Showing posts with label vin-santo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vin-santo. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Boutari Wine Tasting and Dinner at ONE Restaurant



Boutari Wine Tasting & Dinner at ONE Restaurant
In mid-October, I was invited to a very special and exclusive tasting of the fine wines from the Boutari portfolio. These Greek wines were paired with gourmet fare at Mark McEwan's ONE Restaurant in Yorkville, downtown Toronto.

The guest speaker for the evening was Dr. Yannis Voyatzis, CEO & General Manager at Boutari, and one of the leading Oenologists in Greece. He was joined by Christina Boutari, a 5th generation member of the Boutari family who kicked off the evening with an overview and some history about the winery.

The Boutari Company was established in 1879 by Ioannis Boutaris and currently owns many wineries and vineyards throughout Greece (and Europe). The 6 wineries owned by the company in Greece are situated in the country's most important winemaking regions - the AOCs of Naoussa, Goumenissa, Crete, Santorini, Mantinia, and Attica.

Heirloom Carrot Salad paired with MoschofileroChristina Boutari and Dr. Yannis Voyatzis

Dr. Voyatzis took us through all 8 wines over the course of the evening as they were paired with the 4-course meal that was crafted specially for this intimate event. The first course was an Heirloom Carrot Salad with pomegranate yoghurt, avocado, orange, pistachios, raisin chutney and cilantro vinaigrette which was paired with a pair of white wines. Both wines were made with 100% Moschofilero - a rose/grey coloured grape that is larger than Gewürztraminer. Most fascinating was the fact that each wine was made in a completely different style, but each paired quite well with the salad. The Moschofilero is quite versatile in that it can be served as a sipper or with lighter fare such as salads, while the Oropedio is more of a food wine and really accentuated the citrus flavours in the salad. Full tasting notes of these and other wines tasted on this night are provided below.

The second course was specially crafted for me because I don't eat octopus. Instead, I enjoyed a pair of falafels on a bed of risotto and topped with greens and a side of green mint chutney. It was paired with two wines that were quite different from each other - the light, ripe-fruited Agioritiko and the big, full-bodied Skalani that offered more floral notes. In this case, the Agioritiko was the better pairing with the falafel as it wasn't too heavy and offered freshness to balance out the chickpea-based falafel. For me, the Skalani is a wine I would have on its own or pair it with the main course on this night.

Falafel with Agioritiko and Boutari SkalaniLamb Chops with Xinomavro

Lamb chops with sides of tzatziki, herb roasted potatoes, and a Santorini salad that was topped with a lemon garlic vinaigrette. Food-wise, this was my highlight of the night! Lamb with a big, Greek red wine is a match made in heaven. What made this course even more special were the wines we paired the lamb with - the 2010 Grande Reserve Xinomavro which has been a favourite of mine a few years now, the 1879 Legacy 2007 which is an excellent wine, and last but definitely not the least, we had the opportunity to taste a 1992 Grande Reserve Xinomavro. All three wines were fabulous, with the 2010 G.R. Xinomavro and the Legacy pairing better with the lamb as this protein requires tannins for a balanced experienced. Furthermore, the Skalani tasted in the second course also paired really with the lamb. As for the 1992 G.R. Xinomavro, this is a great, mature wine to sip and enjoy on its own as it's not often one gets to taste a wine that's more than 20 years old.

Greek Vinsanto with Baklava and Halva

For dessert, we paired a Vinsanto that had some age on it with traditional Greek desserts baklava and halva made by Serano Bakery. Historical evidence suggests that Vinsanto's place of origin is Santorini, where late-harvested grapes are dried in the sun, otherwise known as the passito style. These fine, rich desserts were very sweet and paired beautifully with a 2008 Vinsanto that was also very sweet, but balanced by good acidity and has many years of enjoyment remaining.

Thank you to Kolonaki Group, Dr. Yiannis Voyatzis, Christina Boutari, and the staff at ONE Restaurant for your gracious hospitality. It was a very enjoyable and memorable evening!

Wine reviews of each wine tasted on this night are provided below. Unless otherwise noted, all of these wines can be found at the Destination Greece Specialty LCBO store at 200 Danforth Avenue. Moreover, some of these wines can also be found at other regular LCBO outlets - click on the wine's six-digit product code for more info. You can also contact the Agent to Kolonaki Group for more information or shop the Boutari collection online at ShopGreekWine.com.

