Good afternoon/evening everyone!
Welcome to tonight’s LIVE virtual tasting of two new Greek wines.
If you’re new to The Community and need help with how to use the forum for the tasting and what the tasting involves, have a read of our guide 'How To - Take part in our virtual #TWSTaste events
Our What to Drink in 2021 offer is out now, so we thought this #TWSTaste would be a lovely opportunity to try two new wines included in this offer, from Karavitakis winery in Crete.
A NOTE FROM OUR BUYER FOR GREECE, MATTHEW HORSLEY:
‘Since taking over the buying for Greece in April last year, I’ve been amazed by the diversity and quality available from across this fascinating country. Whilst I’ve been lucky enough to taste great examples from better known regions such as Naoussa, Rapsani and Santorini, it’s been the island of Crete that has impressed me the most. Hardly surprising given winemaking on Greece’s largest island dates back over 5000 years!
The island itself is split into north and south, divided by a line of mountains running west to east, with the north being cooler and wetter, and the south hotter and drier thanks to the winds flowing up from north Africa. But despite being Greece’s most southerly island its average temperatures are lower than those of Santorini, for example. It’s thanks to these mountains which make such high-quality viticulture possible, with vineyards planted at altitude in much cooler meso-climates, something not possible on many Greek islands.
But it’s the myriad of indigenous varieties that make Crete so exciting, made more so by the increase in focus on quality and estate production rather than the co-operative model that dominated Crete throughout much of the 20th Century.
Vidiano seems to be the clear winner amongst the whites, giving a style more about texture and weight than overblown aromatics. As a single variety it produces wines with plenty of stone fruit flavours (peach, nectarines, apricots), sweet herbs and tropical notes, with a creamy mouthfeel and balanced acidity. In a blend it acts as a great stage, providing weight and creaminess that other more overt varieties can perform on. I think this shows really well with the move extrovert malvasia (30%) and assyrtiko (30%) in the Kompsos white.
Liatiko is Crete’s finest red grape although its most famous expressions are typically as a sweet fortified wine. However, there’s been a recent trend in the production of dry liatko with wonderful results. Despite its typically light colour, it offers a full bodied, sweetly fruited (cherries, strawberries, raspberries) and spicy (coves, cinnamon, nutmeg) red wines. The Kompsos red is vinified mostly in stainless steel, with 10% of the wine fermented in open top barrels for 12 days to bring some oak character. The grapes come from limestone vineyards in Chania in western Crete at 450m altitude.
These are just two of the new wines we’ll be releasing from Crete over the next couple of weeks – in our February list we’ll be offering a delicious and affordable assyrtiko from Karavitakis, as well as a mandilari and thrapsathiri, two extremely rare but incredibly exciting grapes that I can’t wait for members to try.’ @horsleym
We have some staff attending tonight, so please feel free to use the below usernames and tag any of us if you need a hand (and if you’re new to The Community, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have!)
- We’ll post a poll to see who’s here - please let us know, and feel free to say hi and start chatting before we start.
- To begin, we’ll invite you all to pour a glass, have a swirl and take in the aromas, and post your thoughts and first impressions. Take your time and have a good swirl and sniff.
- We’ll then taste the wines together, one by one and ask you to share your own tasting note. Do add any additional food matches and/or your thoughts on how well the wine is drinking now, and how much longer it might age. Anything goes, and there are no wrong answers!
- After this, we’ll possibly have time to ask for your mark out of 10, favourite wine of the two or final thoughts.
And after that, if you want to continue chatting about the wines then please feel free!