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Sunday, February 20, 2011

First look at the Argyros Atlantis Rose 2010

Last week our first shipments of 2010 white & rose wines arrived.  Weather in NY this winter has been a bit harsh and I was worried the first containers of the year would meet with rough weather and shock the wines. Luckily we unloaded everything with above freezing temperatures and all was well.

In our portfolio we have offered two rose wines every year - GAIA 14-18h and the Spiropoulos Meliasto.  In recent years we have offered a third rose from various producers to see if they would work or not.  Unfortunately, the options we tried, albeit that the wine was good, never really translated into strong enough sales to justify permanently including it in our portfolio moving forward.

Two years ago when we were in Santorini, we tasted the Argyros Atlantis Rose.  I had fond memories of the wine and thought it would make a good addition.  To my chagrin, I was overruled that year and another producer's rose was added instead.  The Atlantis Rose kept nagging at the back of my brain and when the opportunity arose to work with it, we took it.

The Argyros Estate is one of Santorini's oldest wineries and wine producing families.  The Argyros family has been producing wine commercially since the early1900s.  The winery is famous for their Vin Santo dessert wines in addition to their still wines.  The Atlantis line is the company's value line with all wines selling on the shelf under $20 a bottle.  This line includes Atlantis white, rose and red.

Atlantis Rose is a blend of 80% Assyrtiko and 20% Mandilaria.  Assyrtiko is Santorini's main white grape variety that is known for its intense minerality.  Mandilaria is a red grape that grows throughout the southern islands of Greece such as Rhodes, Crete, Paros and Santorini.  Mandilaria is known for its fruit notes, light to medium body and soft tannin.  

Even though this wine is made from only 20% Mandilaria, it has a bright purple-ruby red color that would make you think that the percentages were different.  On the nose, ripe cherry aromas were present.  On the palate, the Assyrtiko really made itself known - the palate was intense, high acid and mineral.  The Mandilaria was present and gave the wine a pretty ripe berry flavor.  

I had this wine at a BYO pizza joint in Brooklyn and it paired beautifully.  The acidity cleansed the palate and the fruit paired very well with the pepperoni and tomato sauce.  It will work very well with Asian and Indian cuisine in addition to grilled meats and Ahi tuna steaks.  I am pretty confident that this wine will be one of my staples this spring/summer.

For those of you who like the softer, lighter rose wines, the Atlantis Rose isn't for you. The acidity alone on this wine will catch you off guard.  For those who prefer more structure to their rose wines, you will be very happy with it.

The Atlantis Rose will start making its way into various markets this spring and will retail around $15-$17 a bottle.  

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