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THE LAST WINE OF EARTH
A midsummer Night's dream
By Nikos Panidis
Nectar Samos 1980 Union of Winemaking Cooperatives of Samos, Greece
Grape Variety: Muscat Blanc
Muscat is perhaps one of the few aromatic grape varieties that we appreciate heavily based on its distinctive aromatic nose reminiscent of intense primary floral and citrus aromas when young while it can reveal in a unique way the hedonistic side of a sweet wine. A step further, an oak aged version of Muscat such as the Nectar Samos 1980 with less primary aromas yet infused with orange zest confit, dried figs, raisins, sweet spices, chocolate flakes, hints of earthy fungi and decayed leaves is bringing the aesthetic quality to an another, higher level.
The meticulously handpicked late-harvest grapes from the terraced vineyards of Samos island are dried in the sun for a week reaching the optimum point of sugar concentration that results in a sweet wine with more or less 185 g/l of residual sugar. Sweet enough though not sticky with balanced acidity shows a remarkable ability to undergo prolonged aging without losing its natural sweet fruit character. With excellent progression through the palate and a dried fig almost dry finish it can be nothing less than irresistibly appealing.
Nectar Samos 1980 is one of the finest version of what a Muscat a petits grains has to offer worldwide while its younger version Samos Nectar which is commercially available in all main wine markets (under 10 euro) is unbeatable regarding reasonable pricing and level of quality.
The Union of Winemaking Cooperatives of Samos is producing some of the most striking Muscat wines in the world offering a highly sophisticated range of brands not only at affordable prices but also with consistency across vintages whether both in the sweet or the dry styles.
It feels wonderful to drink a glass of chilled Nectar Samos 1980 in a warm summer evening which makes me think that if it were a play and not a wine it would be the «A Midsummer Night’s dream».
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A true natural beauty
By Nikos Panidis
Gali Pure Merlot 2011, Gali Vineyards, Turkey
Grape Variety: Merlot
The amazing thing about Gali Pure Merlot 2011 is that the impression one has tasted this wine is not at all compatible to what one would expect for a wine produced in a place considered warm in any standards being on the Mediterranean coast.
Laying in a narrow strip of land, the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, between two seas the Aegean in the northwest and the Marmara in the southeast, the sea breezes, the morning mist and the limestone rich soil define the flavors and structure of this beautiful Merlot wine. Due to, vineyards are at a “Natural Protected Area,” the winery is situated only 12 km away at Evreshe district.
Gali Pure Merlot is skillfully crafted with a challenging aromatic complexity, at first a bit reserved; quite mineral without any dull merlot-fruitcake flavor, having a richness that is far away from some unnatural concentration. Marked by a tannic grip, it proves that the plurality of wine making styles and authenticity still exist in the world where fixation with evident qualities like over-extraction and velvety texture has become mainstream.
It is a wine that demands your temporal attention due to its full scope of flavors; sweet seductive fruity and spicy with hints of background stalks sliding into a lingering finish while demonstrating through the robust and elegant structure its ability to gain on scent and subtlety with further bottle age. A perfect match to the unpretentious palate more than a standard-bearer of an essential pleasure transmitting the impression that it’s natural to its self.
Gali Pure Merlot is a triumph of substance over style, and it has its owners’ Hakan and Nilgün passion and dedication to thank.
Their respect for Nature and devotion to natural vines growing, healthy hand-picked grapes fermented with indigenous yeast, careful barrel maturation for 12 months, the strict minimum amount of sulfites added, and no collage, take a step further into serious wine making. For a relatively young establishment (2009 was the estate’s first vintage) such as Gali vineyards, the results are impressive and very promising. They reflect the land, its people and the history of both.
Gali derives from Greek Καλή (kalí) which means good and in Ottoman stands for ‘precious, valuable and extending beyond the limits”. It is "the good wine" Gali vineyards is striving.
It is a nice place to be
By Nico Manessis
Santorini Nykteri 2014 Venetsanos Winery, Greece
In another life, one of the features was a profile of Santorini’s unique vineyard in The Greek Wine Guide, 1996 Edition. This jewel of an island vineyard was then promising, yet unknown to foreign markets. It was obvious that these penetrating, before chilling chambers, angular, bone-dry wines would create a cult following, spearheading modern Greek wine out of relative anonymity. Such an improbable, windswept vineyard was too much of a good story not to become a darling by switched-on merchants and sommeliers looking for something different. (......for more go to greekwineworld)
A new Greek morning
By Michael Godel
Kechribari Retsina Domaine Kechris, Greece
The resin, the steam room herbal essential oil, the ancient feeling of tonics to heal a wounded soul. It’s all in this tidy little $7 package of wine mythology. That there still exists a market for wine made in this way, with this attention to wise, classic detail, is just amazing. Rosemary and here, even more so oregano are distilled, purely, effortlessly, with peat and macro-oxygenated matter of fact sensibility. Unctuous and viscous elixir, old school to the xyz degree and a pure form of abc ancient Greece. As John Szabo nots, “everyone needs a flagon of Retsina.” Truer words may not be spoken. One must debate, with well into the night philosophy, drawing inspiration from Plato and Aristotle, whether the long, long finish is good, or evil. I’m not sure this will ever tire, or spoil. (......for more go to codello.ca )