by Markus Stolz


byMarkus Stolz
March 8, 2010, 2 Comments

I tasted a 100% Vertzami by Antonopoulos – the first thing that struck me was its deep and intense colour, bordering on black. As the last years have seen a lot of research on the association of antioxidants with suppressed rates of degenerative diseases, I investigated the grape further. Vertzami actually contains appreciable amounts of non-coloured phenols. In a study of 20 different grape varieties, Vertzami was the richest variety in total anthocyanin content (TA), followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. The TA found Vertzami was more than 3 times higher than the average*!

Area grown: Western Peloponnese, Western Central Greece, Ionian Islands, noteably on the Island of Lefkada

History: Vertzami is thought to be a distinct member of the Marzemino/Barzemino/Balsamina cultivar family, which had their origin in Italy and was introduced by the Venetians during their dominion of the Ionian Islands.

Grapes: The vines are vigorous and resistant to many diseases. The grapes are deeply coloured with thick skins, high tannin levels and moderate to high acidity. They ripen late in the last September weeks and are best cultivated at a low altitude. Vertzami is often used as a blend to add colour.

Nose/Bouquet: My notes on this particular wine can be found here.

*The following excerpt is reprinted from Food Chemistry 99 (2006) page 789 – Principal phenolic compounds in Greek red wines by S. Kallithraka, E. Tsoutsouras, E. Tzouro, P. Lanaridis, with permission from Elsevier.

Regarding total anthocyanin content (TA) (Table 2), it varied from 19 (No. 5) to 1012, (No. 10)* the average being 308 mg l_1 in agreement with the results obtained by Harvalia and Bena-Tzourou (1982). Vertzami was the richest variety in TA, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Augoustiati. Mandilaria and Agiorgitiko were also rich in TA, in agreement with the results of Kallithraka et al. (2001) and Makris et al. (2002). *In this table, No. 10 was Vertzami.

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About Markus Stolz

Over the last years, I have come to really appreciate Greek wines. There are many grape varieties that exist only in Greece and I have the good fortune of being able to try them all. I wish to share my enthusiasm with wine lovers around the world, who often limit themselves to maybe four red and four white grape varieties for most of their life.

  1. Kostas KatsoulierisMarch 10, 2010, 8:43 am

    I have only ever tried Vertzami young but would love to try it after a few years of aging so that the acid and tannins have mellowed a bit (otherwise it’s much like a young Xinomavro – boisterous if not explosive acidity and impossible without heavy food). I think the Vertzami and Morfeas are the best reds that Antonopoulos has at present, the rest in my humble opinion have gone downhill unlike their whites. BTW which other Greek producers have a Vertzami on the market?

  2. elloinosMarch 10, 2010, 10:13 am

    Kosta, I certainly agree that Vertzami needs quite a few of ageing, the Antonopoulos wine I had was from 2003 and will keep improving for some more years. I would imagine that some of the producers from the island of Lefkada also offer 100% Vertzami?

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