On Thursday evening a remarkable wine tasting event took place in Athens, organized and hosted by fellow wine educators Wine Commanders. A total of 15 experimental wines from the important Boutari winery, spanning 26 years, were poured in 4 flights.
Boutari have been working with experimental wines since the end of the 70’s. Every year since, their Research and Development Department performs a wide range of experimentations at their wineries throughout Greece. These wines are not available in the trade, and are produced in very limited numbers, ranging from just a few hundred to a few thousand bottles.
The interest from wine enthusiasts was quite high and naturally the event was packed. Sisters Christina and Lenia Boutari, head oenologist Yannis Voyatzis, oenologist Alexandros Tzachristos, and Roxani Matsa, amongst others, were there to show their support and to communicate with the attendees.
Both Yiannis Karakasis MW and Gregory Michailos Dip WSET guided through the tasting with a lot of knowledge and passion. I did not take professional tasting notes; too fascinating were all the details to be learned about these rare wines. Nevertheless I will capture my impressions in a few very short words:
First flight – Aromatic wines:
Moschofilero 2007, Methode Traditionelle: Complex aromas, very well made.
Moschofilero Mantineia 2014, no sulfites: Captivating and funky. Perfect for people like me.
Moschofilero 2014, Mavrofilero clone: Rose petals. More rose petals.
Gewuerztraminer 2006: Fresh. Ginger.
It was fascinating to taste the complete different expressions from these two aromatic grapes. My favorite wine from this flight was the Gewuerztraminer. Its freshness really surprised me.
Second flight – Xinomavro Naoussa Terroir, 2007 vintage (from 4 different Terroir sites)
Terroir 6 Polla Nera: Elegance
Terroir 7 Strantza: Body
Terroir 16 Trilofos South: Tannins
Terroir 30 Trilofos North: Acidity
This was a great example of why the Naoussa terroir reminds us of Burgundy. Four plots within a small zone that yields four very different results. I had a hard time to decide if I preferred Terroir 6 or Terroir 30. Most likely a blend of both…
Third flight – International and indigenous varieties
Syrah, no sulfites, un-oaked: Pure fruit.
Grapes Rapsani 2000 Xinomavro 35%, Syrah 25%, Krasato 20%, Savroto 20%: Beyond peak.
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Xinomavro 1994, Kozani: Classic.
The Syrah was for me the most interesting wine here, its clean and pure fruit delicious.
Flight 4 – Sundried Dessert Wines
Sweet Moschofilero Mantineia 2013: Commercially appealing, especially in Greece.
Liatiko 1997, Skalini Iraklio: Perfection.
Vinsanto red 1992, Assyrtiko, Mandilaria: Vibrant and dense.
Vinsanto aged 1988, Assyrtiko, Aidani: A treat. The first time Boutari experimented with Vinsanto.
This was a tough decision, as the quality of all these wines was so high. But the Liatiko did it for me, combining elegance with richness.
If I could get my hands on one of the above bottles, I would opt for the Gewuerztraminer. Not because I think it was the best wine of the night, but certainly the one I had the most fun with. The tasting was amongst the most memorable ones that I have attended in Greece. Being able to taste rare wines while getting a glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes at such an important winery is invaluable. Thank you, Wine Commanders, and thank you, Team Boutari.