Greek Merlot red wines

29 07 2016

Greece is one of the most popular destination for Finnish holiday travellers in the summer time.

However, Greek wines are under valued and difficult to buy in Finland. Only 4 red and 4 white wines available in Alkos as shelf products and 4 more wines which you can pre-order. Greek restaurants, few in Helsinki, offer also some other Greek wines, which they import by themselves.

During our visit to Crete in July 2016, tasted few young, good and ok red wines. Focus was on Merlot grape, which is actually quite popular, but not as popular as local grapes like Agiorgitiko, Asyrtiko, Mavrodafni and Xinomavro. Sometimes Merlot is additional grape as in few wines tasted.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011

Winery Domaine Costa Lazaridi with distinctive title “Chateau Julia”, was founded in Adriani, Drama in 1992. The first bottles were marketed also in 1992. Amethystos white, Amethystos Rose and Amethystos Red. Today the Estate produces five families of wines, Amethystos, Chateau Julia, Domaine Costa Lazaridi, Oenodea and Oenotria Land. Today company exports wines even to Sweden but not to Finland, yet.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011 was facinating or even surprising wine. Unfortunately wine was served too warm, but did not want to use cooler although waitress asked it. Complex aromas of forest fruit, mint and eucalyptus; rare bouquet for Merlot wine. Taste was warm, full-bodied and due to aroma, a bit complex too. Requires food with spices, pairs well with gyros, for instance.

 

Chateau Julia

 

Karipidis Merlot 2012

The Karipidi Winery is a family business in Vounaina Thessaly in central Greece that manages 30 hectares of privately owned vineyards. The vineyards, which are registered in a institution for inspection and certification of biological products, are being cultivated exclusively with methods of biological agriculture.

Karipidis Merlot 2012 is organic wine and has aromatic bouquet with hints of plum, currant, chocolate and vanilla. Mouth-feel of high density flavor, rich structure and robust body.

Pairs well with shellfish and seafood pasta and vegan foods too.

 

Wine

 

Biblia Chora Red 2014

Domaine Biblia Chora was established in 1998 by Vangelis Gerovassilou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis being one of the newest wineries. In June 2001, the construction of this modern Domain began. In the same year, the first wine was made. Today, the Estate has a private vineyard of 350 acres, which surround the winery, and in which Greek and foreign varieties are cultivated in accordance with the biological standards of viticulture.

Biblia Chora Red 2014 is produced from two grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon 50% and Merlot 50%. It has pure and complex bouquet of ripe red fruit, chocolate and some spicy notes on the finish. Intense flavour with a full body, good structure and a high tannin content, which provides a lasting aftertaste

Pairs with quite variety of foods because of Cabernet Sauvignon, which smoothens the taste.

 

Red wine

 

Melios Red Dry Wine

Domaine Brintziki cultivates vineyards owned 120 acres applying faithfully and with love of the principles of organic agriculture for many years planted with local varieties of Greek. Winery uses also the Avgoustiatis, which belongs to a group of very rare Greek varieties, grown in small size, few producers, but with remarkably high quality results. It is a red wine variety, which gives mostly red dry wines, leading the exploration of the world’s vineyard at the edges. Products product at winery are Tinaktorogos, Augoustiatis, Sign, Melios and Enipeas.

Melios Red Dry Wine is produced from Merlot 80% and Mavrodaphne 20% grapes. Wine has dark red color, intense aroma of red fruits, vanilla and cherry. Full mouth with soft tannins.

Pairs with meat, vegetables and pasta.

Unfortunately winery’s web-pages did not work properly.

 

Melios

 

 

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013

Wine Art Estate was created by Yannis Papadopoulos and Yannis Kalaitzidis 1993. 26 hectares of vineyards at a location known since ancient times for the cultivation of the vine and the production of wines, as indicated by the ruins of a Sanctuary of Dionysus. Wine Art aims to present how well certain Greek and cosmopolitan varieties are adapted to the microclimate of Drama. Towards this direction, a new wine, Chardonnay Idisma Drios was put to market in 1999. This was the first of a new range of products, Idisma Drios (“sweetly oaked”), to be followed by Assyrtiko, Merlot and Syrah.

