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Domaine Economou

_Sitia, Crete

Site: Altitude 600-650 meters on plateau of Ziros, Sitia, Crete

 

Vineyards: 10 hectares

 

Climate: Mountainous Mediterranean (warm days, moderate nights)

 

Soil: Calcareous, rich in Flysch and Phyllite

 

Grape varieties: White - Thrapsathiri, Vilana, Αssyrtiko

Red: Liatiko, Mandilari

Organically certified

 

Production: 20.000 bottles in average

No one can deny that the emergence of the red grape variety Liatiko as a grape with great potential has to thank a lot to the efforts of a winemaker from Sitia in Crete, Giannis Economou.  Through his hard and persistent work, he succeeded in proving that even a “small," relatively unknown variety can produce wines of world class.

 

With broad professional experience as an oenologist in internationally renowned estates* and a correct aesthetic approach developed over the years, Giannis Economou has achieved to make wines with an unparalleled expression of a style, that although could slightly remind of a mature white Burgundy or an aged Barolo, is not subject to any mimicking tendency.

 

Next to the impressive uplifted by refreshing acidity oily, gastronomic Thrapsathiri-Vilana figures the fully-textured mineral Assyrtiko reminiscent of an Alsatian Grand Cru Riesling with its petrol and flinty hints. However,  it is the red wines from Liatiko grape that draw the attention of wine lovers whether they are dry or sweet.

 

According to Giannis Economou, good wine at a theoretical and practical level is not required to be just technologically up to par, since this is feasible for most of the wines today regardless the price category to which they belong.  A great wine must have an identity and reflect the nature and tradition in which it is born, from grapevines that have perfectly adapted to the soil and climate of the area, with minimum intervention and limited use of technology.

 

The old ungrafted Liatiko vines (60-80 years old) that grow on the plateau of Ziros provide a significant advantage in forming the character of the wine while it is an important and determined parameter of quality as the time pass. Each year the resiliency they develop helps them respond better and more efficiently to the fluctuations of weather conditions and the general climatic changes.  The wines they produce neither have high levels of astringent tannins nor the intense green aromas or the bitterness that one often finds in wines produced out of young vines.

 

The practices and actions applied such as the return of the linear vineyards to their original bush form, the implementation of organic farming since 1997, and the exceptionally low yields, non the less the purely manual labor and the use of indigenous yeast, to mention just a few, aim at taking advantage of the natural dynamic of the vineyard and its interpretation into quality.  Within this framework, the time of maturing in the bottle does not necessarily keep up with the usual standards of other wineries.  The time of maturation may differ among wines from different vintages depending on their quality.  Thus, wine from a good year may stay in the cellar for a long time (even a decade in some cases) until the producer determines whether or not it should leave the cellar. So, the time the wine is released consumers can evaluate and assess the wine based on its progress, exactly as they would do with some other well-known wines of the world.

 

Economou’s way of pushing the boundaries of possibilities regarding quality and style doesn’t allow any room for a bad or mediocre result.  His approach of being positioned as individualistic and authentic within a globalized and standardized market was worth his trouble.  Giannis Economou's distinctive wines enrich the wine lists of top restaurants in New York, London, Montreal, and Tokyo.

 

*Giannis Economou worked at Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux, at Ceretto Aziende Vitivinicole and Enrico Scavino in Piemonte and Franz Keller in Freiburg in Germany, among others.

 

Liatiko 2006, Domain Economou. PGI Crete

 

Regardless of the vintage or maturity, once you have tasted Economou’s Liatiko, it is easy to confirm over and over again that this is a wine breathed by originality and defined by high aesthetics. Despite being powerful, it has not been made to show off but to offer wine lovers an alternative with an emphasis on quality and naturalness rather than a stylistic matter that tend to serve only commercial purposes.

 

Medium brick red color; mature developing nose with no sign of degradation. Clean broad fruit intermingled with ripe vegetal notes and discrete aromas of dried Mediterranean herbs and spices.  A soft texture is deriving from grapes of old ungrafted vines as well as from extensive cellaring for almost a decade, thus making worthwhile the patience for all these years of maturation.

 

The lively acidity makes for a refreshing mouthful connecting the subtle tannic structure, which translates into the evident power to staying alive for years to come, with a multi-layered flavor capacity. The alcohol appears balanced and well integrated.

The rich palate, the lively spice fruit, and the dried herb aromas fold out gradually during its long persistent length.

 

Juicy without any sense of satiation, it can offer pleasure in a meal of complex and clean tastes such as Sushi and fish-based recipes.

 

Liatiko 2006 is an idiosyncratic and elegant wine from an exceptionally talented winemaker.  It's just wine in a class of its own.

 

 

© 2015 MONOPOLE

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