Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Taste of Greece - Top Greek Wines, May 2016



On , I was very pleased to attend the Taste of Greece grand wine tasting held at the Royal Ontario Museum, where nearly 50 of Greece's most popular wineries poured well over 200 wines. I had the pleasure of tasting many delicious wines at this tasting, and many offered very good QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio).


I attended the media session just after lunch, and the place was quite busy. However, since I was still working my around the room, I ended up staying for the consumer portion of the tasting that began at 2 p.m. As people filed in, the atmosphere in the room went up a few notches with a live band performing traditional Greek music. The light appetizer service prepared by Daniel et Daniel also livened the place up, in addition to the many delightful Greek wines.

Braised Lamb Shank with Roasted Tomato, Spinach, and Feta OrzoCrab Claw with Jumbo Shrimp

Overall, I was quite impressed with the Greek wines (not unexpected, I've been a fan for many years), but was surprised by the sheer number of quality wines produced by the Greeks, one of the oldest wine regions in the world. It's too bad we don't see more Greek wines coming through the LCBO (including VINTAGES) as there are a lot of good value wines that I believe LCBO customers would enjoy.

The names of many of the local Greek grape varietals may be difficult to pronounce, but it's what's inside the bottle that counts. My favourites Greek varietals are still Xinomavro [Ksee-no'-ma-vro], Assyrtiko [A-seer'-tee-ko], and Agioritiko [Ah-yor-yee'-ti-ko]. However, one grape I discovered at this tasting is a very floral, aromatic white wine grape called Savatiano [Sa-va-tya-no'].

A step in the right direction is headed by the LCBO with their "Products of the World" specialty boutique program within existing LCBO locations where customers can find many wines and spirits from a specific region. In May 2015, "Destination Greece" was the first of such boutiques to launch and is located at 200 Danforth Avenue. At this location, you can find nearly 100 Greek wines and spirits, more than anywhere else in Ontario. Quite a few of the wines tasted at Taste of Greece are available at the LCBO location on Danforth.

Destination Greece at LCBODestination Greece at LCBO

Here are some of my favourites from the Greek tasting, many which of you should be able to find at the LCBO outlet on Danforth. Alternatively, you can also contact the Agent for if you're interested in purchasing a case or more.

Ahead of the big event on Sunday, I was invited to a private tasting of Greek wines at the Vintage Conservatory on night and had the pleasure of meeting some of the men (and women) behind some very fine Greek wines. Among those in attendance was Dr. Yannis Voyiatzis, Oenologist, Head of Oenology and Viticulture Department and the winemaker behind the Boutari 1879 Legacy wine. In talking about this wine, Dr. Voyiatzis mentioned that the estate has wines from the 60's and 70's vintage and are still drinking well.

Photo Credit: Zis Parras, Kolonaki Group

Sunday Tasting Notes:

PAPAGIANNAKOS SAVATIANO OLD VINES 2015 - PGI Markopoulo, Greece (XD) - $15.60
From 60-year-old vines of the indigenous varietal Savatiano, this has explosive aromas in the glass that are very floral in nature, with hints of pear, anise, lees, and ripe fruits. It's light-to-mid weighted with citrus and floral flavours with a streak of mineral. It's very fresh and finishes off with a long, citrusy note. Contact Majestic Wine Cellars for availability. Score: 90 pts

Papagiannakos Savatiano Old Vines 2015 - PGI Markopoulo, Greece (90 pts)Alpha Estate Red 2012 - PGI Florina, Greece (91 pts)

ALPHA ESTATE RED 2012 - PGI Florina, Greece (#092361) (XD) - $32
This Syrah/Xinomavro/Merlot blend (60/20/20), some of which is old vines has a lovely nose of purple fruits, flowers, sweet spices and black pepper. The medium-firm tannins are nicely integrated on the full bodied palate. Nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. It has very good acidity and finishes long. Contact Eurovintage Wines & Spirits for availability. Score: 91 pts

DOMAINE GLINAVOS DRYADES 2007 - PGI Hepirus, Greece (XD) - $22
A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Vlachiko/Bekari from 30-year-old vines that has a medium-high intensity nose consisting of floral, blackberry and hints of graphite and iron. Refined with integrated tannins and complex aroma replays, it also has juicy acids and a long, smooth finish. Contact IntraVino for availability. Score: 90 pts

Domaine Glinavos Dryades 2007 - PGI Hepirus, Greece (90 pts)Papaioannou Microclima 2005 - PDO Nemea, Greece (91 pts)

