Greeks On The Edge

Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – This wine is black cherry coloured and lightly textured in appearance hinting at a more delicate wine. However, its nose is far more serious than its appearance, with notes of ripe black cherries, raspberries, cocoa powder, and Greek mountain tea.

I think its depth is its Xinomavro grape which, on an unblended basis, I am no fan of its harshness. Although, there is a blend here and the Xinomavro asserts itself as king of the hill.

Can the equal blending partners of Krassato and Stavroto tame the Xinomavro bully?

The wine is moderately tannic and leaves a dusty feeling on the tongue. The acids are well controlled.

On the palate, the tannins do rise with each successive sip. It almost leaves one with a pucker. Elements of red grapefruit, black cherry, and liquorice. My dissatisfaction with Xinomavro continues.

Greece is on the edge of financial collapse and its people subject to harsh cutbacks. My thought is that this harshness is to be found in this wine. A wonderful aroma, but on the palate there is a harshness.

This might be your style of wine if you like Barolo as, after all, Xinomavro is Greece’s Barolo. (Tsantali Rapsani Reserve 2010, Rapsani Protected Designation of Origin, Evangelos Tsantali S.A., Greece, 750 mL, 13.5%, $18.95 Square Media Group Rating 84/100).

The wine was matured for a minimum of one year in oak barrels, and then at least one year in the bottle, before it was released in the LCBO on 7 March 2015. To be fair, this wine may be just too young. You can always chance it by buying a few bottles and store them away for five years.

And don’t I just feel like a heel treating a gold medal winner at the Thessaloniki 2014 Wine Competition by giving it a bronze medal rating, like it obtained in the 2014 Dallas Morning News Wine Competition? By all means, this is a foodie wine.

Autumn stuffed veggies, for sure, with lots of dill.

Uh oh. Another wine made from the Xinomavro grape. It’s a 2008 Grande Reserve Naoussa Boutari. Colour of transparent black cherry.

On the nose, intense and deep black cherry inter-fused with beets, dead tropical vegetation, and dark chocolate. An almost stinging zip of black cherry, but the sting is not acid out of control.

Tannic, but less so than the first wine above. Really not much on the palate. However a dry and chalky mouth with notes of cauliflower is the end result.

It is readily apparent Xinomavro and I do not get along.

Technically the wines are well made. Unfortunately the grape is wrong. The oak used here calms the grape, but Xinomavro is out of control, just about every time I try it, like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) in the drag race with the chicken finish line. (Grande Reserve Naoussa Boutari 2008, Protected Designation of Origin Naoussa, Boutari and Sons Winery S.A., Imathia, Greece, 750 mL, 13.5%, $17.95, Square Media Rating 85/100).

These wines will definitely not help the Greeks export their financial problems away. Sorry, but I’ll take Greek Alpha Beer unless, of course, we are having savoury goat stew bubbling in a cauldron for several hours. Charred grilled octopus or an octopus stew as well.

Will be released in LCBO on 21 March 15.

Both wines can be ordered by the case by email.

Click for the latest news

About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC.

Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden.

Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, “Have Story, Will Write.”

Email Robert Stephen