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013 has deep purple colour. Quite complex bouquet of spices and dark berries.
Wine is balanced and has noble tannins. It is mature, full-bodied, with a long aftertaste.

Pairs with meat, cheeses and even with asian flavors.

 

Idisma Drios Merlot

 

As said earlier, Greek wines are undervalued. Many of the wineries produce organic tasty wines, but production amounts are so small, that many times only Greeks can enjoy of these wines.

Visited Agreco Farm http://www.agreco.gr/ which is partly tourist attraction but also produces organic wines. Wines are sold from their own shops and via some hotel chains and restaurants but production quantity does not allow export these wines.

Maybe some day there are more quality Greek wines available in Finland. But travellers should first choose better wines (not the best ones) instead of grape juice (house wines in caraffes).

 





Wine review: Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

14 05 2015
Baron De Ley is a relatively new producer in Rioja. Started in 1985 by Rioja wine professional eager to create a chateau inspired winery with state-of the-art winemaking. They converted an ancient monastery into a magnificent estate and have been producing Rioja wines that reflect a modern style, expressive of the terroir and the Tempranillo grape. 
Baron de Ley - reijosfood.com
Tasted wine was Baron de Ley Reserva 2010. Red wine is produced 100% of Tempranillo grapes. After 20 months ageing in new American-oak casks, a further 24 months rounding off in the bottle has brought it to its moment of plenitude.

THE LOOK

Ruby-red colour, typical better Spanish red wine

THE NOSE

Powerful fruity character mingling with reminders of its ageing, nice bouquet

THE TASTE

First impression is soft, but volume gradually extends across the palate to end with a long finish. Included tannins but disturbingly

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5%
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (360 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

“Gran reserva = matured for a long time, more than 3 years and in addition to a couple of years in the bottle. Reserva = aged 2-3 years and in addition to one year in the bottle

 

Baron de Ley Reserva 2010 - reijosfood.com

Enjoyed wine first as such and then with 1st of May food. Paired extremely well with chicken and spiced lamb sausages. Suits definately with red meats as there is enough taste.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

Barón de Ley. A Rioja wine cellar in an old monastery.

 





Wine review: Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas Mencía 2011

1 02 2015

I have been lazy that I have not been written about wines tasted and enjoyed. This will change 2015!

Cepas Viejas - reijosfood.com

I was planning to purchase Spanish red wine for lamb and original intention was to buy Aalto wine. Nearby Alko did not had it, so decided to try full-bodied Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas Mencía 2011. Wine is produced from Mencia grapes at Dominio de Tares bodega. Actually all that info is in the name of wine :). I can not remember that I have tasted before wine produced from Mencia, but I can be wrong. Mencia is not so common as many other Spanish grapes like Tempranillo.

Dominio de Tares is located in the region of El Bierzo (León) and settled in an exceptional area surrounded by high quality vineyards. Also main area for Mencia. The vineyard, with indigenous varieties mencía and godello, has been selected after an exahustive search of the best pagos under de D.O. Bierzo, by looking for the most interesting soils and settlements.

Cepas Viejas - reijosfood.com

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THE LOOK

Cherry red colour with violet tones on the rim. WIne is darker than Pinot Noir which is usually benchmark for Mencia when it comes to color.

THE NOSE

Powerful nose of intense fruity aromas of raspberries and cherries, as well as flowery hints of violets in perfect combination with oak spices and fragrances of liquorice.

THE TASTE

Nuanced and developed. Boysen berries, spicy and warm. The tannins are firm, but well integrated, the acidity is lively. Amount of alcohol can be just regognized.

Cepas Viejas - reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol: 14,5%
Extract: 32 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (390 kJ/100 ml)

Wine is excellent and especially paired perfectly well with overcooked lamb shank. Wine can be found from upper shelf in Alko due to price, but it is worth of it.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

image

Home – Dominio de Tares.





