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by Markus Stolz

Tsaoussi

byMarkus Stolz
February 1, 2010, 2 Comments

Tsaoussi is an indigenous Greek grape variety mainly found on the Ionian island of Kefalonia, although it has been suggested to be of Macedonian origin. Kefalonia shot to fame when the best seller “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” was transformed into a movie that was shot on the island. It is located in the heart of an earthquake zone and dozens of tremors occur each year.

Tsaoussi is a mixed-use variety, used to produce wine, but also consumed as a table grape. The tall bush vines yield large grapes that lack some acidity. In the past, winemakers have therefore opted to pick the grapes early, when they were still somewhat under ripe. This typically yielded in bone dry, crisp wines with low alcohol content.

Since the year 2000, the leading Gentilini winery has moved towards a later harvest in order to move to a more elegant style by gaining more complex fruit aromas. The low acidity is corrected by using a small volume of wine from under ripe harvested Tsaoussi grapes. As a result of the later harvest, the alcohol level has now increased from 11% in their first 1984 vintage to 12.5 – 13%. Usually Tsaoussi is vinified and fermented at 14 degrees Celsius. The wines have aromas of peaches, melon and honey.

It is not common to find 100% Tsaoussi wines, as it is most of the times blended with higher acidity varieties such as Robola or Sauvignon Blanc.

Disclosure: The wine featured in the video above was given to me as a free sample by Petros Markantonatos, the owner of the Gentilini winery. He also provided me with information about the Tsaoussis grape variety.

 

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  1. Yiannis PapadakisFebruary 3, 2010, 4:21 pm

    Well this is not a comment on the Tsaoussi grape, but as this web page is so keen to publish any positive publicity concerning Greek wines, especially from renowned wine magazines or web sites, I would like to share with you that on Wine Spectator’s web page, specifically on the “What we’ ve been drinking” column, were the magazine’s columnists comment on wines they have recently enjoyed (besides those they officially review), Thomas Matthiews, the magazine’s Executive Editor (Ranking Nr. 2 next to publisher Marvin Shanken), selects Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2008 as his latest choice, describing it as “mineral, nervy and refreshing”, rating it 88 non-blind. He drank the wine in Avra, a high-class New York Greek restaurant. T. Matthews regularly reviews wines from Spain. The article closes with a link to te most recent Wine Spectator Reviews on Greek whites (some of which are quite positive).
    The above story comes to support Markus’s comments on the role quality Greek restaurants could play in promoting Greek wines. Such restaurants exist in U.S. but unfortunately, not in most European countries as Markus stated…

  2. Medifast RecipesMarch 26, 2011, 5:04 pm

    The aroma that this wine gives off is definitely enticing, and those that do know how to drink wine know that the smell of wine is as much important as the taste itself.