quite refreshing, with grapefruit zest and hints of flowers lingering in the finish. A blend of Roditis, Savatiano, and Sauvignon Blanc. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Spiropoulos Moschofilero, Mantinia $17
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and wet stones with hints of lime zest and green melon. In the mouth, wet stones and lime zest flavors swirl amidst a bright zesty acidity and floral qualities. Clean long finish. 11.5% alcohol.

2010 Spiropoulos Astala Moschofilero, Mantinia $20
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers . In the mouth, flavors of unripe apples, wet chalkboard, and lime zest mix amidst bright, even racy acidity. Delicate and lacy. 11.5% alcohol.

2010 Semeli Orinos Helios White White Blend, Mantinia $14
Pale greenish and almost colorless in the glass, this wine smells of green melon and lychee. In the mouth, flavors of citrus zest, flowers, and green melon bounce around with very nice acidity. Quite refreshing. Orinos Helios means "Mountain Sun" which is a quite apt name. A blend of Moschofilero and Roditis. 11.8% alcohol.

2010 Semeli Mantinia Nassiakos Moschofilero, Mantinia $15
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of mandarins and green melon but with an interesting piney/juniper note. In the mouth, flavors of mandarin, green melon, and green apple predominate. Bright acidity makes it juicy and zingy, and wet stone minerality lingers along with that piney scent in the finish. Tasty. 12% alcohol.

2010 Semeli Ktima Semeli Chardonnay Chardonnay, Stamada
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream and wet stones with a hint of white flowers and lemon zest. In the mouth the wine has a wonderful zesty, crisp character with wet stones and lemon zest. Aged in 50% new French oak for 4 months. Not imported to the US.


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2010 Limnos Co-op Muscat de Limnos Muscat de Alexandria, Limnos $12
Palest green gold in the glass, this wine smells of lychees and green melon. In the mouth, flavors of lychee, rose petals, and wet stones mix amidst nice acidity. The finish is somewhat waxy, with notes of citrus zest. Pleasant, but somewhat simple. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Lyrarakis Plyto, Crete $20
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine has a slightly shy nose of white flowers and pink bubble gum aromas with hints of evergreen. In the mouth flavors of melon, the tiniest hint of pink bubblegum, and white flowers linger in the finish. Nice acidity and a long clean finish. 13% alcohol.

2010 Kir Yianni Petra Roditis, Florina $16
Palest green-gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apples and golden apples with hints of sweet lime. In the mouth, flavors of green melon and green apple mix with a slightly saline flavor and notes of lime through the finish. 13% alcohol.

2009 Antonopoulos Malagousia, Achaia $22
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of green apple and white flowers. In the mouth, lightly waxy flavors of green apple and green melon mix with a nice chalky texture and reasonable acidity. 12% alcohol.

2009 Biblia Chora Areti Assyrtiko, Pangeon $25
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apples and wet stones. In the mouth, the wine offers strong wet stone and green apple flavors amidst striking acidity and notes of lime and margarita mix in the finish. Made from organically grown grapes. 14% alcohol.

2009 Hadzimichalis Veriki White Blend, Atalanti Valley $22
Light gold in color, this wine smells of green melon and green apple. In the mouth the wine offers flavors of green melon, green apple and a hint of wet stones. Decent acidity makes this quite refreshing. A blend of Robola (Ribolla Gialla) and Chardonnay. 13% alcohol.

NV Tselepos Amalia Brut Moschofilero, Greece $16
Pale gold in color with medium sized bubbles, this wine smells of raw nuts and unripe apples with hints of piny or herbal aromas. In the mouth, soft foam delivers flavors of unripe apples and candle wax have excellent bright acidity and a moderate pomelo scented finish. Compares favorably to simple Cavas and Proseccos. 12% alcohol.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2010 Antonopoulos Moschofilero, Mantinia $17
Nearly colorless in the glass, this wine has a nose of green melon and green apple aromas. In the mouth, it offers green melon and green apple skin flavors, with underlying minerality. Good acidity, but ultimately ends up being a little simple. 12% alcohol.

2010 Alexakis Vidiano, Crete $18
Nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of green melon with hints of gooseberries and jasmine. In the mouth, green melon flavors dominate, with jasmine and wet stones notes. Pleasant and uncomplicated, very easy to drink. 13% alcohol.

