By George Kassianos
If you are planning an Easter table there are some wines to perfectly match traditional food stuffs
Easter Sunday is a time to reflect and celebrate the Lord’s resurrection, and a time to gather with family and friends to share a special meal together.
The Easter Sunday table is prepared as the festivities continue following the midnight mass on Saturday! The Easter meal is truly a feast. Salads of beans, greens and seafood, vegetable dishes that are grilled or cooked to be served with the rice dishes, Kokoretsi, breads, cakes, cookies, wines…
The main dish at the Easter table is of course the Easter lamb or goat (usually kid) served in honour of the Lamb of God who was sacrificed. A whole spiced lamb roasted over a charcoal fire or lamb souvla are the most traditional of Greek Easter foods. The Easter Sunday celebration lasts through the day while visits are made to family and friends and the Easter feast is shared with every guest.
All this festivity is begging the question, Which wine goes best with what? My proposals then for 2014.
2013 Ezousa Winery Viognier, Pafos, Abv14%
This is the first, hopefully of many, vintage from Ezousa’s Viognier vineyard. This wine is a novelty, pale lemon colour and expressive nose with light aromas of peach, pear and citrus and some notes of honeysuckle and vanilla. It has a dry mouth sense with moderate acidity and characteristic aromas of tropical fruits, melon, lime and smoke with a long lasting and refreshing aftertaste. It pairs well with mushroom dishes, grilled vegetables, pate, and au gratin dishes, ideal for flaounes. €15 Distributed by Othon Ghalanos
2013 Ovilos Domaine Biblia Chora, Regional Wine of Pangeon, Greece Abv 13.5%
This is a wine that has a gentle, yellow-green colour of remarkable clarity. The marriage of the cosmopolitan and fragrant Sauvignon Blanc with the Greek Assyrtiko matured in oak for eight months produces a wine with a powerful aroma full of apricot and honey, exotic fruits, peach and citrus. It has a rich, cool and beautifully balanced flavour, pleasant acidity and a lasting, fragrant aftertaste. It gained little extra from breathing so can be ready to drink from simply pulling the cork. This is a good example of the high-end wines drunk in Greece, and although full of flavour and aromas, it works well with both salads and cooked meats. €17 Cava Dionysion
2007 Kallisti Reserve, Boutari PDO Santorini, Greece Abv 14%
Kallisti (‘most beautiful’) was the name given to the island of Santorini about 4,500 years BC due to its incomparable beauty. Made from Assyrtiko grape, the colour of this wine is brilliant golden-yellow. The nose is rich and complex and dominated by the aromas of oak, roast nuts, butter and vanilla which combined with the primary fruity aromas (apple, peach) of Assyrtiko. On the palate, full-bodied, very fatty, smooth and round with balanced acidity, having a complex structure. This wine provides a rich, lingering, aromatic finish of smoke, honey and roast dry nuts. Oak aged for seven months in Vosges allows this wine to pair perfectly with the whole roast lamb. €15 Photiades Distributors
2013 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc, PDO Florina, Greece, Abv 13%
One of the bright white best-sellers of the Greek market – and for good reason. It captures a unique side of the personality of Sauvignon Blanc, with a style that balances the old and the new world, sensual scents in the nose and mouth, and perfect acidity. It grows in Angelos Iatrides’ estate in Amyndeon, a vast monopole on cool, sandy soils at about 2,000 feet. Brilliantly light yellow in colour with greenish tints, gooseberry, passion fruits, melon, lychee with a note for honeysuckle on the nose. The palate is round, mellow, fat but balanced, high in alcohol but with finesse, well structured tickling the nose aromas with rosemary, with texture and a lengthy finish. I loved with creamy pasta and broccoli, salads, seafood and fish, goat cheese and chicken lemonato. €16.95 La Maison du Vin
2010 Dougos Winery Red, PDO Rapsani, Greece, Abv 13%
We have not forgotten reds. This Rapsani dry red is a combination of three grapes all indigenous to Greece, the cosmopolitan Xynomavro (60%), Krasato (30%) and Stavroto (10%). With a new small oak it has a seductive combination of sundried cherries, raspberry and blueberry mingles with the aromas of olive paste, tomato and a whiff of spices and vanilla, cola and lapsang souchong tea. Deep ruby red colour. It is elegant, velvet-textured yet vibrant on the palate with a lingering, mellow, ripe strawberries finish. It is best served at 18C as a fine complement to foie gras, poultry, lightly seasoned red meats like souvla, and full-flavoured cheese. €22 Vinocultura.
2011 Kyperounda Shiraz, Lemesos, Cyprus, Abv14%
The 2009 vintage was impressive however, the 2011 is equally good. This delightful Shiraz varietal from Kyperounda has a concentrated ruby appearance with deep purple hues. On the nose lifted floral aromas of boysenberry, morello cherry and white pepper. The coffee, blueberry, spearmint and cranberry flavours that fill the mouth are present in abundance, with succulent fine grained and natural tannins playing a structural role. This wine is ideally suited to good food, good friends, relatives coming over Easter lunch and good conversation. Ovelias (whole roast lamb) is the ideal match. €7 Photiades Distributors
2007 Nico Lazaridi Magic Mountain, , Regional Wine Drama, Greece, Abv14%
This full bodied red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. Intense, velvety, deep red colour, spicy aromatic bouquet harmoniously tied with the scents of evolution and a fruit fresh rich palate with aromas reminiscent of red forest fruit in perfect combination with spices, which blend with the aromas of the barrel. A noble wine characterised by complexity and vigour with a robust character, ripe tannins giving style and personality with long after taste. Just try this also with Easter meat roasts. €22 Vasos Eliades
2001 Ktima Gaias S Peloponnese, Abv 13%
This is a fine dry red from southern Greece, a combination of Agiorgitiko and Syrah varieties from Nemea region. In the glass its bright red colour stands out – medium-deep violet with pink hues. On the nose an intense smoky character with aromas of spices, black cherries and blackberries, with hints of plums, violets and dry herbs. In the mouth, red fruit with plum dominating supplemented by mature, soft tannins, volume and harmonious acidity which lead to a long finish laced with notes of oak and vanilla. Keep this for the second helping of meat and enjoy with yellow cheese. €19.50