Tasting of 6 Fair Trade wines

26 10 2014

Fair Trade wines - reijosfood.com

Yearly Wine, food and good living expo was again at Messukeskus (Helsinki Fair Center) on the 23-26.10.2014. There are several wine tastings arranged during the event. We were able to make pre-booking for one of them and participated in tasting of South-African and Argentinean Fair Trade wines. Restaurant Savoy sommelier Antti Uusitalo was in charge to lead us to the secrets of less often noticed wines.

Sommelier Antti Uusitalo - reijosfood.com

Wine tasting - reijosfood.com

Thandi Sauvignon Blanc

First tasted wine came from South-African Thandi Wines, which was established in 1995. It was the first winery in the world to receive Fair Trade certificate.

Sauvignon Blanc is not out favourite, so the expectations were quite low. However, wine was really light and first it was difficult to find any black currant bouquet or taste. After 1/2 hour typical Sauvigon Blanc was easier to recognize. Suits for shellfish and chicken. (3/5)

El Condor Torrontes Chardonnay

Next wine came from from Argentinean La Riojana wine house, which was established on 1940. Grapes used in production are local Torrentes and Chadonnay. Torrentes rolled over Chardonnay and typical butter and oak taste was not found. Easy wine to be enjoyed well chilled for aperitf and slighlty spiced foods. (3+/5)

Thandi Shiraz Rosé

Next wine was again from Thandi Wines

Grapes used are in Thandi Shiraz Rose is produced from Shiraz-grapes (85 %) and Pinotage-grapes (15  %). Amount of shiraz makes the wine quite red. Wine is really dry for rose, a littke bit spicy and fruity. Suits for aperitif and with lightly spiced food but would also try with Asian flavors, though (3,5/5)

Bundustar Merlot 2013

Then tasting moved to red wines, first one came from Home of Origin Wine, South-Africa. Wine house is quite young, it was establlished in 2002. Name of wine comes from word ubuntu (community)

Typical Merlot, spicy and lots of tannins. Suits with red meats and spcicy food (3,5/5)

Café Culture Pinotage Coffee Mocha Pinotage 2013

Next wine was produced by KWV, established in 1918, which is the biggest wine exporter in South-Africa.

Is this wine? Really interesting (odd) experience! Wine tasted like old smoky cigar butt. There was coffee to be found in bouquet and taste. Would not buy ever! (1/5)

Tilimuqui Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Bonarda

 Second wine from La Riojana and last wine tasted.

Nice bouquet from Cabernet Sauvignon which was supplemented with Bonarda grapes. Best of all tasted Fair Trade wines. Would buy to home as taste is well balanced and full of dark berries (4+/5)

I have not picked wines based on ethical or sustainable reasons but tasting of these wine definately raises these topics when visiting next time wine shelfs. Maybe even will buy last wine tasted Tilimuqui Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Bonarda, which was positive surprise and price only 9,98€ at Alko.

In next post will write brifly about the Champagnes tasted during Expo.

Champagnes - reijosfood.com

 





Wine review: S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2009

17 10 2014

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico - reijosfood.com

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico is produced by Azienda Agricola Boscaini Carlo. Winery produces also particular white wine GARGANEGA an rosè wine MOLINARA but also Grappa and Olive oils. San Giorgio di Valpolicella, or Ingannapoltron, is part of the territory of Sant’Ambrogio, one of the five towns that constitute the Valpolicella Classica wine producing region, at the foot of Mount Solane. It is situated on the top of a rocky outcrop, built around its church, of the same limestone on which it lies.

Then to the topic;  Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes. For this wine grapes used in production are Corvina 50%, Corvinone 35%, Rondinella 10% Croatina & Dindarella 5%.The final result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid with over 15% alcohol content.

Tasted wine as aperitf and then with fillet steak. Excellent match, wine became even sweeter with salty meat and peppers. Suits definately with all meats, cheeses and even with Asian food.