PAPAIOANNOU MICROCLIMA 2005 - PDO Nemea, Greece (XD) - $75
Made with Agiorgitiko, this has a lovely mature nose of flowers, sweet spices and clove. The medium-full bodied offers pleasing aroma replays, with refined tannins and balanced acidity. Excellent length on the finish. Still has quite a few years of life remaining. Contact Kolonaki Group for availability. Score: 91 pts

ARGYROS SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2015 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $22.95 From 60-120 year old vines, this is a mineral-driven wine with lime and stone aromas. The medium+ bodied palate offers more mineral and lime flavours joined by some saline notes. Tightly wound with vibrant acids and chalky texture. Long finishing. Let this one sit for a couple of years and enjoy until 2026. Available in VINTAGES. Score: 90 pts

Argyros Santorini Assyrtiko 2015 - PDO Santorini, Greece (90 pts)Argyros Vinsanto 4 Years 2008 - PDO Santorini, Greece (92 pts)

ARGYROS VINSANTO 4 YEARS 2008 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#189778) (S) (500 mL) - $44.95
Matured in barrel for 4 years. Gorgeous, highly aromatic and sweet nose of caramel, peach and honey notes that follow through on the full-bodied, chalky textured palate. It has bright acids to keep things fresh and keep the very sweet wine from being cloying. Well-balanced and finishing long. Blend of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri. Available at Destination Greece LCBO location. Score: 92 pts


Friday Tasting Notes:

BOUTARI 1879 LEGACY 2007 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#675081) (XD) - $50
This single vineyard wine is 100% Xinomavro and has medium-to-high intensity aromas that are elegant and refined with pleasing notes of cherry, floral, brambly and some barnyard. Very nice aroma replays on the palate with some sweet spice notes emerging with air. It is a full-bodied, powerful wine with a rich structure and dense tannins that can age easily 10-15 years. Excellent length on the finish. Drink or hold. Available via ShopGreekWine.com. Score: 91 pts

Boutari 1879 Legacy 2007 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (91 pts)Cavino Domain Mega Spileo Grand Cave Red 2009 - PGI Achaia, Peloponnese, Greece (90 pts)

CAVINO DOMAIN MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE RED 2009 - PGI Achaia, Peloponnese, Greece (XD) - $30
Lovely, complex nose of dried herbs, flowers, black cherry, blackberry and oak vanilla that is medium-to-high intensity. Aroma replays echo on the medium bodied palate. It is well-balanced with very good acidity and the finish length is excellent. With medium-to-firm tannins, this can be enjoyed now or over the next 5-6 years. Blend of 60% Mavrodafne and 40% Mavro Kalavritino. Slated to be in VINTAGES later this year. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2015 - Review

Amsterdam BrewHouse Jalapeño Chicken + Waffle
On , I attended VIP Night at the 21st Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

I arrived early as per the norm, however, unlike last year, there was no complimentary seminar before the show, so I waited patiently for the doors to open. Once inside just after 6pm, the place was already quite busy and with more than 1,500 wines, beers, spirits and gourmet foods to choose from, I knew I would have to pick my spots wisely.

The first booth that struck my eye was Greek wine booth by Kolonaki Group. I don't recall ever seeing Greek wines at this show previously, but this time there was no missing it - they had a very nice, large display. More importantly, the wines being poured were very good to excellent. Wine reviews are provided below for a few of these wines.

The next surprise on my tour through the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo was the return of the Iconoclast Syrah at the Creekside Estate Winery booth. I had previously tasted the 2012 Iconoclast Syrah and was told that at the time that it wouldn't be made again. I am very happy to report that they changed their mind and brought back the Iconoclast label for another vintage. This Syrah is their middle tier wine that slides between their classic Syrah and the premium Broken Press Syrah. Currently only available through the winery, I hope this will one day makes its way to LCBO shelves for wider enjoyment. Conveniently located across the Creekside booth was another local winery - Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery. I was able to taste through Hidden Bench's entire offering at the show and, as always, the wines were excellent.

I also tasted some fine Austrian wines poured by Le Sommelier at the Advantage Austria booth, some of which should make their way on to VINTAGES shelves in 2016. After hearing quite a few nice things about one of Ontario's newest wineries that opened just over a year ago, I knew I had to make at least a brief stop at the Two Sisters Vineyards booth. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the sisters, Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, as she took me through a flight of their well-made red wines. I hope I get a chance to visit this exciting winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake soon to taste their entire portfolio of wines.