2010 Avantis Malagousia, Evia $25
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine has a nose of peaches and green melon. In the mouth, flavors of waxy green melon and unripe peaches are buouyed with nice acidity and underlying minerality. 13% alcohol.

2010 Porto Carras Malagousia, Hallkidiki $18
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of peaches and green melons. In the mouth, flavors of peaches and green melon mix with a hint of herbal flavor amidst decent acidity. 13% alcohol.

2006 Parparoussis Muscat Rio Patras White Muscat, Rio Patras $32
Dark gold in color, this wine smells of beeswax and candied orange peel. In the mouth the wine is extremely satiny and thick on the tongue. Very sweet flavors of candied orange peel, dried mango swirl with softer acidity and a long dried tropical fruit finish. 15% alcohol.

NV Spiropoulos Ode Panos Brut Moschofilero, Mantinia $18
Palest gold in the glass with course bubbles, this wine smells of wet stones, very unripe pears, and white flowers. In the mouth the wine has a soft foamy quality and a slightly sweet floral character, with its primary fruit being unripe apples, which get riper and more golden in flavor as the wine lingers through the finish. Ode Panos means "Ode to Pan" the cloven hoofed god of mischief. 11.5% alcohol.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
NV Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis Roditis, Nemea $16
Pale gold in the glass, this wine has a nose of turpentine and menthol. In the mouth flavors of tea tree oil, lemon juice, and wet stones. The finish is a very long, strong aftertaste of bitter herbs and pine sap. Yes, it's Retsina, yes it's drinkable, but that doesn't mean I like it. 12% alcohol.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2010 Limnos Co-Op Muscat de Limnos Grand Cru Muscat De Alexandria, Limnos $12
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of lychee and candle wax. In the mouth relatively simple flavors of honeysuckle and lychee are somewhat un-inspired. 15% alcohol.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 6.5
2010 Alpha Axial Malagousia, Florina $17
Pale greenish gold in the glass this wine smells of Fruit Loops cereal, and in the mouth it also has a Fruit Loops or tutti frutti bublegum flavor. Quite candied, though completely dry, this wine doesn't have a lot to recommend itself, though it doesn't have obvious flaws. 13% alcohol.


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 5
2010 Lyrarakis Vidiano, Crete $25
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells like what a winery barrel cellar smells like. Namely oak, oak, oak and oak. In the mouth it tastes about the same way too, which means that I don't have any idea what the Vidiano grape actually tastes like, unless by remarkable cosmic coincidence it tastes like Allier Heavy Toast. Ugh. 14% alcohol.


Pink Wines


2010 Gaia 14-18h Rosé of Agiorgitiko, Nemea $16
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of watermelon and strawberry fruit, with an appealing underlying minerality. In the mouth wonderfully bright cherry and strawberry flavors exist with a delicate crystalline quality. Clean bright, fresh, excellent. Everything you want a rosé to be. Long live Agiorgitiko, and watch out Provence, Greece might be the new juggernaut when it comes to great, inexpensive rose! 13% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Click to buy.

2010 Strofiliia Moonlight Rose Strofilia Agiorgitiko, Peloponnese $15
A pure light ruby in color, this wine smells of tart red berries and redcurrants. In the mouth the wine has racy, even sharp acidity and a wonderfully sour redcurrant and unripe strawberry flavor that lingers for a long time in the mouth. Crisp and refreshing and unbelievably easy to drink. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Click to buy.

2010 Katogi Averoff Averoff Rose Xinomavro, Macedonia $15
Light orange/ruby in the glass, this wine smells of orange peel and strawberry jam. In the mouth, the wine offers a very faint sweetness and flavors of orange peel, cherry, and raspberry fruit, but still a nice underlying minerality. Notes of candied orange peel and rosehips linger in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5.

2010 Semeli Orinos Helios Rose Agiorgitiko, Nemea $14
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of red berries and wet stones. In the mouth the wine offers red berries and cherries with an underlying minerality. Crisp and clean with a bit of watermelon rind bitterness on the finish. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5.

2010 Spiropoulos Meliasto Red Blend, Mantinia $16
Pale ruby in the glass, this wine smells of cherry cough syrup. In the mouth bright acidity underlies flavors of sour cherry and plum. Nice chalky mineral undertones sit beneath this fruit, but don't integrate well. Meliasto takes its name from an ancient sacramental wine used in a nearby temple to Dionysus. 60% Moschofilero, 40% Agiorgitiko 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.

