Monthly Archives: June 2018

Return to Kefalonia

After four years, back to the Greek island of Kefalonia, this time to Fiskardo, a pretty (and upmarket) fishing village on the northern coast. Unlike Crete, last year, the wine scene on the island is unexciting and it was not easy to find interesting wines, especially if one had self-imposed restrictions of indigenous grapes and Kefalonian vinification – rules I broke just to get some variety. No wine shops, just a couple of supermarkets with similar stock and pricing. A peculiarity was a lack of medium priced wines. Plenty around €6-8 and €16-20, not much in the middle. This might be explained by the presence of some very posh boats in the harbour. None of the wines were especially interesting but here are a few:

We tried a few wines made from robola, the workhorse white grape on the island – this was probably the best with a rich complexity the grape doesn’t always achieve.

This was the first bottle I bought, misreading the shelf price and thinking it was €8, which would have been good value. Actually it was €14 – not so much. Gentilini Notes 2017 60% agiorgitiko, 40% mavrodaphne, 6m in oak 13%, light, savoury, moreish and lasted well into a second day. Gentilini is the upmarket winemaker on the island – this was one of their cheaper bottles but not stocked at the airport duty free, unfortunately.

We had a wonderful boat trip to Ithaca one evening with a taverna meal at the end of it. This was the local rose, made, I think, from mavrodaphne or a local variant. Very drinkable – even from the smallest wine glasses I have ever encountered –  with a slight bitter note. Sold by the kilo, rather than the litre, at a bargain €4.

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Finally another Gentilini Notes, this one mainly sauvignon blanc with 20% tsaoussi, another grape I’ve never heard of and a Kefelonian speciality. Quite low acidity so a good match for SB. Nice wine with clean flavours, around €12.

Conclusion: lovely people, fabulous weather, good and interesting food – didn’t have a bad meal – just rather dull wines.

 

 

 

 

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Third opinion

A few weeks ago when we were staying in Spitalfields, at the fabulous Town House we had a meal in La Chappelle. Not being able to afford a bottle of Hermitage La Chappelle, from which the restaurant is named (cheapest – the 2005 at £387) we went for a 2014 Faugères, “Les Bancèls”, Domaine de Cébène.

I really enjoyed the wine – 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre – during the meal so bought some from Leon Stolarski, a wine merchant we have mentioned before. This was the 2015, not the 2014. My enthusiasm was infectious and Geoff also had a couple of bottles – see below.

However it wasn’t quite the same. The peppery syrah notes were absent and, although it was a perfectly decent wine, I felt slightly disappointed. The seller claims it will improve on day 2. I’m not so sure. [Edit: it didn’t, although still a very nice drink. I didn’t get the bitterness Geoff tasted.]

[Geoff: Richard’s report and the fact it was a French Syrah meant I was looking forward to this wine. There was quite a difference between the rich, mid-palate which was fruit sweet and the final taste which, to me, was distinctly bitter. So much so I thought it had a fault. It did not improve with more ‘air-time’ so I though it was a characteristic of the area. The second bottle was the same. As R has written it had no peppery Syrah notes either. I wonder if there was either a vintage difference, some manufacturing issue or it was me being very sensitive to this style. Sorry, not for me.]

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