Before I start off this review, I first want to say I’m fascinated with Greek wines. The Greeks are just as influential as the Romans, leaving cuttings of vines throughout Europe thousands of years ago. Unlike France, Italy, and Spain who have overlong established refined viticulture, Greece is emerging into a powerhouse of stylish wines on the international market. Although they do practice traditional viticulture methods in many areas, they are improving on vinification techniques. This has much to do with adaptation and understanding the thousands of indigenous varieties that can produce quality exciting wines. Greece does produce wines from the tired international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and a host of others. However, they are usually blended with the native varieties and labeled an IGP or considered a table wine. I will also point out that their price ratios are a bargain!
The Zafeirakis family has been engaged in viticulture in the Tyrnavos area for more than 100 years. The district is located in central East Greece in the region of Thessaly. The soils are comprised of sandy clay and flint. Vinified in stainless with indigenous yeasts and kept for 5 months. This produces wines that are perfumed but with a mineral core. Christos Zafeirakis is the fourth generation to practice this deep-rooted tradition of the family and is considered to be one of the key advocates of finesse in Greek winemaking. His reputation is closely linked to the revival of the Limniona grape, but also produces exceptional white wines from varieties such as Malagousia and Chardonnay.
Is a modern, rediscovered red variety originating from Thessalia, and more specifically the Karditsa and Tirnavos regions Limniona is among the rare red varieties that yield refined wines which are dense and rich, high in acidity and yet don’t feel dull, thick, or overpowering. Wines from this variety have an extremely deep, vibrant red color, rich nose with aromas of dark fruit, spice, and earthiness.
The Cinderella of Greek grapes, it was nearly extinct until a professor revived it in the 1970s. Malagousia is a white-skinned grape variety that is grown all over Greece; however, Central Macedonia is considered the most significant region. Despite the different expressions of Malagousia throughout Greece, the variety tends to give wines that are rich and full-bodied with relatively low acidity. They are intensively aromatic with a broad spectrum of aromas. They range from flowers and blossoms to citrus fruits like lime and orange, complemented with some herbaceous notes such as mint and basil. There are both oaked and unoaked examples. Varietal wines are the norm. However, the variety is also blended with other local or international grape varieties by adding aroma, character, and richness.
The color is a medium gold with a hint of green at the rim. On the nose high intensity with white flesh fruits of pears, mangos, peach, citrus fruit of lemon zest floral with fresh roses and jasmine and orange blossom, a hint of mint and sage along with the smoke. On the palate dry, medium acid, medium alcohol, full-body, high intensity with green pears, white peaches, honeydew melon, apple geranium, sweet basil, and mint, crushed rocks, and smoke lemon and grapefruit zest mouth-coating texture and a medium-plus finish. This is a very good wine. It has a great balance of fruit and acid. It’s pleasantly refined from alcohol bringing out its aromatics. Even though it’s vinified in stainless steel, the varietal and the use of natural yeast give character to the wine.
The label indicates it’s an IGP and not at the PDO level. I suspect Chardonnay may have been used, thinning it out, for a less than remarkable wine. Still, it is very good and I would encourage anyone to become an admirer of Greek wines.
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