Tasting Wines of Northern Greece and Wines of Naoussa.
By: Maren Swanson • April 15th, 2015
When I think of wines I love, I usually don’t think “Greek.” In all honesty, the only Greek wine I could think up off the top of my head was Restina, a wine made of pine resin that my parents used to order every time we visited our favorite neighborhood Greek restaurant, The Olympic Flame. When I first got wind of a Greek wine tasting at Republique, I was definitely interested in what would be in store for the attendees.
A few minutes after I arrived, I was greeted by a nice man who remarked, “Some of these wines you may love and some not, but give them a chance.” Ok, easy enough. The selection of wines we tasted were all from the northern region of Greece, otherwise known as Macedonia. Here are the Greek wines I tasted at the Republique event that got my wine seal of approval:
Domaine Porto Carras Athiri 2013
Hands down, my favorite white wine at the event went to the Domaine Porto Carras Athiri. The vineyards of Domaine Porto Carras are vast and cover 520 hectares. All of their grapes are also handpicked. Athiri can be used to make Retsina but is also fabulous on it’s own. The Domaine Porto Carras Athiri 2013 (100% Athiri) is dry, light, slightly fruity and well balanced.
Porto Carras Limnio 2011
Another wine fro the Domaine Porto Carras region that caught my eye was the Limnio, which mentioned by the man pouring my taste, was one of the most ancient varietals ever planted in Greece and thought to be extinct at one point. Limnio was also supposedly the favorite varietal of Homer and Aristotle. This particular Limnio was aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months and was full-bodied, slightly dry with some blackberry notes and a smooth finish. 13.5% alcohol.
Thymiopoulos Uranos Naoussa 2011
My favorite red wine of the night though came from Thymiopoulos Vineyards. The 2011 Naoussa I tried was Uranos, meaning "sky", which retails for about $29 a bottle and is actually available for purchase at my local K & L wine merchant in Los Angeles. The Uranos Naoussa is made from old vines about 42 years old (3 different soils) and has a low yield of about 300 cases or roughly 40,000 bottles. This red wine is luscious, with some subtle chalk and minerality. 14% alcohol.
Diamantakos Xinomavro Naoussa 2008
Rich in flavor with jammy and black fruit notes, the Diamantakos Xinomavro Naouss was a great finish to my day of tasting Northern Greek wine. Aged in French and American Oak for a minimum of two years, this tasty bottle can now be purchased in the U.S. for around $36 a bottle. The Diamantakos Xinomavro Naoussa has is a voluptuous red wine wine that exuded some subtle pepper on my second sip and has great potential for aging. 13.5% alcohol.
(Honorable mention) Elinos Naoussa 2007
I was surprised to be tasting a 2007 Noaussa but even more surprised that the gentleman pouring my wine mentioned that this particular bottle of Elinos could be great if it was still aged an additional seven years. The Elanos Noaussa 2007 wine was medium-bodied with some noticeable tannins and in my opinion, would be even better served with food. 13% alcohol.