April 2024 – the Wines of Greece

It was great to have a full house at this popular tasting. The wines sampled were as follows:

Mylonas PetNat Savatiano – Mylonas Winery, Keratea, Attica
Mylonas Winery was started in 1917 in Keratea, eastern Attica, by Grandfather Antonis, whose main occupation was the vine and winemaking. As stainless-steel tanks were relatively unknown at the time, he would leave the grape must to ferment in amphorae. Years later his son Dimitris took over and continued the wine tradition, but expanded the enterprise with new vineyards, creating a small, modern winery. Eventually his sons took the helm and continue to expand in homage to their father and grandfather. The family own 12 hectares located from 80-200 metres above sea level. The soils are mainly limestone and schist with some gravel sites, too. Surrounded by the sea, Attica’s winters and cool summers provide ideal conditions for viticulture. Mylonas have become synonymous with the Savatiano variety, for which they have won many awards. ABV 12.5%. £24.00

Ousyra Fokiano Rosé – OuSyra, Syros, Aegean Islands
Plump woodland strawberries, a hint of sea breeze and whiffs of oregano. off dry style, but plenty of background acidity. this is a mid-weight fruit driven, partridge eye rosé. the strawberry fruit is exceptionally clean, and due to its freshness this rosé invites several glasses to be drunk with or without food. ABV 14%. £18.75 (on offer)

Manousakis ‘Nostos’ Assyrtiko – Manousakis Winery, Vatolakos, Crete
Assyrtiko is a world class white variety that seems to be right at home in the vineyards high above Chania. The wine is left on its yeast lees for 4 months and this gives a nice yeasty complexity to the dense core of flavours that include, white currants, nectarines and a good dollop of aromatic wild flowers. This is a serious wine with a rich, mineral palette. The powerful acid backbone gives this wine the ability to improve over several years in bottle. A terrific food wine. ABV 14.5%. £24.50

Manousakis ‘Nostos’ Roussanne – Manousakis Winery, Vatolakos, Crete
Nostos means ‘homecoming’, and Ted Manousakis returned to his native Crete in 1993, followed by his daughter 14 years later. Alexandra is now the winemaker since 2007. This Roussanne is one of 12 wines produced. Its spiritual home is the Northern Rhone, but Vatolakkos seems to have the perfect climate for Rhone varieties. This is an absolute powerhouse white! Light gold hues, sensual aromas of vanilla, honeycomb and dried grasses. The flavours are dry, but with a huge range from white peach, bee pollen, comice pear, lemon zest, toast and a lot more. Plenty of acidity keeps this wine nicely fresh. It will age beautifully over the next five years. ABV 14.5%. £38.00

Rouvalis ‘Syracho’ Viognier-Roditis – Rouvalis Winery, Aigialeia, Peloponnese
Syracho refers to the terrain where viognier and Roditis are planted high up on the slopes of the Peloponnese. This 60/40 blend is co-fermented and then left sur lie for five months with a limited amount of lees stirring. Another impressive wine from the young Theodora Rouvali. Hints of white peach and spiced apricots, this is a magical wine full of personality! The blend really works! The Viognier adds aromatics and texture, the Roditis adds structure, acidity and spice. Try this with rich fish and chicken, but magical on its own. ABV 13%. £17.75

Alpha Estate Amyndeon PDO Xinomavro, Single Vineyard ‘Hedgehog’ – Amyndeon, Macedonia
Amazing bouquet of wild leafy strawberries and redcurrants. Very pale brick red colour. Eyes shut and you think of ripe pinot noir! The aromas are really varied and complex. Leaf, toast, damson plums. It’s a wine that keeps changing. On the palate there is plenty of brazen crisp acidity to support the stunningly original fruit compote that is served up. The oak and tannin are sitting in the background. A very singular expression of Xinomavro that should be served with game and strongly flavoured red meat dishes. ABV 14%. £22.50

Manousakis ‘Nostos’ Syrah – Manousakis Winery, Vatolakos, Crete
Deep, ruby red colour, this Syrah definitely benefits from decanting! Another powerful, yet expressive aroma of black and blue fruit, toasty vanilla oak and that mysterious herbal and bacon scent that epitomises top Syrah. Unlike wines from the so called ‘New World’ this Syrah has a classic palate of blue plump wild forest fruit, berries, herbs, leather, and that wonderful dry briar flavour touched by citrus hints. A classic Syrah that will deliver massive pleasure for 10 years. Get your finest full flavoured red meat dishes out. ABV 15%. £40.00

Mylonas Sunday Savatiano-Aidani – Mylonas Winery, Keratea, Attica
The bouquet only hints at what’s to come with subtle ripeness and squeaky-clean fresh aromas. On the palate, this is extremely fresh with light, elegant, sweet, very fruity but balanced by plenty of zingy acidity. This unusual wine is made by chilling the freshly picked grapes and letting them dry in the shade for a week, before pressing the super concentrated juice from the semi-raisined grapes. ABV 12%. £15.50 per 50cl

All wines supplied by Maltby & Greek

The wines were accompanied by Kalamata Olives, English Goats cheese, premium Cheddar, Greek Feta, Olive bread, crackers, nuts and stuffed vine leaves.

The group voted the Nostos Assyrtiko as their favourite.