2010 Kir Yianni Akakies Xinomavro Rose, Amnydeon $15
Medium baby pink in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry jam and dried cherries. In the mouth, flavors of cherry, wet leaves, and light tannins have a nice acidity and wet stone quality. Somewhat odd in its composition however. 13% alcohol. Score: around 7.


Red Wines

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2007 Gaia "Gaia Estate" Agiorgitiko, Nemea $45
Dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of juniper boughs and exotic berries. In the mouth, flavors of redcurrants, mulberries and cherry mix with a crushed stone minerality and very velvety, mouthcoating tannins. Excellent acidity makes for a refreshing, juicy package that possesses and airy, floral finish. Complex and dynamic, this is one of the best red wines I've ever had from Greece and a perfect example of why Agiorgitiko is such a fantastic grape. 14% alcohol. Click to buy.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2008 Katogi Averoff "Katogi Averoff Red" Red Blend, Macedonia $18
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, tobacco and a hint of green herbs and willow bark. In the mouth, flavors of cherry, green herbs, and a wonderful crushed stone quality are all buoyed by bright acidity. Medium bodied and quite refreshing, this wine has a very nice, elegant character, not unlike its tannins, which are restrained and refined. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, of which 25% are new. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Agiorgitiko. 13% alcohol. Click to buy.

2007 Strofiliia Rossiu Di Munte Giniets Cabernet Sauvignon, Ioannina
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco and notes of lavender and green bell pepper. In the mouth, bright cherry and mandarin citrus flavors are quite bright and juicy on the palate thanks to fantastic acidity. The finish has a fantastic citrus kick to it that is quite disarming. Made from 50-year-old vines. Spends 18 months in 30% New French oak. 13.5% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2010 Gaia Notios Red Agiorgitiko, Nemea $16
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries and wet stones. In the mouth this wine is juicy and bright with mulberry and blueberry flavors and a wonderful crystalline quality that is disarming and begs to be gulped. Faint tannins linger with berry aromas in the finish. Quite delicious, to the point that it might be dangerous with dinner. 13.5% alcohol. Click to buy.

2006 Gaia Gaia Estate Agiorgitiko, Nemea $45
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of juniper boughs and mulberries with a hint of camphor. In the mouth very velvety soft tannins wrap around a core of red licorice, mulberry and cassis, perfumed with very exotic flowers. Wonderful red licorice and violets linger on the finish. Sophisticated and elegant. 14% alcohol. Click to buy.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2005 Katogi Averoff Xinomavro, Naoussa $18
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of bright red berries, wood smoke, and hints of caramelized brown sugar. In the mouth flavors of dried orange peel seem welded to supple but muscular tannins that wrap around a core of red fruit. An underlying wet woodiness lingers through the finish with citrus notes. Good acidity makes this a juicy vibrant mouthful of wine, but the slight characteristics of age add a seriousness to it. Tasty. 13% alcohol.

2009 Katogi Averoff Rossiu Di Munte Vlachiko, Epirus
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of red berries and hints of nasturtium. In the mouth blueberry, cassis and mulberry flavors are wrapped in moderately muscular tannins that seem to bring with them green peppercorn flavors. Bright acidity and low alcohol makes this wine a wonderfully refreshing mouthful. Very unique. Only 150 cases produced. 12.5% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2008 Strofiliia Rossiu Di Munte Syrah-Traminer Red Blend, Greece
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and blackberry, with a very spicy black pepper note. In the mouth bright cassis and peppery notes mix with blueberry and black cherry notes. Good acidity and faint tannins round out the package. A surprising blend with 10% of Traminer cofermented with the Syrah, and so much the tastier for it. About 2500 cases made. 14% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2006 Tselepos Driopi Reserve Agiorgitiko, Nemea $22
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of nutmeg and well worn leather, hints of raisins and dried cherries. In the mouth, muscular but velvety tannins wrap around a core of dried cherries and wet dirt, with a distinct leathery aspect, with hints of suede. Quite supple and smooth on the palate, the wine has a long earthy finish that is quite disarming. Aged for 12 months in 100% new oak, and another 6 months in the bottle. 14% alcohol.