My final wine stop of the evening was at the Wines of Germany booth to taste some fine Riesling. As per the norm, the wines I tasted from Wines of Germany were excellent. I also loved the fact that the folks at Wines of Germany always seem to pour quality wines that are available for purchase at the LCBO or will be available soon.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is mostly about the wine for me as I usually run out of time before I get the chance to try many of the mouth-watering gourmet food offerings. This year, I managed to try the delicious jalapeño chicken & waffle (twice!) at the Amsterdam Brewery booth. It doesn't seem as though this item is on their menu at the Amsterdam BrewHouse on Queen's Quay, but I hope they offer it eventually as it was tasty! Based on this yummy item, I have high hopes for the rest of their menu and hope to visit the restaurant for the first time ever in the near the future.

A favourite stop of mine for food at this show is the Fire in the Kitchen booth where they offer a multitude of yummy, specialty seasonings. This year, they were offering a grilled cheese stuffed with chicken and a marinade heavy on pickles. I added some of their hot sauce and it was delicious!

To end the night, I tried to get some ice cream from the Marble Slab Creamery, but the line (although not very long) was moving very, very slowly. With only one person preparing sweet creations, while the other person was taking her precious time to update the menu board even though the show was closing in 10 minutes, it was painful to wait so I ended up departing the line and headed to Amsterdam Brewery for a second helping of the chicken & waffle.

Maybe it was just me, but food options seemed to be fewer than previous years. Overall, I enjoyed my time at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, making a few new friends while also re-connecting with industry folk that I only seem to see at this show. As always, it was great to see the usual industry folk that I see throughout the year - you know who you are.

Looking forward to more good times in 2016!

Tasting Notes:

SANTO ASSYRTIKO 2014 - PDO Santorini, Greece (D) - $17.95
Medium+ intensity aromas featuring citrus, orange and grapefruit aromas which echo very nicely on the ripe, slightly salty palate. It has fresh acidity and very good length on the finish. Quite enjoyable and has good crowd appeal. Score: 89 pts

ARGYROS SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2014 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $21.95
Tasted this last May and still captivating today. Aroma and flavour profile hasn't changed, still has bracing acids and fine length. Score: 90 pts

BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95
Medium intensity aromas of cherry, strawberry, some florals and sweet spices. Supple tannins on the medium-bodied palate with very nice aroma replays. Acids are nicely balanced. Finishes long and dry with a hint of mineral notes. Good tannic structure will allow this to age well. Drink now or over the next 6-8 years. The 2008 vintage of this wine came to VINTAGES in November. Score: 90 pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (90 pts)

SANTO VINSANTO 2006 - PDO Santorini, Greece (S) (500 mL) - $35.95
Lovely medium-to-high intensity aromas of musky spice, burnt sugar. It's full-bodied with very sweet flavours of caramel, honey, lemon twist, burnt sugar and sweet spices. Somewhat chalky texture with good acidity keeps it from being cloying. Excellent length on the long, smooth finish. Score: 91 pts

Santo Vinsanto 2006 - PDO Santorini, Greece (91 pts)

CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST NIAGARA SYRAH 2013 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $22.95
Medium-to-high intensity nose featuring typical character of black peppercorn, spice, charcuterie, smoked meat, and black fruit notes that also appear in a balanced manner on the palate. Very good acids keep things fresh. Medium-level, gritty tannins will allow for ageing. Finishes long and smooth. Delicious! Score: 89 pts

Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah 2013 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

HIDDEN BENCH CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95
Mild oak, stone fruit, apple, pear and a hint of honeyed fruit aromas from the glass. It's medium-bodied with delicious aroma replays plus notes of lime on the palate. Showing very good complexity, balanced acidity and finishes long. Score: 90 pts

HIDDEN BENCH PINOT NOIR 2013 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $29.95
A fairly lifted nose featuring beetroot, smoke, and cherry that also come through very nicely on the light-to-medium bodied palate. It has balanced acidity and a light tannic grip. Well-balanced overall and finishes long. Score: 90 pts

HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $38.20
Medium-to-high intensity aromas of plum, sandalwood, dark cherry and blackberry. Full-bodied on the palate with sweet tannin and spice flavours to go along with aroma replays. Bright acids. Medium+ level tannins need some time to integrate. Finishes long. Feels disjointed right now. Cellar this one away for at least 2 years. Score: 89 pts

Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Hidden Bench Pinot Noir 2013 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

WIENINGER 2014 - DAC Wiener Gemischter Satz, Vienna, Austria (D) - $21.95
A field blend of at least 10 indigenous grape varieties, this white wine has complex notes of mineral, funk and citrus, as well as some chalky minerality on the palate. It has bright acids and some sweetness on the palate that linger on the long finish. Available in consignment via Le Sommelier. Score: 89 pts

