Cheryle & I had a sampling of some interesting Greek wines at the starchefs.com’s “Chef’s Congress” last October, which really perked our interest. Finally…..some are making their way to our Islands. Here are a few of the highlights we tasted today.
2011 Domaine Douloufakis Dafnios
Produced exclusively from the Vidiano grape variety, which is organically farmed on the southern Isle of Crete at roughly 1800 feet elevation. Very pretty, well made, fascinating perfume, good balance with lots of life & vigor. This wine has an innate bitterness in the finish, so one needs to be thoughtful on what foods to pair with it.
Took a while to open up aromatically. I had to keep coming back to try this wine over & over again to better understand it. It, however, was worth it as I find this to be a fascinating white wine. On the palate, it displayed a assertive-ness, bordering coarse-ness/rugged-ness, which reminded me of an Italian Nebbiolo vinified white, I had with the 1991 vintage–stony, masculine, red wine-ish character (viscosity & innate bitterness). When I came back to it after a bout with the red wine line-up, I enjoyed it more, as the bitterness was NOT as evident (after having the red wines). One would need to be quite specific in pairing foods with this fascinating wine, I believe. I have since been told these are 60 plus year old vines grown in black lava, volcanic ash, pomice & sandy soils & fermented in stainless steel.
2011 Domaine Douloufakis Malvasia “Femina”
Here is another really good wine from this domaine & the isle of Crete. As one would expect from a Malvasia….yes…it is very aromatic & perfumed/bordering pine needle in nuance. The wine has a wonderful roundness & surprisingly refinement & balance. They apparently do some pre-fermentation skin contact for flavor (at cool temperatures) & some ageing in old oak. One could have alot of fun with this wine & Mediterranean foods.
Also from the isle of Crete, this is a rustic, sultry, deeply flavored, sumptuous, tannic blend of 60% Kotsifali & 40% Syrah….a blend of the old & the new.
2009 Domaine Karydas Xinomavro Naoussa
I was quite intrigued by this very contemporary, more modern style of Naoussa. It had a dark/sinister edge, quite masculine, musky & forest floor-y. Still, I think this wine will have a surprisingly broader appeal, as the 16 months in French oak (30% new) tamed the innate rusticity some & framed it quite well from beginning to end.
Yes…this is VERY modern wine, to the point, I am not sure many tasters would guess this to be Greek in a blind tasting. At the same time, it would have broad appeal for those weaning away from New World wines. The blend is 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot & 20% Xinomavro grown in rocky clay soils at roughly 2000 feet elevation. The wine spends 13 months in French barrique…30% new & 4 months on fine lees. A style similar in profile to what the Italians are doing with Super-Tuscans….BUT…at a fraction of the price.