2006 Spiropoulos Profyros Bordeaux Blend, Arcadia $18
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry and tobacco aromas with hints of caramel. In the mouth, the wine offers juicy plum and bright cherry fruit, with a wonderful wet woody and earthy undertone. Only the faintest trace of new oak comes across in a lightly smoky floral quality. This wine spends 14 months in French oak of which 65% is new. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Semeli "Semeli Red" Red Blend, Peloponnese
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright red berries like huckleberry and raspberry with and underlying cherry note. In the mouth, flavors of cherry, plum, and wet earth are tinged with a hint of vanilla and tobacco. Bright and juicy thanks to the nice acidity. Very faint tannins. 75% Agiorgitiko and 25% Cabernet. Delicious and easy to drink.13% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2010 Semeli Orinos Helios Red Agiorgitiko, Peloponnese $14
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a bright blueberry and mulberry set of aromas on the nose. In the mouth, leathery tannins wrap around a super juicy core of blueberry and mulberry flavors that contrast against the lightly woody earthy flavor that seems to accompany the tannins. Tasty. 13.5% alcohol, and a killer value.

2004 Semeli Grande Reserve Agiorgitiko, Nemea
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of smoked meats and leather and dried cherries. In the mouth the wine offers flavors of cherries and dried cherries wrapped in leathery tannins that dry the mouth. Nice acidity makes the wine quite juicy still, and flavors of cocoa powder and dates linger in the finish. 18 months in 75% new French oak. 13.3% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2008 Gaia Gaia S Red Blend, Nemea
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of white pepper, plum, and cherry. In the mouth, black cherry, black pepper, and a dose of menthol mix under a thick blanket of leathery tannins. Excellent acidity. A blend of 70% Agiorgitiko and 30% Syrah. 14% alcohol. Not imported to the US.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2010 Katogi Averoff "Fresco Averoff Red" Agiorgitiko, Nemea $12
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright cherry and mulberry aromas. In the mouth fresh boysenberry and cherry flavors bounce with excellent acidity and hints of citrus zest. While not profound, the wine is quite delicious, and the faintest of tannin keeps the frivolity to a minimum. This wine is aged for 3 months in French oak. 13% alcohol.

2007 Tselepos Driopi Agiorgitiko, Nemea $18
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of melted brown sugar and plum jam. In the mouth, flavors of plum and cherry mix with caramelized brown sugar and hints of leather. Lightly tacky tannins wrap around the edges of the mouth and linger with a light woody bitterness in the finish. Aged for 12 months in used French oak. 12% alcohol.

2007 Boutari Reserve Single Vineyard Xinomavro, Naoussa
Light to medium ruby in the glass this wine has a perfumed nose of dried rose petals and other flowers, with hints of red berries. In the mouth the wine has strong suede tannins and flavors of hibiscus, rosehips, and red currants. The tannins persist in the finish with the rosehip and dried herbs character. Not imported to the US.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2007 Alpha Old Vines Xinomavro, Florina $29
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and huckleberry. In the mouth, nice juicy flavors of cherry and blueberry mix with earthy black tea tannins. The tannins and a leathery flavor lingers in the finish. Moderate acidity. 14% alcohol.

2007 Strofiliia Agiorgitiko, Nemea $18
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of burnt toast and cherries. In the mouth flavors of cherry and vanilla mix with wood and light black-tea tannins. Good acidity makes this a wine that is easy to drink, but the fruit seems muted by the wood. The wine sees 12 months of aging in 30% new French oak barrels. 13% alcohol.

2008 Strofiliia "Strofilia Red" Red Blend, Peloponnese $18
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of red berries, wet dirt, and crushed stones. In the mouth bright and tart flavors of cherry and cassis have a slightly sharp edge to them thanks to very strong acidity. A bitter woodiness lingers in the finish .A blend of 50% Agiorgitiko, 35% Cabernet, and 15% Syrah. The wine is aged for 12-14 months in 30% new French oak. 13.5% alcohol.

2008 Spiropoulos Agiorgitiko, Nemea $18
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of fresh plum and cherry with overtones of sweet oak. In the mouth the wine offers bright cherry and plum flavors and slightly heavy-handed tones of sweet French oak, which are relatively well integrated in the body of the wine, but definitely dominate the finish. Good acidity makes the wine easy to drink and quite refreshing, were it not for that darn oak. The wine is aged for about 12 months in 80% new French oak. 13.5% alcohol.