LOIMER LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#142240) (XD) - $21.95
Medium+ intensity nose featuring complex aromas of mineral, lemon drop, lime, and hints of herbs. The rounded palate offers mineral, lemon, and citrus notes. Balanced acidity provides freshness. Finishes long. Will be in LCBO VINTAGES in Spring 2016. Score: 88+ pts

Loimer Langenlois Grüner Veltliner 2014 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (88+ pts)Heinrich Blaufränkisch 2013 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (90 pts)

HEINRICH BLAUFRÄNKISCH 2013 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (XD) - $24.95
Organic and biodynamic, it is made using a grape varietal also known as Lemberger. It has medium+ intensity aromas of cherry, beetroot, freshly tilled earth and forest floor. The palate is medium+ bodied with more cherry and beetroot flavours. Elegant tannins and balanced acidity. Finishes long. Available in consignment via Le Sommelier. Score: 90 pts

TWO SISTERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $62
Medium+ intensity aromas of black pepper, cassis, and oak spice. It's medium-to-full bodied with spice and cassis flavours leading the way on the balanced palate. Acids are bright and mouth-watering, while the medium+ level tannins provide good structure. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 90+ pts

Two Sisters Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

RUPPERTSBERGER LINSENBUSCH GEWÜRZTRAMINER SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#320473) (MS) - $17.95
Lovely, elegant nose of rose petals, lychee and honey that also show up on the sweet palate. Balanced acids and very good length on the finish. Released in VINTAGES December 12th. Score: 88 pts

Ruppertsberger Linsenbusch Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (88 pts)Hiestand Riesling Trocken 2013 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (88 pts)

HIESTAND RIESLING TROCKEN 2013 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#424515) (D) - $19.95
Interesting ripe, melon, pink grapefruit, orange citrus and stony minerality aromas that make an appearance on the slightly honeyed palate. Acids are well-balanced, while the finish is long. Released in VINTAGES October 17th. Score: 88 pts

FRITZ WILLI RIESLING 2013 - Mosel, Germany (#436873) (M) - $18.00
Orange, mineral and herbal aromas of medium intensity. It has stony, mineral, schist flavours joining the orange citrus aroma profile. It's medium-sweet with very good acidity and a minerally, long finish. Released in VINTAGES November 14th. Score: 88 pts

Fritz Willi Riesling 2013 - Mosel, Germany (88 pts)Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2013 - Mosel, Germany (92 pts)

FRITZ HAAG BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER RIESLING AUSLESE 2013 - Mosel, Germany (S) - ??
Fine mineral, orange, citrus and petrol aromas emanate from the glass and echo very nicely on the very sweet palate. The acids are vibrant, yet balanced. Excellent length on the finish. Will provide joy for at least a decade. Score: 92 pts


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  • Monday, July 20, 2015

July 25 LCBO VINTAGES Release: Chilled Wines + Argentina + Greece

LCBO Wine Picks from July 25, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The major feature of the VINTAGES Release is titled "Chill Out" and features 20 refreshing summer wines that should be chilled for ideal enjoyment. Also included in this release are mini-themes on wines from Argentina and Greece.

Obviously, all white wines should be served chilled, with some chilled more than others. The white wines I can recommend from the "Chill Out" feature are the medium sweet Henry of Pelham Riesling (it will be sweet), the just off-dry (slightly sweet) Pinot Gris from New Zealand, and a dry white wine from Italy that is 100% Pecorino.

There are also some red wines as part of the "Chill Out" feature, with the claim that most red wines are served warmer than their intended 'cellar temperature' of 18°C. These days, since I don't have a wine cooling unit or basement, all of my wines are refrigerated prior to opening. It's been amazing to see how much better the wines have tasted with a slight chill and also to see how the wine changes as it warms up in the glass. If your red wines aren't getting a slight chill, I would highly encourage you to try it.

The mini-theme on Argentina was disappointing, while the feature on Greek wines produced two wine recommendations. The dry white wine from Greece is a blend of local grape varieties Malagousia and Assyrtiko. Meanwhile, the Greek red wine is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Ximomavro.

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (91 pts)
Once again, quite a few wines from the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) section at the back of the magazine are included among my wine picks. Among them is a lush blend of 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec from British Columbia, a $110 red wine from Argentina that is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, and an IGT blend of 85% Carignano (Carignan), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot from Sardinia. There's also a $47 rosé that consists of 40% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, 14% Syrah, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. All of these wines will be available in limited quantities at VINTAGES Flagship Stores.

Other red wines to consider from this release include a 60/40 Touriga Nacional/Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) blend from Portugal, and the Lealtanza Reserva which is 100% Tempranillo. The Remelluri red from Spain is mostly Tempranillo, but also contains Garnacha, Graciano and Viura.

