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Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving & Greek Wines - a perfect match

Every year people ask me what I'm drinking on Thanksgiving.  Being a Greek - centric importer, the majority of our wines are Greek that grace our table.  Here are my thoughts on the best grape varieties & wines that pair well with the Thanksgiving meal.

While waiting for all of our guests to arrive, I usually have a bottle of bubbly or two open.  This year, I will be pouring Domaine Spiropoulos' Ode Panos Rose.  This is the winery's second release of sparkling wine.  It is made from a blend of 80% Moschofilero & 20% Agiorgitiko.  It is a bright pink color with aromas of rosewater and strawberry - perfect for smoked salmon & prosciutto.

White Wine

With the vast mount of side dishes and appetizers typically found on a Thanksgiving table, you need a wine that has a bit of body and acidity to it in order to stand up to the food.  Look towards Gentilini Robola, known for its weight and body, as a good pairing option.  Additionally, I like Ktima Pavlidis' Thema White and Assyrtiko from the North as well.  The Assyrtiko in the north is a bit more aromatic than those from Santorini.  Pavlidis' Assyrtiko 100% sees some time on the lees, therefore making it a bit rounder and adding some weight to it.

Red & Rose Wine

For me, there is nothing better to pair with the turkey than unoaked or lightly oaked red wines.  Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro & Limnio easily fit the bill here.  The acidity and red fruit notes of these grape varieties pair extremely well with turkey.  Since turkey is a leaner cut of meat, you do not need a big, powerful oaky red - it will just overpower the meal.  Stick to lighter reds and your palate will thank you for it.  Good options include Thymiopoulos Young Vines, GAIA Agiorgitiko, Vassiliou Nemea and Domaine Porto Carras Limnio.  Also, rose wines with high acidity and subtle tannin also are great matches as well.  For me, my go to Rose is GAIA 14-18 - it has the red fruit that pairs well with the cranberry sauce and the acidity and flavor to pair well with stuffing.


With the ever present pumpkin pie, UWC Samos aged Muscats such as the Nectar & Anthemis are amazing options.  Their cinnamon and nutty characters are the perfect match with dessert.

To all, have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy some great food & wine with family and friends!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Harvest Report 2013 - Mercouri Estate

Below are the thoughts from the Mercouri Estate on the 2013 vintage:

Mercouri Estate 2013 Harvest Report


The 2013 harvest began on August 12th – a full 10 days earlier than the preceding year with the white varieties of Viognier, Albarino and Malvazia Aromatica first to be hand picked.

Very good weather conditions, including acceptably high temperatures after mid-July, contributed to this early start date.

The combination of excellent growing conditions (ideal temperatures during winter, total absence of grape diseases, zero rainfall after June) with the pre-harvest grape characteristics (high acidities, phenolic richness) lead us to believe that the 2013 vintage will be a classic!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Harvest Report 2013 - Harlaftis Winery

The Harlaftis winery has two locations - one in Attica (near Athens) and their newest facility in Nemea.  Here are Nicos Harlaftis' thoughts on the 2013 vintage:

About the harvest in Attica region:

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc , Savatiano and Assyrtico and Roditis  Harvest

It was an early harvest because we had no rain during summer, stable temperatures , with north winds mainly  . The grapes were very good and healthy . Harvest began on August 8th (normally it starts after August 15th) and finished September 20th.

About the harvest in Nemea region :

 Agiorgitiko, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec  Harvest

 It was an early harvest for the agiorgitico, syrah  and the cabernet sauvignon, because the climate conditions were the same with the ones in Attica. Harvest started on August 22nd and finished on September 15th. The merlot and the malbec were on time and the harvest started on August 30th.

Generally, we are very satisfied with both harvests in Attica and Nemea, with good results.

Harvest report 2013 - Ktima Pavlidis

Here are the thoughts and views from Ktima Pavlidis, from the region of Drama in Northern Greece:

Harvest 2013

2013 seems to be a great year and one of the best in recent years , due to the fact that this year we had a very good growth cycle , with mild winters , normal temperatures , satisfactory rainfall and warm spring while there were no heat waves in during the ripening of the grapes.

The winter was mild, avoiding the danger of frost. There was no particular rainfall during April and May and the rains of June restored the water stocks of the soil . During maturation and harvest there was no particular rain and the daily temperatures were high, but not extreme over 37 ° C. Especially in the period of summer , the cool evenings in combination with the light breeze, helped smooth ripening in cooler temperatures than usual. No illnesses were observed which is the key element for the success of a wine. Compared to previous years the fruit setting increased with the result that yields were 20 % higher. The production of 2013 is expected to be very high quality as a result of weather conditions that permitted a smooth maturation. The optimal aromatic ripening was achieved and the excellent summer conditions ensured the high quality . The white wines this year are expected to be very aromatic with pleasantly high acidity and a good alcohol degree, while red wines seems to also have very good phenolic ripeness, rich flavor, color maturity structure and are capable of aging .
The 2013  wine harvest will consolidate the superiority of Drama region and of Greece in wine production internationaly.

Harvest Report 2013 - Domaine Spiropoulos

Here are thought from Domain Spiropoulos' winemaker, Apostolos Spiropoulos on the 2013 vintage:

The Harvest in Mantinia was very good. It began the last week of September which is about 10 days earlier than usual. Although there were problems from hailstorms and frost, the grapes ripened well and evenly. We have high alcohol levels like the harvest of 2012 with intense aromas and nice typical acidity. The fermentations are still going.

In Nemea we started the same time with Mantinia, maybe a week earlier, which is a usual harvest time for the area and our vineyards. The production was better and the grapes were fantastic. Healthy, with good acidity, aromas and color. The fermentations are all done and we are extremely happy with the outcome.

Harvest report - Domaine Vassiliou

With the white wines from the 2013 vintage set to release soon, I have asked our winery partners for their thoughts on harvest and what we can expect from their wines.

Below are the thoughts on harvest 2013 from Domaine Vassiliou:

This year’s harvest was very good without any particular problems. It was earlier by 15 days , started on September 1st and fermentations completed successfully. The grapes were healthy and properly cured. The wines have been produced with high concentration of aromatic potential , full bodied with long aftertaste. The maturation and stabilization continues , and with the new year we will be able to enjoy accompanying them with Greek and International cuisine.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Introducing Delphi - Greece's newest beer

Established in September 2013, Elixi SA opened its doors in Halkida (an area north of Athens).  From its ultra modern facility, Delphi Beer was released in Greece.  Delphi Beer is a pilsner and is meant to be light and refreshing with great citrus notes.

Delphi Beer will make its US debut in late November 2013 in NY and will increase in distribution over the next year.  Delphi will be available only in 750ml glass bottles and will have an approximate retail price of $17.99 a bottle. 

Delphi's parent brewery has plans to offer Delphi in kegs and then increase their product line over the next 2-3 years to include other styles of beer. Stay tuned for updates!
A picture of Delphi Beer