Tasting Notes:

BOUTARI MOSCHOFILERO 2015 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (#172387) (D) - $13.10
Medium+ intensity aromatics offers fresh lemon, herbs, tropical fruits and floral aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and fleshy with crisp, juicy acids. Herbally and lemon pith flavours. The finish length is very good. Really appreciated this being served at the right temperature. Good for the patio or with salads. Score: 88 pts

Boutari Moschofilero 2015 (88 pts)Boutari Oropedio 2014 (88+ pts)

BOUTARI OROPEDIO 2014 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (XD) - $17.95
100% Moschofilero from oropedio (meaning "high plateau"), at 650 metres, altitude, and partially barrel-fermented, this has a medium-intensity nose featuring herbally, fennel, and mild oak nuances. It's also has some pine aromas, reminding me of a Retsina. The medium-bodied palate is dry and nicely textured, with softened acids due to oak, and pithy flavours. Medium-long finish. The 2016 vintage of this wine arrives on our shores this April. Score: 88+ pts

BOUTARI AGIORGITIKO 2015 - PDO Nemea, Greece (#172148) (XD) - $13.10
Aromas of medium+ intensity and offering ripe red fruits, earthy, cherry, red licorice, plum and some clove - quite complex. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with cherry, cough medicine, subtle oak spice, clove and cinnamon flavours. Lightly tannic with fresh, juicy acids. Medium finish length. Score: 88 pts

Boutari Agiorgitiko 2015 (88 pts)Boutari Skalani 2011 (91 pts)

BOUTARI SKALANI 2011 - PGI Heraklion, Greece (XD) - $29.95
A 50/50 blend of Kotsifali & Syrah, this has medium-high intensity aromas that are meaty and perfumed with purple fruits and sweet oak. It's full-bodied and juicy with blackberry, violet, floral, black plum and sweet oak flavours. It has refined tannins, very good acidity and excellent length on the finish. Drinakable now, but can age another 10 years. This is really fine! Score: 91 pts

BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95
Tasted a few times now, and on this occasion I get lovely medium-high intensity aromas of cherry, clove, sweet floral and oak spice, and hints of olive and black pepper. Olive notes become more prominent with air. Medium-full bodied with still bright acids, nice black cherry, floral, some savoury notes, and hints of dried floral & fruit. Very good finish length. Approachable now, but can age another 3-5 years. Maturing well. Score: 90+ pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 (90+ pts)Boutari 1879 Legacy 2007 (92 pts)

BOUTARI 1879 LEGACY 2007 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#675081) (XD) - $49.60
First tasted in May, and delighted to be tasting again. This single vineyard Xinomavro has medium-high aromatics of great complexity - floral, cherry, clove, black berry, black pepper, black olive and oak and should open up further with decanting. The palate is full-bodied and complex led by an appealing floral note. There's good concentration of fruit balanced by mouth-watering acids. Finish length is excellent. A big wine that is drinking well now, but will age for decades. Score: 92 pts

BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 1992 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (XD) - $100
The treat of the night. This offers a medium-high intensity nose, very mature in profile with rose, cherry, dried fruit, umami, and just a touch of raisin/prune aromas. It's medium+ bodied with nice cherry-driven aroma replays. Still has very good acidity. Tannins are resolved, very smooth, velvety mouthfeel. Long finishing. Drink soon. Availability of this wonderful wine in Ontario is TBD. Score: 92 pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 1992 (92 pts)Boutari Vinsanto 2008 (92 pts)

BOUTARI VINSANTO 2008 - PDO Santorini, Greece (S) (500 mL) - $32
Made with sun-dried grapes consisting of 90% Assyrtiko and the rest mainly Aidani. This has an inviting nose of burnt caramel, sugar, and dried apricots of medium-high intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied with a grainy texture due to the wine being unfiltered. Very sweet flavours of dried apricot, honey, citrus, all-spice, Christmas cake are balanced by very good acidity. Long finish. Currently not available in Ontario. Score: 92 pts


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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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


Sunday, December 9, 2012

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  • Sunday, December 9, 2012

Castellani Sommavite Santovino (Italy) - Wine Review

Baking almond biscotti today, I decided to open this Vin Santo that was purchased from the May 5th release way back in 2009. Unfortunately, like many of my other dessert wines, I tend to forget about them and then realize that I should have opened them years ago.

CASTELLANI SOMMAVITE SANTOVINO N.V. - Tuscany, Italy (#000927) (S) (500 mL) - $10.95

Homemade Almond Biscotti with Castellani Sommavite Santovino
Tasting Note:
Plum and raisin notes from the cork. Closed nose with some aromas of raisin and hazelnut. Creamy mouthfeel with mouth-watering acidity and flavours of nutty caramel. It's well past its prime and really should have been opened back in 2009. This non-vintage dessert wine was featured recently in the Sept. 29 release and I wouldn't hesitate to try it again as it looks like it would be pretty good during its prime drinking window. At least the homemade almond biscotti that my wife baked was delicious!


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