For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to check out the Vineland Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling that recently became a VINTAGES Essential and will now be available year round. Other sweet wines to consider are the aforementioned Henry of Pelham Riesling and the Pinot Gris from New Zealand.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TSCHARKE BAROSSA GROUNDS COLLECTION SHIRAZ 2012 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#411520) (XD) - $17.95
  • TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2013 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Southwest, France (#343509) (XD) - $17.95
  • MAÇANITA RED 2012 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#408070) (XD) - $18.95
  • KTIMA KIR-YIANNI 2011 - PGI Imathia, Greece (#419234) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEALTANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#208223) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • REMELLURI LINDES DE REMELLURI VIÑEDOS DE LABASTIDA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#422030) (XD) - $22.95
  • CARPINETO FARNITO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#996553) (XD) - $27.95
  • BARRUA 2011 - IGT Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia, Italy (#109124) (XD) - $43.95  FSE
  • DOMAINE CHANTE CIGALE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012 - AP, Rhône, France (#194993) (XD) - $44.95
  • OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626325) (XD) - $44.95  FSE reviewed here
  • NICOLÁS CATENA ZAPATA 2010 - Mendoza, Argentina (#396960) (D) - $110.00  FSE  reviewed here
Nicolás Catena Zapata 2010 from Mendoza, Argentina (93 pts)

White Wine:

  • TENUTE MESSIERI VISIONI OFFIDA PECORINO 2012 - DOCG, Marche, Italy (#414011) (XD) 750 mL $16.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2012 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (M) - $17.95
  • KTIMA GEROVASSILIOU WHITE 2014 - PGI Epanomi, Greece (#999714) (XD) - $18.95
  • MOMO PINOT GRIS 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (D) - $19.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (M) - $19.95
  • SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#735043) (XD) - $23.95
  • DOG POINT VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2012 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#238568) (XD) - $42.95  FSE
  • BILLAUD-SIMON MONTÉE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#325241) (XD) - $45.95
  • ROUX PÈRE & FILS LES CHAUMES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#208512) (XD) - $64.95

Rosé Wine:

  • DOMAINES OTT CHÂTEAU DE SELLE COEUR DE GRAIN ROSÉ 2014 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#074617) (XD) - $46.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • NAVERAN BRUT NATURE MILLESSIME CAVA 2011 - DO, Navarra, Spain (#414649) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT RÉSERVE CHAMPAGNE - AC, Champagne, France (#036962) (D) - $69.95


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.


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  • Sunday, May 31, 2015

Greek Wine Party at iYellow Wine Club

On , I had the pleasure of attending a Greek Wine Tasting Party hosted at the iYellow Wine Cave. The evening was filled with Greek fare such as olives, cheese, dessert, and other traditional Greek foods that were served alongside more than 30 Greek wines.

In attendance were principals of the wineries, including winemakers, who made the trek all the way from Greece. One such gentleman was Yiannis Flerianos, winemaker at Panagiotopoulos Wines.

Panagiotopoulos Wines is located in Messinia, in the southwestern part of Peloponnese. They farm organically indigenous and international grape varieties at an altitude of 400 metres above sea level. One of the 4 wines that Mr. Flerianos brought with him was made using the local Malagousia grape - a wine that was my favourite white wine of the night. Yiannis also brought an organic 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that showed minimal greenness and fine maturity. Both of these wines are reviewed below.

Yiannis Flerianos - Winemaker at Panagiotopoulos Wines
When I met Mr. Flerianos earlier this month, he mentioned that they did not have representation in our market. For any Agents looking to add a Greek winery that produces yummy wines, some of which are organic, to their portfolio, take a look at Panagiotopoulos Wines.

After having enjoyed the Cavino Grande Reserve during my Greek Wine series back in April, I was curious to see what else Cavino had to offer. On this night, in addition to the Grande Reserve, they also had their Reserve bottling and the premium Mega Spileo Grand Cave Red. Wine reviews of both of these delicious wines are found below, and can be purchased via their agent United Stars.

Chocolate covered baklava

Most of the wines available for tasting on this night were available on Consignment, while a few could be found in the LCBO General List and VINTAGES sections. A couple of easy drinking wines that could be found in LCBO General List in 1 Litre or 1.5 Litre bottles were the Apelia Moschofilero (white wine, #239863) and Apelia Agiorgitiko (red wine, #239871). Both of the wines are available quite cheaply at $10.55 (1 Litre) and $13.95 (1.5 Litre) and make for good every day or party wines.

