3 x 7 [Wines to Match with Summer]
As we get deeper into the heart of summer, the consumption of wine becomes more and more challenging. Especially on very hot days. And nights. However, there are certain general principles we need to bear in mind, depending on our preferences.
General principles include:
- An ice bucket to chill the wine. This includes all types of wine, even reds! We want to enjoy them cool and not ‘boiling hot’.
- A decent wine glass; this does not mean you need to splash out and buy the most expensive glass on the market.
- Lots of cold water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Responsibility and caution when consuming wine.
So what do we drink in the summer? A rather baffling question, particularly if you have to choose a wine from Greece and Grapes, that has the most complete selection available; more than 1000 Greek labels to choose from.
Whites: They tend to monopolize summer preferences, so they make up the largest share in sales. Preferably elegant, not full-bodied wines, with a maximum alcohol level of around 13%, without intense oaky aromas. Try a light Assyrtiko, a creamy Vidiano from Crete, Robola of Cephalonia, a delicate Malagousia, a good quality Savatiano or Roditis.
Rosés: The classic ‘by the pool’ summer wines are becoming more appealing and popular being recognized as having their separate position, as do whites and reds. They are seen more seriously. Rosé wines will attain the position they deserve through the constant efforts of producers. Their greatest advantage is their versatility with food that goes from vegetables and on to BBQs, pasta and sea food, fried red mullets. Grilled octopus!
Look for authentic wines that are based on Greek autochthonous varieties with tension and acidity, and do not judge wines just by their colour. What glitters is not always gold, and the dark rosés can be superb, if the ‘bubblegum/lollipop’ recipe is avoided. They are often wines that pair easier with food than their colourless (often odourless) Provence type cousins.
Reds: The least chosen in summer, but always part of the game. Think of a black fish, such as a black seabream or a dusky grouper paired with a Mavrodaphne or a Limniona. I’m certain you will be thanking me later on. Here, the secret is to go for smooth and silky wines with acidity, but which are not too tannic. Slightly chilled.
The 7 Whites
1. Bosinakis Mantinia 2017Constantly one of the most reliable wines of Mantinia and a wonderful Moschofilero, that can even age and give a more complex profile in its second or third year following the vintage. A classic and attractive summer wine.
2. Vouni Panagia Alina Xynisteri 2017
A true diamond of the Cypriot vineyard. Vineyards go high up to 1.150 meters and the age of vines is 70 years old. Despite the low alcohol, the wine has great structure, fine acid balance and intensity, with explosive lime and peach aromas, and lemony acidity.
3. Zoinos Epiloges Debina 2016
The most inspired wine of this winery, which gives Debina a boost, and expresses it with intensity, body and depth of fruit flavours. Appealing and charming this is a sound example of the dynamics of the variety.
4. Kourtis Nychta? Vidiano – Asyrtiko 2017
A different approach from Apostolos Kourtis and the upcoming wine region of Pieria. Vidiano combined with Assyrtiko that mature on the lees for about 2 months. Also a cult label that allows much room for discussion. Nychta means night in Greek. Broad yet tight with a dense core of fruit and long finish.
5. Vriniotis Assyrtiko Sur Lies 2017
An Assyrtiko outside Santorini, but literally from another planet. Mineral, elegant, but with a touch of ripe fruits, it is definitely among my top 5 choices outside Santorini. Limited amount of bottles, only proactive consumers are rewarded. Matures beautifully. Classy wine.
6. X-BOURGO Assyrtiko 2017
If you are not aware yet of the distinctiveness of the Tinos terroir I would suggest not to waste more time and get to explore its wines as soon as possible. X-BOURGO is 100% Assyrtiko that matures on the lees. Explosive nose, minerally scented, with notes of biscuits around a core of extremely pure fruit. Taut, thick, yet tense and precise it almost flows like the water of a river. An outstanding wine that confirms the huge potential of the island.
7. Tselepos Laoudia Santorini 2016
A different approach of Santorini that is vinified in amphoras. Expressive aromas, quite mineral, with earthy notes (that may have developed because of the amphoras), that continues with elegance, sharp acidities and a salty long-lasting aftertaste. Distinctive effort!