2007 Semeli Reserve Agiorgitiko, Nemea $17
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cola and sweet oak. In the mouth, drying tannins surround flavors of cherry and cola and cocoa powder. Nice acidity makes the wine bright. This wine spends one year in 75% new French oak (a little too much?) and then one year in the bottle before release. 14.1% alcohol.

2006 Semeli "Chateau Semeli" Red Blend, Stamada
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and mint and hints of green bell pepper. In the mouth the wine has grippy, mouthcoating tannins that dry the tongue while flavors of cherry and tobacco linger through a long finish. Nice acidity keeps this wine fresh, but the tannins are quite aggressive. 90% Cabernet, 10% Merlot, this wine spends 18 months in 75% new French oak. 13% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2007 Boutari Xinomavro, Naoussa $??
Light ruby in the glass with hints of orange, this wine has a nose of sweet hibiscus and rosehips. In the mouth, the wine has a wonderfully smoky quality with leathery, drying tannins bight acidity and flavors of hibiscus, raspberry, and rosehips.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2008 Kir Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro, Naoussa $26
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and oiled leather. In the mouth, flavors of cherry, cassis, leather, and wet dirt mix with a light vegetal and menthol character. The menthol note lingers in the mouth. Decent acidity and faint tannins. 14% alcohol.

2008 Spiropoulos Syrah, Arcadia
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of deep wet stones and black cherry. In the mouth ,somewhat tart flavors of black cherry and cassis take a back seat to chalky tannins and a deep wet stone character. The wine comes across as fairly austere, but good acidity means it will likely pair very well with food. 13.5% alcohol. Not imported to the US.

2004 Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro, Naoussa
Light ruby in color, this wine smells of sweet redcurrants and green bell peppers and herbs. In the mouth the tannins are tacky and very muscular, wrapping around flavors of hibiscus, wet stones, and dried herbs. The finish offers dried citrus rind and herbs. A bit too vegetal.

1993 Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro, Naoussa
Light ruby in the glass with hints of orange at the rim, this wine smells of smoked meats and dried flowers. In the mouth the wine has a remarkable olive character with dried herbs and powdery, persistent, and completely mouthcoating tannins that dry the mouth over the long finish. There is a hint of red fruit and meatiness as well. Remarkable if only for the fact that it is still alive.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2007 Tsantali Rapsani Reserve Red Blend, Protegee $22
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherries and green bell pepper. In the mouth, nice earthy flavors of cherry, green bell pepper, wet leaves and wet dirt are wrapped in leathery tannins. The finish has a nice cherry sweetness to it, but that doesn't manage to compensate for an overly vegetal package. A blend of Xinomavro, Krassato, and Stavroto. 13.5% alcohol.

2006 Gerovassiliou Avaton Red Blend, Epanomi $40
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of raisins and wet dirt. In the mouth flavors of raisins, wet dirt and leather are wrapped in thick, somewhat stiff tannins that linger with a light bitterness in the mouth. Moderate acidity. A blend of Limnio, Mavrotragano, and Mavroudi. 13% alcohol.

2006 Avantis Mavrikoudoura Manokoundoura, Evia $29
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of woodsmoke and cassis. In the mouth flavors of cherry and cassis mix with a strong smoky quality, amidst suede-like tannins and a dark earthy finish. Decent acidity. 14% alcohol.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2003 Antonopoulos Yerotoklima Vertzami, Patras $32
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of graphite and cherry. In the mouth the wine has a very cherry, tobacco and graphite character that is quite Bordeaux in character. Strong, smoky French oak flavors suffuse the back of the palate and the finish, ultimately overwhelming the wine. 13.5% alcohol.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7
2010 Greek Wine Cellars Kourtaki Mavrodaphne, Patras $12
Light ruby in the glass with orange highlights, this wine smells of burnt rubber and sweet candied raisins. In the mouth the wine offers moderate to very sweet flavors of raisins, caramel, and burnt orange peel, with a brown sugar finish. 15% alcohol.


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 5.5 AND 6
2005 Parparoussis Taos Mavrodaphne, Achaia $20
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of liniment and menthol. In the mouth flavors of heavy oak and Ben-Gay make this a wine that is pretty difficult to drink: medicinal and bitter. 13.5% alcohol.

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