Overall, my impression of Greek wines is good value for money when using local grape varieties. And I hope they continue to produce these delicious wines and that the LCBO continuously brings them to Ontario. A recent initiative by the LCBO to launch regional specialty wine shops will certainly go a long way to help this cause. The first such store is located on the Danforth and features roughly 90 Greek wines.

Below, you will find wine reviews of some of the wines I enjoyed at this tasting.

And lastly, thank you to Angela Aiello and the iYellow team for the invite, and Ariel Andres for providing some of these photos.

Ya sou!

Tasting Notes:

PANAGIOTOPOULOS MALAGOUSIA 2014 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (XD) - $????
Medium-high aromatics featuring orange, citrus, and wild herb notes. It's dry on the palate with balanced acids and herb, limestone, hay flavour profile. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Panagiotopoulos Malagousia 2014 from PGI Peloponnese, Greece (89 pts)

PANAGIOTOPOULOS MERLOT 2009 - PGI Trifilia, Greece (XD) - $????
Aromas of medium-to-high intensity showing plum, milk chocolate, wet earth and cedar. Palate is medium+ bodied with very nice aroma replays and some mint, herbal notes for complexity. It has refined tannins, balanced acids and a long finish. Well done! Score: 89 pts

Panagiotopoulos Merlot 2009 from PGI Trifilia, Greece (89 pts)Panagiotopoulos Cabernet Sauvignon BIO 2008 from PGI Trifilia, Greece (90+ pts)

PANAGIOTOPOULOS CABERNET SAUVIGNON BIO 2008 - PGI Trifilia, Greece (XD) - $????
Made with organic grapes. Elegant medium+ aromas of cassis, dried fruit, fig, dark berry and whiffs of green pepper. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with very nice aroma replays. It has refined tannins and a very long finish. Score: 90+ pts

DOMAINE MERCOURI 2010 - PGI Letrini, Greece (XD) - $19.95
Red wine blend of 85% Refosco and 15% Mavrodaphne. Medium intensity nose with currant, vanilla, oak, bretty and smoke. Medium-bodied palate with fresh acids and a balanced flavour profile consisting of red fruit and leather. It's dry with somewhat firm, yet integrated tannins and medium-long finish with steely aftertaste. Score: 87 pts

DOMAINE LANTIDES LITTLE ARK 2014 - PDO Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (XD) - $????
White wine blend that is equal parts Assyrtiko and Malagousia showing medium+ intensity aromas of crisp citrus, floral, mineral and herbally notes with floral and herbal flavours emerging on the palate. It's medium-bodied and feels plumpy in the mouth. Dry (i.e. not sweet) and lengthy finish. Score: 87 pts

CAVINO NEMEA RESERVE 2009 - PDO Nemea, Greece (XD) - $14.95
100% Agiorgitiko. Perfumed floral aromas of medium+ intensity, red berry, plum and sweet spices. Palate has low tannins with nice aroma replays, and good freshness from the acidity. Finish is medium-long. Score: 88 pts
Cavino Nemea Reserve 2009 from PDO Nemea, Greece (88 pts)Cavino Domain Mega Spileo Grand Cave Red 2008 from PGI Achaia, Peloponnese, Greece (90 pts)

CAVINO DOMAIN MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE RED 2008 - PGI Achaia, Peloponnese, Greece (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 60% Mavrodafne and 40% Mavro Kalavritino. Medium-to-high intensity aromatics featuring black fruits, earthy, dark cherries, barnyard and dried flowers. It's full-bodied with smooth, integrated tannins and pleasing aroma replays. It also has mouth-watering acids and a very long finish. Score: 90 pts

TSELEPOS CLASSIC MOSCHOFILERO 2014 - PDO Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (#724583) (XD) - $14.95
Medium+ intensity nose with herbal, lemon and white peach aromas. The palate is dry with fresh, bright acids and very nice aroma replays with predominantly herbal notes. It has a slightly chalky mineral texture and a medium-long finish. I would expect this vintage to show up in LCBO VINTAGES at some point this year. Score: 88+ pts

Tselepos Classic Moschofilero 2014 from PDO Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (88 pts)


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  • Sunday, May 17, 2015

Argyros Santorini Assyrtiko 2014 (Greece) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is from Estate Argyros and follows a family tradition dating back to 1903. The grapes for this wine were cultivated from a private vineyard that is 50-60 years old and located in Episkopi Gonia, in the central part of the island of Santorini.

This wine will be available in LCBO VINTAGES on June 13th.

