The 14th Oinotelia Greek wine exhibition took place last weekend at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Mousikis). I really do like this event, as the exhibition hall is spacious, and the number of wine estates who show their wines is limited. This is one of the few wine exhibitions where one is actually able to talk to the growers.
My personal highlights included:
Avantis Estate (Island of Euboea)
Apostolis Mountrichas is best known for his work on the Syrah variety. I tasted the Syrah/Viognier 2007, which is full of spices, red fruits and forest aromas. It is an elegant wine with soft tannins and earthy elements. The rare Syrah Collection 2006 spent 24 months in barrel and matured for an additional 18 months in bottle. It has an essence of cassis, is full bodied and explosive on the palate. The whites also impressed me, they were all from the new 2009 vintage: The Malagousia is very aromatic and dominated by lychees, the Gewürztraminer rich and fresh with spices and exotic fruits, the Sauvignon Blanc super ripe. They all have very appealing acidity levels.
Gaia Estate (Santorini and Nemea)
The Gaia Estate seems to be going from strength to strength. The vintage of 2009 was truly stunning for Assyrtiko in Santorini, look out for these wines! One of my favourite Assyrtiko wines from the Island has always been the Gaia Thalassitis, and the 2009 must be the best I have yet encountered. It is an explosive wine with concentrated, exotic fruits and a stunning finish. Also impressive was the 2008 Assyrtiko Wild Fermented, which is dense and truly expressive of its terroir.
Karadimou (Fthiotida in the north of Greece)
This is a small producer who started in 2001. The 2007 Vissa is made from 100% Xinomavro. It has lots of soft yet concentrated raspberry flavours and some typical vegetable character. The wine has a fistful of tannins and certainly has a lot of bite. I think this will improve a lot of the next decade.
Mega Spilaio (Aigio, Peloponnese)
This estate is on the top of my “up and coming” list! The oenologist Stelios Tsiris certainly knows his work well. I tasted a tank sample of the 2009 Assyrtiko Laghori that grabbed my attention. It has very expressive exotic fruits, but this is the only hint that this wine is produced in Greece. The vineyards have an altitude of 800 to 900 meters, and the cooler climate expresses itself in the wine. The Syrah Rosé 2009 must be one of my favourite Greek rosé wines. The real gems are the three reds: A Mavrodaphne/Kalavryta blend, a 100% Syrah and a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I was able to taste the 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages of the former and the latter, plus the 2005 and 2006 of the Syrah. There was a distinctive variation in the vintages, 2005 being a very hot year, 2006 a year with unusual wet weather conditions. However, the quality of the wines was not effected, all wines were top notch and simply expressed the vintages in different ways.