All posts tagged: wine

a cretan odyssey

BY NICO MANESSIS The setting: the Venetian Grand Arsenal overlooking the port of Chania. A beautifully restored 15th-century dockyard, it is possibly the finest venue for a wine tasting in Greece. The 8th Oinotika was a well-organized, enlightening show. Large, airy room, cool temperature. A civilized flow of tasters that allowed wine scribes to do our business. Genuine engagement, good questions. Generous bonhomie and humour, encouraging the high amount of 30somethings attending. This was also an opportunity to meet the most obscure addresses, especially from the far-flung western reaches of this continent of an island. On a west to east axis, highlights that stood out include: Pnevmatikaki Kritopelagitis 2014 White: An intriguing blend of Vilana and Romeiko, with fruity earthiness. Manousakis Mourvedre 2012: Perfumed, civilized, smooth tannins. Dourakis Euphoria: A dessert wine from sun-dried Romeiko, orange wine minus all the funky stuff. Bergamot scented, silky. Alexakis Athiri Dandelion: Textured, vineyard-driven minerality. Maragakis 8th Art Vidiano 2014: One of the show’s brightest stars. White flowers bursting with pit stone fruit. Douloufakis Kotsifali 2012 : Boldly scented, thought …

class-leading sauvignon blanc

SAUVIGNON Blanc is ubiquitous. Though it does not scale the heights of Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Assyrtiko, it scores high in awakening one’s senses. It brilliantly matches oysters and other metallic- iodine-tasting shellfish. Passes the goat-cheese salad test. It’s pungently aromatic and crisp, with rare exceptions it fails to deliver the middle part of the story, though. Yet, its popularity grows by the mouthful. It has the knack to remind you of its presence. An actor delivering fireworks in the first act but lacking the firing power and stamina to enthrall his audience through to the end. Old vines carry wisdom. They go a long way in covering up imperfections. In fewer words, they say more. I recently advocated that the way forward for Amyndeon is the micro-parcel route. Thanks to its sandy-clay topsoil lying on limestone bedrock, there are nuances to explore. Droumo was planted in 1990. It is one of the earliest of its kind. Moreover, it is in the right microclimate. With no maritime influence from the Ionian or Aegean, this 550-700m landlocked …

the r word

By Nico Manessis ON SOCIAL media, recently, I witnessed a lively retsina thread. It came from far-flung corners of the world, including the Far East. It went on for several days. Comment was a revealing eye-opener. Through it all, it was clear that aficionados were either looking for the next step, or had seamlessly moved up to modern retsinas. I suspect there is a much larger following that even insiders are not fully aware of. From my vantage point, there are further encouraging signs. During my many travels to the Greek islands, this new wave of retsinas, albeit of limited distribution, is telling. There were turning up in haunts old and new.     Repeatedly, this niche revival comes down to four different names: Kechris, Tetramythos, Gaia, and Papagiannakos. They are all of subtly different styles and approaches. The biggest surprise came from an enterprising sommelier whose guests had all four while offering practical pairing plate pointers. Five years ago this scene would have been unthinkable. Yet, for open-minded punters, the synergies in this loose group are …