The 7 Rosés
1. Bizios Rousala Bio 2016
A rosé wine made of Agiorgitiko grapes from the mountainous vineyards of the Asprokampos terroir in Nemea. Charming nose, of red and dark fruit notes, dark cherries, strawberry and raspberry compote. Very appealing palate with wonderful acidity that gives great balance.
2. Zafeirakis Limniona 2017
Perfumed rosé from Christos Zafeirakis and the up and coming Limniona which combines floral aromas with sour bright red berries and pomegranate. Effortless pleasure.
3. Thymiopoulos Rosé de Xinomavro 2016
From the winemaker with the ”Midas” touch, we have a rosé from the Xinomavro variety that partly matures in oak for 4 months, gaining a more complex character. Telltale Xinomavro class! Incredible value.
4. Troupis Tomi 2017
Some recent rosé vinifications of Moschofilero are amazingly interesting and I believe they display the potential of the variety. The aromas of quince, dried apricot and red apples are followed by crunchy acidity on the palate and an aftertaste of citrus zest. Delicious!
5. Alpha Rosé 2017
One of the wines that paved the way for Greek rosés and which maintains its value over time. Xinomavro of Amyndeon at its finest with purity of fruit and precision.
6. Skouras Peplo 2017
A “smart” wine from George Skouras that managed to quickly become the talk of the town. A combination of two Greek grape varieties (Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero) with an international variety (Syrah) that mature separately in stainless steel, amphora and acacia. Savoury with bright acidity and soft fruity finish.
7. Biblia Chora Biblinos 2017 Magnum
A wine from Ktima Biblia Chora in the Pangeon terroir (en magnum) from a variety which, at present, has not been identified, and has no correlation to existing varieties, as far as is known from the research conducted so far. Lightly perfumed, focused and crispy. A rosé with personality.
The 7 Reds
1. Parparousis Oinari 2015
Oinari, from excellent Parparousis winery is an all time classic red and one of the top “value for money” reds in the country. A great marriage of Mavrodaphne and Agiorgitiko with just 13% alcohol.
2. Rouvalis Tsiggelo 2017
Tsiggelo is the quality clone of Mavrodaphne, a fantastic variety associated until very recently only with sweet wines. Well not anymore as it is capable of producing fascinating dry reds of unparalleled class. The wine is one of the most modern expressions of Mavrodaphne, with intense herbal and dark chocolate aromas on the nose, combined with juicy dark fruits. Production of just 3000 bottles matured in amphoras. Alcohol at 13%.
3. Thymiopoulos Naousa Alta 2015
It is truly remarkable how Apostolos Thymiopoulos managed to give Naoussa such balance, deliciousness and fruit maturity. This wine has the cool character of the Fitia vineyards in Naoussa and despite being light, it has substance, showing the energy of this mountainous terroir. Alcohol at 12,5%
4. Sant’or Krasis 2015
An own-rooted Mavrodaphne from upcoming Sant’or producer in Achaia Peloponnese. This one comes from vines that exceed 50 years of age. Ηerbal and earthy on the nose with plenty of structure on the palate. Will age over the next 5 years. Alcohol at 12%.
5.Zafeirakis Limniona 2016
Another great effort by Christos Zafeirakis with the Limniona grape variety, which in a blind tasting would easily pass off as a Pinot Noir or Cru Beaujolais. Perfumed very pure nose with roses and cherries. Delicious, savoury on the palate with silky tannins this is a stunning example of Limniona. Alcohol at 13%.
6.Katogi Averof Rossiu di Munte Vlahiko 2014
A very special wine from rare Vlahiko variety found in western Greece. Generous and forward, it brilliantly combines aromas of ripe cherries, mint and crushed pepper. Textural and elegant with just 12% abv. Who said that Greece produces heavy and alcoholic reds?
7. Petrakopoulos MOV Prephylloxera Mavrodaphne
From 60 year old prephylloxera vines in Soularri of Paliki Cephalonia this is an extraordinary, concentrated, dry Mavrodaphne elevating the variety at the top. Bright black fruit framed by herbal hints, with well-integrated oak. Thick and full bodied on the palate without sacrificing elegance. A rare wine of character and personality. With an alcohol level of 14%, it caters to the coolest nights of the summer.
First published in Greece and Grapes