ARGYROS SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2014 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $21.95

Argyros Santorini Assyrtiko 2014 from PDO Santorini, Greece (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

100% Assyrtiko. Synthetic cork. Intriguing combination of minerals, fresh sea water and lemon on the nose. The palate is medium bodied and dry, with bracing acidity and an oily texture. Thirst quenching salty mineral and lemon citrus flavours in the glass. Excellent length on the finish. Will be enjoyed with homemade Halibut and chips. Recommended. Score: 90 pts


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  • Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thalia Sauvignon Blanc - Vilana 2014 (Greece) - Wine Review

Another summery-type of day calls for a summery-type of wine. Tonight, it's yet another wine from Greece that is a white wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc and the local varietal Vilana.

Vilana is mainly found on Greek's largest island - Crete. And even though Crete is dominated by red grapes, Vilana is the most planted white grape on the island. This varietal is quite difficult to grow and produces wines that are thirst-quenching and easy to drink. It is also good for food pairing, especially when your meal contains a wide range of contrasting dishes. Tonight, I will be sipping on this with tomato and onion tiger shrimps, followed by dal bhat (rice).

This wine is available at the LCBO as part of General List and is readily available throughout the province of Ontario.

THALIA SAUVIGNON BLANC - VILANA 2014 - PGI Crete, Greece (#273490) - $9.95

Wine Review of Thalia Sauvignon Blanc - Vilana 2014 from PGI Crete, Greece (86 pts)

Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Citrus, melon, pineapple and herbally aromas from the glass with much of the same character on the palate. It's light-weighted with a fleshy mouthfeel and some richness. Freshness shines through on mid-palate. Dry, lingering finish. Serve well-chilled. Score: 86 pts


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  • Sunday, April 19, 2015

2008 Cavino Grande Reserve Nemea (Greece) - Wine Review

wine is the final instalment in my series of Wines from Peloponnese (links to part 1, part 2 and part 3).

Once again, this is 100% Agiorgitiko with all the grapes coming from the Nemea PDO. However, in this case, the grapes hail from small vineyards in the Mountains of Nemea at an altitiude of 750 - 900 metres. It has gone through malolactic fermentation and maturation in French and American oak barrels for about 18 months, then bottled for another 12 months prior to release.

This particular red wine was featured last year in the November 22 LCBO VINTAGES release. Quite a few bottles are still available on shelves.


CAVINO GRANDE RESERVE 2008 - PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (#295618) (D) - $17.95

2008 Cavino Grande Reserve from PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (88 pts)
Tasting Note:
Plum, dried fig and herb aromas from the cork. Medium+ aromatics from the glass with blackcurrant, leather, cocoa and plum notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with rubber, wild herb, leather, raspberry, and spice flavours. It has very good acidity, dusty tannins, and shows hints of cocoa on the medium-length finish. This fine, maturing wine will drink nicely for another 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2013 Tselepos Classic Moschofilero (Greece) - Wine Review

Opened up this fragrant beauty of a wine on in my continuuing series on wines from Peloponnese (part 1, part 2), Greece.

Grapes for this wine were sourced within Mantinia PDO, from selected vineyards within the communes of Rizes, Lithovounia and Agiorgitika in Arcadia. The region is known for producing wines of distinct aromatic and flavour profiles using the grapes Moschofilero and Asproudes (a term often used to refer to unknown varietals.) This white wine is a classic, textbook example of Moschofilero with its fragrant qualities and naturally fresh acidity.

The wine was featured among my wine picks in the December 6th LCBO VINTAGES release at $17.95, but has now come down in price by $3 - excellent value at this price point! Small quantities are available throughout the province, so you should be able to find this bottle at your local LCBO outlet.


TSELEPOS CLASSIC MOSCHOFILERO 2013 - PDO Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (#724583) (XD) - $14.95

2013 Tselepos Classic Moschofilero from PDO Mantinia, Peloponnese, Greece (89 pts)
Tasting Note:
100% Moschofilero. Light orange-pinkish hue. Perfumed nose of orange, peach, blossom flowers, very Muscat-like. Palate is medium-bodied and dry (not sweet) with orange peel, citrus and floral notes, vibrant acidity. Quite warm mouthfeel with 13% alcohol. Excellent length on the finish. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gaia Agiorgitiko by Gaia 2013 (Greece) - Wine Review

This is the 4th wine in my series featuring wines from the Peloponnese region of Greece. My first post about wines from Peloponnese featured a very easy drinking Agiorgitiko. red wine is made from the same grape, but is more robust, shows more complexity and is more my style of wine.

Agiorgitiko is grown almost exclusively within Nemea, the largest PDO appellation of Greece. Nemea is located in northeast Peloponnese. Falling between Gaia Wines' Notios Red (which is meant to be enjoyed in its youth) and the Gaia Estate (with its long ageing potential), the Agiorgitiko by Gaia is a wine that can be enjoyed now or cellared for a few years after bottling.

