Over the weekend Richard produced wines from two grape varieties that I had never heard of, let alone tried.
The first wine was from the red grape Mandilaria, originating in the eastern Aegean. Jancis Robinson describes the wine as “very deeply coloured and tannic but generally lack[ing] body” so it is used in blends. However, she mentions that Lyrarakis (a Cretan producer) has used good sites and produces wines of balance. The wine we tried was from Lyrarakis’ Plakouri vineyard (2014) and it was very impressive. An intense red colour with purple rim, it had an attractive menthol nose followed by dark fruit aromas. The forward black fruit continued on the palate which was long, dry and with the right amount of tannins. The wine did not lack body – or quality.
Sunday’s white wine was a blend of Assyrtiko and Moshoudi, entitled Papargyiou Blanc (2016). The wild yeast fermentation had produced an alcohol level of 13%. Richard initially found it a touch sweet and very astutely proclaimed it similar to a Muscat – which it was! The Moshoudi grape is Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains, the world -wide classic but having Greece as its original homeland. Blended with the more austere Assyrtiko to raise the acidity levels, I found this another good wine. The nose was intriguing – mint, melon, spices (inc. ginger), very slightly smoky and still floral; it kept changing as it opened up. A rich mouth feel, fresh and very slightly off-dry, of medium length, this was another example of some excellent Greek wines that we have tried recently.
It’s really worth seeking out these wines.
[Richard: the red came from the duty free shop at Chania airport on Crete (if you ever visit, the shop on the right after you pass through security has much more stock), around €14. We’d tried, on holiday, a few wines from Lyrarakis and they were of consistently good quality and usually made with local grapes. This was a lovely wine with an an enticing nose and a good tannin/fruit balance. The white was from the Greek shop in Birmingham, mentioned here several times. Rather expensive at around £16 but…High Street rents and all that. For my taste not quite dry enough – I spotted the Muscat taste without realising it and Moshoudi were the same thing. But, a well made wine, with, for me, a pronounced mint aroma.]