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Athenee Importers Portfolio Tasting

April 11, 2010

I hardly ever get the chance to taste Greek wines so this was one of the few tastings where I made it a point to try every wine. I still missed a few. All of those tasted were sound and flavorful so in the future I would wouldn’t hesitate to try any bottle imported by Athenee.  I didn’t take detailed notes on them all and while there were many that I wished I’d taken notes on there were some standouts that caused me to jot despite my gracelessness in wielding pen, paper and glass at once.

Mercouri Estate

Kallisto 2009: Robola and Assyrtico. Linden, melon and citrus. Medium acidity. Minerality throughout the palate and a long finish.

Antares 2005: Avgoustiatis and Mourvedre. I dunno what Avgoustiatis is supposed to be like but for me the Mourvedre really came through here. There was a smell that reminded me of my dog on a hot day. There was also an array of berries and spices which made the contrasting animal smell worth its while. It was no slouch in the structure department but I didn’t take any notes to that effect.

Cava Red 2004: Refosco and Mavrodaphne. Dark chocolate, red fruits and vanilla. Tannin is high minus and acidity medium. Not very expressive at the moment but pure and very powerful.

Cava Red 2000: Refosco and Mavrodaphne. Fig, red cherry, tobacco, dark chocolate and a hint of bacon fat. This is fascinating as it is so much more expressive than the 2004 yet still very powerful. The tannin is finer but still rather high so I imagine that this wine is just entering a very drinkable phase and will only get better over the course of another ten years.


Uranos 2007: Xinomavro. Red fruits, smoke, tar, dark chocolate. Very extracted, high tannin and medium acidity.

Gentilini Winery:

Aspro 2008: 40% Tsaoussi, 40% Muscat of Cephalonia, 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Fruit salad. Tangerine, melon, ripe apples, ginger. Low plus acidity but lots of minerality. Lingering finish. This was maybe my favorite white of the tasting.

Robola 2008: A little heftier than the Aspro and I bet it will age better but not quite as complex at the moment. Citrus and herbs are the main flavors.

Red 2007: 60% Agiorgitiko, 40% blend of Syrah and Mavrodaphne. Strawberry, cherry. Juicy, fresh and medium bodied.

Nemeion Estate

Nemeion Reserve Nemea 2004: 100% Agioritiko (pronounced something like “eye-your-eat-teeko”) Licorice and spice with hints of flowers and dark fruit.

Gai’a Wines

Thalassitis 2008: 100% Assyrtiko. Muted nose. Green apple, citrus and minerals. The palate is far more viscous than I imagined it would be. Medium plus acid and a salty minerality.

Assyrtiko Wild Ferment: The nose is by no means big but it is notably more expressive than the Thalassitis. Citrus, dried flowers, minerals. Again the palate proves to be so much more intense than the nose and there is that intense salty minerality as well as a little more texture. This was an altogether different style from Gentilini’s Aspro but I liked it at least as much. This wine would be the one I’d choose to lay down for 5 or more years while I imagine the Aspro would be best poured generously over the course of this spring, summer and fall.

Their wines made from Agiorgitiko were all very good but I neglected to take any notes on them. The Gai’a Estate 2006 from Agioritiko was especially good. It was very rich, full bodied and seemed to show as much potential for aging as any other red at the tasting.

Argyros Estate

All the wines at this table were well above average for the tasting. My notes however are sparse. Their Santorini wines were especially good and on equal ground with those from Gai’a.

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