Friday, March 9, 2012

Wine On The Seahorse

After Crete, what's Greece's largest island? Quick, clock's ticking.

Do you see the seahorsey?
If you answered Evia, the seahorse of a rock separated from mainland Greece by the Euripus Strait, then, congrats, you get a well-earned smiley face (or pat on the butt) on this impromptu quiz. At its narrowest, the strait is only thirty-eight meters. So unless you are Greek, a geography or history buff or some sort of mutant with superhuman vision, it's practically impossible to tell it's an island from just looking at a map. I live on this side of the world and I had no clue up until about a week ago that what I thought was a strip of land north of Athens was no other than a bewildering wine-producing rock. I guess this "discovery" could've only occurred thanks to my quasi-obsessive-compulsive need to walk up and down the wine aisle at our local supermarket studying labels instead of picking vegetables for her highness, The Wife, Ph.D.

Anyhow, I've spent the past twenty minutes trying to disinter information on Evia (or Euboea) and its wines and, unfortunately, I've come up (almost) as empty-handed as Olympique Lyonnais the crisp night of March 7th. Here's a brief excerpt on Central Greece from
"Central Greece is the traditional stronghold of retsina and plantings are dominated by the Savatianó variety, from which retsina has been most commonly vinified. Savatiano accounts for most of the production in Attika (roughly 90%), a majority in Evia (around 75%) and half of production in Voetia. The Savatianó, historically, was never the exclusive basis for retsina, and until phyloxera arrived in central Greece between the first and second World Wars, was just one of a number of white varieties grown in the region. Today, the Savatianó owes its dominance less to historical preeminance [sic] than to the need to replenish vineyards with a highly productive variety suitable to the climate. Although the grape is characterized by low acidity, it at least has had the advantage of displaying some varietal character when resinated. Low yield farming and modern vinification have resulted in quality un-resinated mono-varietal versions of Savatianó that display the best attributes of the grape."
More specific to the actual island, New Wines of Greece, a portal designed to market indigenous Greek varieties in the US, notes that:
2009 Vriniotis Winery IAMA
"...[u]p until 10 years ago, all that was known of winegrowing [sic] activities in Evia regarded the traditional production methods in the central and southern part of the island. Nevertheless, the particularly successful entrance of northern Evia in the game through cultivation of numerous Greek and international varieties as well as through production of many new wines, created the need for the establishment of a PGI Evia zone. The presence of the native varieties of Vrathiano and Karabraimis is noteworthy as is the Aegean influence (Aidani White, Athiri, Assyrtiko, Liatiko and Mandilaria) due to Evia’s geographical position. At present there are only four area wineries producing PGI Evia wines but their numbers are expected to increase."
"Discovery" made, I updated the blog's approved list of rocks and celebrated accordingly.

2009 Vriniotis Winery IAMA (Syrah and Vradiano blend) - Nice bouquet marked by red fruit, dark chocolate, vanilla and a hint of oak. Raspberries on the palate with great length, firm tannins and a fantastic tart fruit finish. Its awesome acidity had The Wife, Ph.D., and I puckering our lips like babies sucking on lime wedges. 90/100.

1 comment:

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