Archive for April 2011

Sommelier Paul Grieco on Greek wine

April 28, 2011

Video by Korinne Munson,

Greek wine basics: Nemea II

April 26, 2011

The following post is the fourth in a series of Greek wine basics. It’s been transcribed from Konstantinos Lazarakis MW’s The Wines of Greece (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2005, currently out of print). While Lazarakis’ book is difficult to find these days, it remains THE number-one resource for information — technical and historical — on the wines of Greece. We highly recommend it. You’ll find an archive for our Greek Wine Basics series in the right-hand navigation of our home page.

Above: The temple at Nemea, photo via An Alaskan in Athens (doesn’t seem to be active anymore but a great blog!).

Nemea includes the communes of sixteen villages and three distinct subregions, which are broadly classified by altitude. The first starts from the Nemea valley floor, at about 230 metres altitude (755 feet), going up to approximately 450 meters (1,476 feet). The next is a band of slopes ranging between 450-650 metres altitude (1,476-2,133 feet), while the last consists of the higher parts of the appellation, going up to 900 metres (2,953 feet).

The first zone is by far the hottest and has the richest soils, mainly red clay. Here grapes ripen the fastest and it is relatively easy to achieve fourteen degrees Baumé or above. In fact, the inclusion of sweet wines in the OPAP regulations was mainly because of these very ripe grapes and the possibility of using them in vin de liqueurs or other similar styles. The combination of fertile soils, high yields, high temperatures, and fast sugar accumulation lead to slow flavour development, and most vineyards in the area are suited to the production of lighter wines.

The middle zone is regarded as the most suitable for modern wines: the “New Nemeas”. sites have a cooler mes-climate and lower water-availability limits yields. Indeed, in some areas vines can be very stressed in certain years and careful irrigation would do wonders in improving quality. Alcohol levels approach thirteen degrees, but some producers go higher through extra work in the vineyard to reduce yields and by taking risks, i.e., hravesting late. The fruit character from these altitudes is well-suited to making extracted and oak-aged wines. However, this zone is by no means less homogenous. Aspect and topography can vary widely, as can soils. For example, Gymno and Koutsi are at about the same altitude, but the former has very infertile, stony soils and a steep gradient, while the latter has limestone and a relatively mild ascent.

The last zone relates to the highest parts of Nemea, dominated by the important Asprokambos plain. Standing between 750 and 900 meters (2,460-2,953 feet), Asprokambos is the coolest part of the appellation by far. The soils are mainly argile-calcaire, and the area’s cooler meso-climate has established its reputation as a prime source for rosé, due to high acidity and bright fruit character. However, nowadays many premium producers are becoming more interested in “cool” (by Peloponnesian standards) viticulture and show a renewed interest in premium Nemea. Top examples from Asprokambos show an impressive combination of excellent colour, fresh but deep fruit, velvety yet assertive tannins, and a notable but balanced acidity.

καλο πασχα

April 22, 2011

Boutari featured as a “must visit” recommendation on TripAdvisor

April 21, 2011

The Boutari winery on Santorini (above) is one of the top 5 places to visit on the island, according to recommendations posted by TripAdivsors’ readers.

Click here to read what visitors had to say about the “number 3 traveler-recommended attraction” on Santorini.

Greek Easter at one of our favorite restaurants

April 20, 2011

Above: David Schneider, owner and executive chef at one of the best Greek restaurants in the U.S., Taxim, in Chicago.

This just in from one of our favorite Greek restaurants in the U.S., Taxim:

In celebration of Greek Easter we will be roasting whole lambs over an open fire this Sunday, April 24th. The lamb will be served with traditional fixings over 5 courses which will include tsoureki bread, magiritsa soup, kokoretsi skewers, xortopites, the whole lamb roast with potatoes and bulgur, and a dessert of manouri cheese and candied mandarin oranges. The 5-course meal will be $75 per person. It commences at 5pm with the tradition of cracking red eggs!

For reservations or more informa tion please call 773-252-1558.

Thank you and Kalo Pasxa!

Click here for our most recent post on Taxim and what we ate there!

Kallisti featured in Food & Wine

April 14, 2011

“Nutty and honey-scented,” writes Food & Wine editor Megan Krigbaum in her tasting note for the 2007 Boutari Kallisti Reserve, “the wine spends seven months in French barrels, proving Assyrtiko can improve with oak aging.”

Click here for a downloadable version of Megan’s Santorini feature.

Marina Boutari praised for engagement on social media

April 12, 2011

Above: The Boutari winery on the island of Santorini.

It’s not every day that an owner of one of the greatest and most influential wineries in the world weighs in in the comment section of a blog. But that’s exactly what happened last week when Marina Boutari — partner, marketing director, and namesake of the Boutari family of wineries — left a comment on Gary Vaynerchuk’s video blog, Daily Grape.

After one of her family’s wines received a less-than-favorable score (not unusual in the fickle and often arbitrary world of wine scoring), here’s what Marina had to say in response:

Thank you for presenting a Greek wine on the show and making a small survey on Greek wines. Boutari is a winery that was established in 1879 by my great grand father and has now 6 wineries in Greece and 1 in France. In 2010, we received for the 13th time the International Winery of the Year award of “Wines & Spirits”. I am truly sorry that Kretikos did not deliver on this tasting. Since I do not want to leave all of you with a medium impression on Greek wines, I highly recommend tasting some of my favourites: Grande Reserve Naoussa 2004 (from Naoussa, North Greece), Kallisti Reserve Boutari 2007 (from the island of Santorini), and Moschofilero Boutari 2010 (from Peloponnese, mainland). The feedback of the readers in the comment section is very useful and will make us all at Boutari work hard to keep improving ourselves.

In an editorial post “Boutari – how the brand turned around a conversation” — now bouncing through social media with meteoric speed — top Greek wine blogger Markus Stolz had high praise for Marina’s response:

Marina’s engagement triggered immediate positive responses from Gary, Jon Troutman (Gary’s right hand at Daily Grape) and readers. Her actions were immediately discussed on twitter and facebook, resulting in an amplification of her message. In addition, on next day’s show Gary gave a super kind shout out to Marina, showing his appreciation for her engagement, and promising her to continue to taste more Boutari wines… One really needs to put this into perspective; Gary literally gave the thumbs—up to Boutaris’ engagement.

In 1879, Boutari broke new ground when it became the first Greek winery to bottle native grape variety Xinomavro. Today, it continues in that tradition — in the 21st century — by becoming the first Greek winery to engage actively — and proactively — in social media.

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