Steak - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Dark red with some hints of brown color

THE NOSE

Warm, cherry like generous bouquet

THE TASTE

Rich and well balanced, almost sweet as Amarones usually are

Amarone - reijosfood.com

Excellent red wine especially for fans of Amarone. Winery produces only 3500 bottles per year of this wine which makes this wine rarity. Do not be scared about alcohol content, it is only 15.5%.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Amarone, Amarone Wine, Valpolicella Winery, wine tasting amarone, online sales, visit to cellars in valpolicella, wine tasting in valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto, Boscaini Carlo, Valpolicella





Wine review: Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 – wrong vintage

18 07 2014

Valpolicella Ripasso - reijosfodo.com

If you want to buy wines in Finland you have to go to Alko, which is monopoly company owned by Finnish government. Nowadays you can utilize web shops, if you pay Finnish alcohol tax for your purchases.

When visiting Alko I usually read carefully what is written on the labels explaining if the wine is dry, full-bodied and so on. I chose Italian red wine Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 partly based on the information of it’s label on wine cabinet. This visit was about 2 months ago.

The label said that wine should have medium tannins. I am not a fan of wines which include too much tannins because they are just too “hard” to be enjoyed. But information on the label was based on vintage 2011 and purchased wine had changed to 2012. On the label there was nothing about vintage. Because of amount of tannins had to check what Alko said on their web Pages about the wine. Same story from year 2011!

When checking again few days ago, vintage had been changed to 2012 at Alko web page. But still story about medium tannins…..

Wine is made from grapes Corvina and Rondinella. Typical Ripasso grapes.

THE LOOK

Dark red, some hints of brown color.

THE NOSE

Ripasso type, but you can already notice the tannins.

THE TASTE

For me, lot’s of tannins, full-bodied, dark berries, warm.

Valpolicella Ripasso- reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol:      13,50 %
Extract:      36 g/l
Acidity:       5,3 g/l
Sugar:         6 g/l
Energy:       90 kcal / 100 ml (370 kJ / 100 ml)

Ripasso, the younger brother or sister of Amarone, is excellent wine for every ocation. Suits for all meats and of course with Italian food.

Unfortunately misleading (old) information did not make this tasting as pleasant as it could be. Therefore only 3,5. Would like to try vintage 2011 to see if the label at Alko was right about year older Ripasso.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 3,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++





Wine review: Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

19 01 2014

Matua Pinot Noir - reijosfood.com

I am not sure if THE NOSE lied but when wine was poured in to the glass it smelled first like butterscotch. After rotating the wine in the glass the scent changed totally! Any similar experiences with this wine?

Matua was the first wineyard in New Zealand to plant Sauvignon Blanc in 1969.  Their produced first bottle in 1974. However, this is not about Sauvignon Blancs, which is not our favourite grape. First wine review (not first wine enjoyed) 2014 concerns Pinot Noir.

Tested wine was Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012. Wineyard claims that wine is it’s best Pinot so far.

THE LOOK

First of all the color of the label is different than usually on wine bottles, turquoise. Maybe that was the reason it caught my eye at Alko.

Wine itself is light red, close to mature cherry.

THE NOSE

This was surprising! Usually when tasting wines I do not smell the aroma of wine so carefully before rotating it. This time did and was surprised by the smell of butterscotch. The bouquet I did not expect to find from Pinot Noir. But it made the wine really fascinating and forced to focus on THE NOSE more specifically than ever.

After rotating the wine in the glass strongly, aroma changed significantly. Now we found cherry, more typical pinot noir characters and some tannins.

THE TASTE

Maybe tannins dominated, as acidity was quite low, because wine tasted a little bit acrid. Not that it hindered but that was the first feeling. Anyway, this wine was the most savory pinot noir ever tasted. As they are usually quite tawdry, Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 is not.

Facts and Figures:

Alcohol: 13,50 %
Extract : 30 g/l
Acidity: 5,4 g/l
Energy : 90 kcal / 100 ml (380 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Tasted wine with asian food and match was perfect. Mixed flavors of strong spices and sweet seasonings are difficult combination for wines. Also paired well with pizza which was spiced with tabasco and jalopenos. Conclusion: wine suits better with spicy foods than avarage pinot noirs, mostly because of tannins.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++

http://www.matua.co.nz/en








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