The enclosure used on this wine is a synthetic cork made by Nomacorc. There is some writing in Greek (or some other language) written on the cork. It's included in picture below and if anyone can read that, I'd love to know what it says.

GAIA AGIORGITIKO BY GAIA 2013 - PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (#) (XD) - $21.30

2013 Gaia Agiorgitiko by Gaia from PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (88 pts)
Tasting Note:
Synthetic Nomacorc cork. Perfumed nose of cherries, red currant, and raspberry with underlying cedar oak and vanilla aromas. On the mid-weighted palate, it has much of the same aromas, with fine, dusty tannins, good structure and fresh acidity. Slight warmth on the mid-palate. Bitter, lengthy finish that has hints of oak. Enjoyable now or cellar up to 3 years. Available on Consignment via Agent The Small Winemakers Collection. Score: 88 pts

Nomacorc Synthetic Cork


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  • Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wines from Peloponnese, Greece

Wines of Peloponnese
This is the first post in a series that will feature the wines of Peloponnese to celebrate (April 12th) this year. In addition to the wines, I also received some very nice Greek products that I will be tweeting about over the coming days.

The Peloponnese wine region is located in the southern peninsula of Greece and is (mostly) separated from mainland Greece by the Gulf of Corinth. It is also the largest winemaking area in Greece. This region is home to ancient Olympia, site of the first Olympic Games, and has been producing wine for at least 4,000 years. Popular native grape varieties grown within the Peloponnese are Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero and Mavrodaphne.

Moschofilero (MOH-skoh-FEE-leh-roh) is a fragrant white grape with gray/pink/purple skin that exhibits floral, spice and perfumed characteristics. The wine reviewed below comes from Arcadia, in central Peloponnese, and shows very good typicity for the grape.

Agiorgitiko (ah-yohr-YEE-tee-koh) has to be one of the most difficult-to-pronounce grapes around. Fortunately, it also goes by the name 'St. George'. This black-skinned grape produces red wines that are quite fruity, as in the version below, similar to the Italian Barbera. Agiorgitiko is the second most widely planted red grape in all of Greece.

The last wine reviewed below is a blend using the Mavrodaphne and Black Korinthiaki grapes. The Mavrodaphne varietal is a black wine grape native to the Achaea region in Northern Peloponnese. It is typically used to produce fortified wine, as the Kourtaki is below. It is also typically blended using the solera method, which then produces a non-vintage wine.

The 2013 vintage of the Greek harvest is being hailed as one of the best in recent years, especially for white grapes. It showed in the Moschofilero. All the three wines reviewed below were quite easy drinking, have good crowd-appeal, and come at attractive price points at the LCBO.

Stay with me as I find kefi while taking you through the three remaining wines (two of which are from the 2013 vintage) to celebrate Easter and the wines of Peloponnese.

Tasting Notes:
TROUPIS FTERI MOSCHOFILERO 2013 - IGP Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece (#392936) (XD) - $15.20
Very pale yellow colour, almost clear white. Fragrant aromatics that show floral, citrus, peach and some lychee and herbal notes as it warms up. The palate is medium-bodied and creamy with balanced acids. Flavour profile consists of floral, white peach and hints of orange. Initial kiss of sweetness tapers off into the dry spectrum. Decent length on the finish. A very good introduction to the grape. Readily available as it's LCBO General List. Score: 87 pts

2013 Troupis Fteri Moschofilero from IGP Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece (87 pts)

BOUTARI AGIORGITIKO 2013 - PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (#172148) (XD) - $11.85
Plum and prune aromas from the cork. Medium intensity nose with red cherry, red currant and soft floral aromas. Palate is medium-bodied and dry, with soft, rounded tannins, balanced acids and red currant, cherry and mild spice flavours. Average length finish. Simple, easy drinking red. Readily available as it's LCBO General List. Score: 86 pts

2013 Boutari Agiorgitiko from PDO Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece (86 pts)

KOURTAKI MAVRODAPHNE OF PATRAS - PDO, Peloponnese, Greece (#208413) (S) - $14.95
Blend of Mavrodaphne and Black Korinthiaki. Prune and raisin aromas from the cork. Medium intensity aroams of raisins, dried figs, caramel and dates with medium sweet aroma replays on the palate. Smooth, slightly creamy texture, light-to-mid weight body with good acids. Medium length finish that has notes of semi-sweet milk chocolate from a hot fudge sundae. Serve well-chilled. This fortified wine was recently released into VINTAGES on March 21 and has good inventory levels. Score: 86 pts

Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras from PDO, Peloponnese, Greece (86 pts)


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