Exploring the wines of Greece: 25 of my favourites

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Exploring the wines of Greece: 25 of my favourites

Last year I travelled to Greece and did a quick-fire exploration of some of the country’s top wines, aided by Giannis Siganos of wine shop and importer Mr Vertigo. It’s taken me a little while to get round to producing this list, but here are 25 of my favourite wines. Over the next few days I’ll be posting short producer profiles of some of the top wineries. Greece is definitely a country to watch.

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko de Mylos Vielles Vignes 2016 Santorini, Greece
Very rich and bold textured with spice and apple, and a vivid bite to it. Crisp and intense with lovely precision allied to ripeness. Has a pithy, mineral edge. Such interest here: superb stuff, with so much concentration and salinity. 95/100

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 Slopes of Enos, 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

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

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

Sigalas Kavaleiros 2015 Santorini, Greece
Single vineyard Assyrtiko that spends 18 months on its lees in stainless steel. Very stony, salty and mineral, with direct citrus fruit, some pear and a hint of sweetness. 93/100

Hatzidakis Cuvée No 15 2015 Santorini, Greece
Organic Assyrtiko. There’s a lovely nutty edge to the fruit. Citrus, nuts and pears with nice freshness and lots of depth. Stony, nutty and delicious. 93/100

Markovitis Winery Xinomavro 2012 Naoussa, Greece
13.5% alcohol. This is just so good, and very Nebbiolo like. Slightly faded red colour with a bricking rim, this is structured and savoury, but also has nice cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit. Some notes of tar and spice, and some attractive floral character, too. It has elegance, but also quite grippy tannins, very much in the Barolo mould. 93/100

Biblia Chora ‘Ovilos’ 2016 Pangeon, Greece
A blend of Assyrtiko (40%) and Semillon (60%). Complex grapefruit, lemon and pear fruit with nice nuts and spice. Has richness, complexity and also freshness. Nice weight and focus: very stylish. 93/100

Vassiltis Santorini 2015 Santorini, Greece
100% Assytriko. Hints of nuts with some lovely mineral character. Has some pear fruit with a bit of citrus, but there’s nice development here, and a saline, mineral finish. 92/100

Papaioannou Estate Old Vines 2010 Nemea, Greece
Organic, 100% Agiorgitiko. This has a lovely savoury, mineral edge to the red cherries and raspberries, as well as nice texture. Mellow with nice savouriness and some appealing stony texture. Still has plenty of fruit, too. 92/100

Doulofakis Dafnios Red 2015 Dafnes, Greece
This is 100% Liatiko. Vivid and fresh with stony, savoury damson, plum and red cherry fruit. Light with nice texture, tannin and acid. Sour and stony; this needs time. 92/100

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

Petrakopoulos-Melissinos Robola Bio 2016 Cephalonia, Greece
Slight minty edge to the stony lemon and pear fruit. Direct and linear with a savoury twist. Quite lovely. 92/100

Domaine de L’Acopalypse Patoinos Assyrtiko 2016 Dodecanese, Greece
Deep yellow/orange colour. Rich but fresh with spicy peach and melon flavours. Richly textured with a fine spiciness and some hints of marmalade. This has lovely richness but it’s not at all heavy or clumsy. 92/100

Tetramythos Roditis Orange Wine 2016 Greece
Apples, pears, some spice and a hint of raisin. Nice weight with a bit of structure. 91/100

Lyrarakis Dafni Psarades Vineyard 2015 Crete, Greece
Dafni is a white variety whose name translates as bayleaf in Greek, and Lyrarakis saved it from extinction in the 1970s. Distinctive mint and rosemary herb character to the lemony fruit. So fresh and distinctive. Herbal and interesting. 91/100

Wine Art Assyrtiko Unoaked 2011 Drama, Greece
Pure and lively with fresh citrus fruit. Some tangerine richness, nice spiciness and a lively spicy edge. Has some toasty development here. 91/100

Ieropoulos Aras 2014 Nemea, Greece
This is 100% Agiorgitiko. Sweetly floral, aromatic cherry fruit nose leads to a supple palate with fresh raspberry and cherry fruit. Nice freshness and grip. 91/100

Haritatos Vineyard Mavrodaphne 2016 Slopes of Eneos, Greece
Grippy and vivid with intense tannins. Firm and direct with lovely black cherry fruit. Grippy, pure and vivid. 91/100

Rhous Tamiolakis Skipper Red 2014 Crete, Greece
This is 50% Kotsifali and 50% Mandilaria. It’s an ancient classic red of Peza in Crete. Lovely savoury, spicy, slightly earthy edge to the sweet cherry and plum fruit. Has a nice presence: stony and delicious. 91/100

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

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

Mylonas Savatiano 2013 Attiki, Greece
Apricot and herb with some tangerine on the nose. Nice weight on the palate with herb and mint notes. 90/100

Thymiopoulos Earth and Sky 2015 Naoussa, Greece
100% Xinomavro. Fresh, supple, elegant style with sweet cherries, plums and some warm spiciness. Ripe and seductive with nice structure, finishing sweet and grippy at the same time. A bit meaty. 90/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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