I really enjoyed Athens. On the first evening we popped into Mr Vertigo, a brilliant wine shop (and importing company) run by Giannis Signos (above). He gave us a taste of some Greek wines from a producer in Cephalonia, and they were just brilliant.
Sclavos Vino di Sasso Robola de Céphalonie 2015 Greece
From limestone soils. Amazing precision with a fresh acid core and some richness of texture. It’s linear and the acid is so well integrated with the pear and table grape notes. Smoky and mineral in the background, but also so generous. 94/100
Sclavos Synodos 2014 Cephalonia, Greece
This is a red wine that’s a blend of Mavrodaphne with a bit of white grape Vostilidi. It’s from ungrafted vines aged 40 years or more. It’s beautifully floral, ripe and sweet wth silky berry fruits. Very smooth with some peppery detail and lovely finesse to the ripe, lush fruits. 93/100
Sclavos Metagnition 2014 Cephalonia, Greece
This is 100% Vostilidi. It’s an orange colour with intense, nutty, spicy flavours of grapes, pears, melons and whisky. Lovely weight to this unusual, rich, textural wine. Some almonds, too. 93/100
Then it was off to dinner with Konstantinos Lazarakis, Stellios Boutari (of Kir Yianni) and George Skouras (Domaine Scours). We tried a few nice wines, as well as eating well.
Skouras Salto Mavrofilrero Wild Yeast 2015 Peloponnese, Greece
From a 700 m plateau, this was harvested in the second week of October. It’s a black-skinned clone of Moscofilero, made as a white wine. Very linear and pure with great acidity and attractive pear and citrus fruit. Juicy and fruity with nice presence. 90/100
Karadimos Family Palaiokastra Malagousia 2015 Atalanti, Greece
Linear, stony, generous and rich with some pear and melon fruit. Fine spices with some ripe apple notes. A rich, fruit-driven white with some oxidative hints and nice depth. Distinctive. 91/100
Hatzidakis Nyxtepi Assyrtiko 2014 Santorini, Greece
A late-harvested Assyrtiko weighing in at 15% alcohol. Overnight skin contact lends this a deep colour, and it’s oak aged for 15 months, only partially topped. Intense, spicy and vivid with some marmalade and citrus, as well as keen acidity. Rich and powerful, yet with some freshness, spiciness and good acidity. 91/100
Kir-Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro 2015 Naoussa, Greece
14.5% alcohol. This is vivid with a bit of mint and spice, as well as fresh raspberry and black cherry fruit. Smooth and stylish, this is a ripe interpretation of Xinomavro, with just a bit of its trademark tannic grip on the finish, lurking under the attractive fruit. 91/100
Skouras Megas Oenos 2003 Nemea, Greece
12.5% alcohol. This was the first ‘super-Nemea’ wine, and it’s a blend of 80% Agiorgitiko and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, first made in 1986. It’s aromatic, sweet and leathery with black cherries, plums and lovely ripe fruit. There’s an elegant, mature character with herbs, leather, black cherries and blackberry fruit. Textural, mature and stylish, and drinking well now. 93/100
The next evening, we popped into two very impressive wine bars. First was By The Glass. Here we tried three wines, including a pair of older Assyrtikos.
Apla Dry Rosé Wine 2016 Drama, Greece
From the far north, this is a blend of Xinomavro and Cabernet Sauvignon. Really nice texture to this dry rosé, which is rounded and stony with fresh red cherries and a hint of strawberry and pear. Nice texture: dry with real finesse. 90/100
Gaia Estate Assyrtiko ‘Thalassitis’ 2011 Santorini, Greece
Really expressive and open with a creamy edge to the nutty citrus fruit and some lovely minerally acidity under the developed fruit. Expressive with real interest. Lovely purity and a citrussy finish, as well as almond hints. 92/100
Sigalas Assyrtiko 2008 Santorini, Greece
Pale in colour. Pure and linear with a lovely salty, mineral edge to the citrus fruit, with a hint of nice reduction. There’s a bit of candied richness here and some subtle toast. So pure and linear. Drinking beautifully now. 93/100
The second stop was a lovely wine bar with a more natural bent called Heteroclito. Here we had a gorgeous natural white.
Ligas Kidonitsa Barrique 2015 Pella, Greece
This is made by taking the end off a barrel and fermenting the white grapes as if they were red. It’s a deep orange colour, with a bronze hint. Marmalade, spice, nuts and pears with some grip under the tangerine and lemon fruit. Some cold tea character and a bit of fruit sweetness, with nicely integrated tannins. Lovely stuff. 93/100
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