THE ORPHAN GRAPE MALAGOUZIA
Accomplished work should never go unrewarded or for that matter publicly unrecognized. The class of 2020 was certainly short-changed from the traditional ceremonial gathering of family and friends. The ones emotionally most affected were parents who painstakingly raised junior over the years so as one day proudly witness him receiving his diploma. Those years are never without a doubt if Junior will bloom into a functional servant in society, for raising children is a gamble. What parent hasn’t thought of abandoning a kid or two?
The ancient white grape Malagouzia did suffer the fate of abandonment for its rambunctious genes. However in the 1970s, thanks to Professor of Oenology Vassilis Logothetis at the University of Thessalonica, it was rescued from near extinction. By the 1980s, every winemaker worldwide wanted to adopt the challenging grape into their vineyards.
Malagouzia is the soul of the “swag renaissance” in the white wines of Greece for the past two decades. This ancient varietal with Greek birthright is captivating the attention of wine professionals all over the world. For wine consumers everywhere, it’s a red alert that Greece is increasingly becoming influential to become the “IT” country for sought after wines.
In the days of Homer, he described Eastern Macedonia as “Wines Dark Sea”, which was credited to being similar to Bordeaux’s wine region. Many same grapes of Bordeaux such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc flourish in Thrace, homeland to Democritus, father of the atomic theory. But as in all of Greece, it’s the indigenous varieties that get the star treatment, and it is here where Malagouzia made its transformation.
Several factors make this one of the most important regions in the country to produce wines of structured age-ability. Vines face south protected from cold winds from the north while still enjoying refreshing breezes from the Aegean Sea. These breezes help to temper the hot sunshine of the region, slowing the ripening period and allowing grapes to develop flavor complexity while retaining some acidity. Unfortunately, the area had to endure five hundred years of several eradication of vines, up until the vision of Dr. Nikos Vourvoukeli In 1999.
A GRAPE WORTHY OF AN ESTATE
Dr. Nikos Vourvoukeli saw the potential to revive the vineyards in the historic area of Avdira. The hard work of nurturing the vines produced their first bottle on the 24-acre estate in 2001. Although the family has planted other varieties since it’s their Malagouzia wines that are stealing the hearts and taste buds of wine connoisseurs across continents.
Malagouzia is a white grape with a class. It is filled with personality yet has an attractive soft appeal much like a Viognier. It has many talents, producing wines in a broad spectrum of styles from bone dry, bubbles, to lusciously sweet and even fortified. It is no wonder producers elsewhere are employing the honored grape into their wines.
VOURVOUKELI ESTATE THRACE MALAGOUZIA 2017
The grapes are organically grown and made in stainless tanks to preserve the purity of fruit.
Medium+ lemon with a silver reflection at the rim with no noticeable gas.
Pronounced bouquet of white flowers and cherry blossoms and honeysuckle, revealing fresh tropical notes of pineapple, mango along with peach nectar and a hint of Stoney mineral.
Dry, medium acid, medium warming alcohol, medium+ robust body, oil texture medium+ intensity confirming perfumed tropical flowers, and tropical sunkissed fruit, salted cashews, long crushed river rock mineral finish.
This wine succulently balances the intense tropical nuances and the weight of its texture. The restrained alcohol supports the concentration of acid and dry mineral core character rounds out the long silky finish.
The future looks bright for Malagouzia. Growing grapes are like raising children, they need attention and discipline to reach complex maturity. Congratulations, for finally standing alongside your alumni to produce world-class wines; and congratulations to the class of 2020!
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