Two weeks ago a very special dinner took place at the new and trendy Amáli restaurant in the heart of New York’s Manhattan. Frederick Wildman & Sons debuted part of their New Greek wine portfolio to a limited number of clients and wine writers. The focus was on indigenous Greek grape varieties that are offered as varietal wines by a single winemaker only. In some cases, the winemaker was also the person who rediscovered the variety. To spice things up even more, the winemakers were at hand and brought with them a number of older vintages or barrel samples.
The following wines were presented:
Domaine Zafeirakis, Limniona 2008 and 2009: Limniona was once cultivated extensively in Central Greece but phylloxera contributed to its loss. Domaine Zafeirakis began 12 years ago to uncover the forgotten variety, 2007 was the first vintage.
Katogi Averoff, Rossiu di Munte Vlachiko 2008 and 2009: The local Vlachiko has traditionally been used as a blending partner for red wines in the region of Epirus. Katogi Averoff has been experimenting with this grape over the last few years and is currently the only producer of a 100% varietal wine.
Domaine Economou, Liatiko/Mandalaria 2000 and Liatiko 1998: Yiannis Economou uses a special, small berried clone of Liatiko that is found nowhere else in Greece.
Domaine Nerantzi, Koniaros 2007 and 2008: In 1998, Nerantzis Mitropoulos came across a local, rare grape variety that the elders called Koniaros. DNA testings in France confirmed that this was indeed a unique indigenous Greek variety. Domaine Nerantzi is the only winery in Greece that produces a 100% Koniaros wine.
The wine dinner was a truly unique experience. Every winemaker introduced their wines and engaged with the audience. The quality of the wines spoke for themselves.
On the following day, the official launch of the whole portfolio took place at the Landmarc in Manhattan. The New Greek wine portfolio of Frederick Wildman consists of the following wineries/wines:
Koutsoyiannopoulos Winery, Santorini: Assyrtiko 2009
Domaine Economou, Sitia,Crete: Sitia 2000 and 1998
Domaine Zafeirakis, Tyrnavos: Malagouzia 2011, Chardonnay 2010 and Limniona 2008
Domaine Nerantzi, Serres: Cirinon 2010, Syrah 2007 and Koniaros 2007
Katogi Averoff, Epirus: Traminer 2010, Xinomavro 2007, Katogi Red 2008, Flora di Munte Brut 2007, Rossiu di Munte line: Pinot Noir 2008, Vlachiko 2009, Syrah/Traminer 2008 and Yiniets 2007
Strofilia, Peleponnese: Agiorgitiko 2007, Octana Agiorgitiko 2009, Strofilia Red 2008 and Strofilia White 2010
Troupis Winery, Peloponnese: Fteri Moschofilero 2010
Aivalis Estate, Peloponnese: Nemea 2010 and Monopati 2010
Christos Kokkalis, Peloponnese: MOVA 2009, Syrah 2008 and Trilogia 2008
Apart from Koutsoyiannopoulos and Aivalis, all winemakers were at hand and poured their wines. Approximately 250 guests made their way to the event, including wine buyers, sommeliers, wine writers and bloggers. I was personally delighted to see so many of my US friends turning up, thank you so much, it meant a lot to me! The wines were very well received, and if the level of engagement from the visitors can be taken as a measurement, the launch of the portfolio was a full success.
In the evening, Frederick Wildman kindly invited all winemakers to a dinner at the Molyvos Restaurant where we enjoyed the fantastic Greek cuisine. I wish there would be more such high class restaurants in Europe.
Finally on Friday, all winemakers had the chance to introduce their personal philosophy to the 20+ sales force of Wildman at their offices. This was quite important, all wines were poured again, and many questions were answered.
My deepest thanks go to Dionysi Grevenitis, who has been the driving force at Frederick Wildman & Sons concerning their direct imports of Greek wine. He planned this strategic move and received the support from the management. Domaine Economou, Koutsoyiannopoulos Winery and Troupis Winery were sourced by him alone, and he contacted me to assist contacting and finding additional wineries. I spent a week with him in Greece in July last year, when we visited potential candidates. Not only do I have deep respect for his profound knowledge and tasting abilities, but also take my hat off for the way he truly connects with the winemakers. He wholeheartedly shares my passion for Greek wines – and this passion leads him to inspirational ideas like the aforementioned dinner. Dionysi, I am honoured for your friendship and the opportunity you gave me, thank you for both!
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