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Wine: Greek Easter Reds

Of all the dinners in the entire world, lamb is one of the most joyful to eat with red wine, especially at Easter. Its classic match is Cabernet Sauvignon: there is extraordinary synergy between even the most green and tannic of clarets and this almost herbally scented meat. But with the way we prepare our lamb over Orthodox Easter and I mean both “souvla” and “ovelias” (spin-roasted whole lamb) there are many other reds that will perfectly match on Easter Sunday.

Here are some good-value reds I think you might enjoy over the Easter weekend. The stream of fantasy wines with plates of lamb that fills my head in gluttonous moments is almost never-ending. And its Greek Easter, so it is Greek wine.

2015 Gaia Estate Agiorgitiko, PDO Nemea, Peloponnese Greece, Abv 14%

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution, Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries, they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. The wine is sourced from low yielding Agiorgitiko vines on southwesterly slopes at 650 meters altitude. It is of natural fining and no filtration and was matured in French oak casks for 12 months. This red is simply stunning – sweet, serious and velvety. It has great depth and complexity with loads of black and red fruits with powerful yet smooth tannins. A full-body top red. (Senaga Trading, €29.45)


2015 Ktima Tselepos, Kokkinomylos, Merlot, PGI Tegea, Greece, Abv 14.6%

The beautiful Merlot is sourced from the privately owned vineyard at Kokkinomylos (Tegea, Arcadia, Greece), located on a hillside with a north-west orientation and clay-rocky soil at an altitude of 750 meters. The low yield per stremma and late harvesting results in ripe and aromatic grapes. The wine was aged for 15 months in new oak. Deep red colour with a rich velvety texture. Aromas of ripe red fruits with a delicate presence of vanilla and chocolate. Smooth tannins and a long finish characterise this round, well-structured wine that can be cellared for 10 to 15 years. (Ghalanos Distributors, €25)

2014 Karamolegos Mavrotragano, P.G.I. Cyclades, Abv 13.5%

Mavrotragano was brought back from extinction and is nowadays one of the most exotic red varieties of Greece. Sourced from two selected vineyards of this rare variety of average 20 years old of age, situated in Exo Gonia and Kamari in Santorini, this win matures in oak barrels for 24 months. Solid, bright red colour with complex aromatic bouquet with red forest fruit, red fruit jam, notes of minerality, bitter chocolate, tobacco, wild herbs and pungent spices. Well-structured and very good body, excellent, soft and round tannins that show how the future will be great. Fruity and long-lasting aftertaste. (Bottles, €29.50)

2013 Douloufakis Winery Aspros Lagos, Cabernet Sauvignon, P.G.I. Crete, Abv 14%

A new world-style wine, dark purple colour, with an intense aromatic character, a full nose in which rich aromas of black fruit, spices, pepper, minty nose, black pepper, chocolate and touches of a good barrel are dominant. Full, fleshy mouth sense, with rich flavour, rich and long texture and very good tannins. This is a pretty tannic wine and an exuberant Cabernet Sauvignon with long aftertaste. (Vinoteca, €15)

2015 Estate Boutari Filiria, Goumenissa, Abv 13.5%

Domaine Filiria Boutari is a blend of Xinomavro and Negoska varietals from the Goumenissa A.O.C. The Xinomavro enables the wine to age smoothly and the Negoska adds alcohol, colour and softens the Xinomavro. It is an organic wine with a complex character and is produced at the privately-owned Boutari vineyard in Goumenissa, the Filiria region. The wine is kept in oak for 12 months. It has a deep Bordeaux red colour with blue tints, and a particularly rich and complex fruity nose harmoniously combined with the delicate aromas of wood and spices, plum jam, sun-dried tomato and olive. Smooth taste, rich body, excellent structure, finesse and long aromatic finish. A wine well suited for ageing too. (Photiades Distributors, €16)

2013 Château Nico Lazaridi Perpetuus, Drama, Abv 13.5%

Nico Lazaridi SA is the first wine producing company established in the county of Drama in 1987 by the present president of the company Nico Lazaridi. Perpetuus is one of his latest adventures, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 60% and Sangiovese 40%. It is deep red colour with brick red hues. There are aromas of small red berries and violets with hints of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper in harmony with the aromas of wood of oak barrels. The mouth is full, generous balancing acidity and has mature dense tannins. The aftertaste is long, complicated with continuous development. (Vassos Eliades, €35)

2015 Ktima Lantides Little Ark Red, Peloponnese, Abv 13.5%

Panicos Lantides cultivates the ancient and noble grapes of Greece, specifically the Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro which grow so well on the Peloponnese peninsula, to craft his traditional dry red wine. These grapes have been in use for wine-making in Greece since the beginning of recorded time, at least 2,500 years. With a medium to full body and a ripe core of dark fruits plus hints of blackberry liqueur, the palate is spicy and silky with subtle touches of oak. (Fereos Four Point, €14)

2015 Oinogenesis Feggites Red, P.G.I. Drama, Abv 13.5%

Bakis Tsalkos had studied oenology in the University of France and for the last years, he has been occupied with his own winery, Oenogenesis Estate which is located at the region of Doxato, in Drama. Feggites red is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dark red, almost impenetrable colour. Bouquet of blackberry, pepper, myrtle, and dried tomatoes aromas. Mouth exuberant, spicy with leather and wood and rich tannins. Balanced acidity, lasting aftertaste and complexity that increases as time goes by and the wine is released. (Vinocultura, €18)

2015 Ktima Alpha Xinomavro, Hedgehog Vineyard, Amyndeon Abv 14%

Hedgehog is the name of the single vineyard block chosen to designate the best expression and typical character of Xynomavro, the noblest red varietal of northern Greece. The vineyard name is hedgehog because it is an ancient nesting area for the local hedgehog species that they continue to preserve and protect. Complex, typical bouquet of small red berry fruits, leather and spices, with hints of ripe blackberry. Rounded tannins, balanced acidity and well integrated wood tones. Bright purple-red colour. (La Maison du Vin, €14)


Happy Easter…





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