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Greek Treasures

In July my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting the Greek Islands and the mainland for 3 weeks. I must say as a devote beach bum I have sailed and visited some of the most beautiful coastal regions of the world. But the Greek Islands are sublime. I expected them to be enchanting. What I did not expect to do was fall in love with the wines. After much searching, I found two of my favorites that I discovered there. And they have just arrived. You simply must try these wines. It will open your eyes to whole new source for great wine. And talk about “Old World Wines…..it doesn’t get and older than this!

Sailing from Naxos to Paros

Sailing from Naxos to Paros

ATMA, the Greek word for “soul”, is a new range of wines from Apostolos Thymiopoulos, which captures the spirit of the winery and his interpretation of the grapes he cultivates. ATMA Assyrtiko is made from 100% Assyrtiko – 50% from Apostolos’ high altitude vineyards in the Fytia Village at 500-600m above sea level. The remaining 50% of Assyrtiko derives from vineyards across the region of Macedonia, more specifically, from the Amyndeon prefecture. The Assyrtiko is harvested by hand, destemmed and then gently pressed. The free run juice is then collected and placed in stainless steel tanks with organic yeast. Fermentation begins and lasts for approximately 20 days Once completed, the wine does not go through malo-lactic fermentation as the intent of the wine is to retain Assyrtiko’s high acidity. The wine is then filtered and stabilized at -3C. The wines are then blended and left in tank to settle for approximately two months before bottling. ATMA Assyrtiko is a mineral driven style of Assyrtiko from northern Greece that is easy to drink, yet shows the unique characteristics of the variety.

*2017 Atma Assyrtiko Nooussa Greece
$19.99btl/$215.89 per case
(Jim Sirna 93)

I drank Assyriko (a-cer-te-co) almost every night for dinner when I was in Greece. The grape is native to Santorini, where it is quite expensive, but is grown all over the country. This one was a favorite. The nose has beautiful aromas of fresh Mediterranean herbs and bright citrus zest. The palate has refreshing acidity, (think Chablis) and a wonderful mineral quality. The finish is tinged with floral notes, orange blossom and ginger. With a plate of grilled octopus….now that’s living.

Terra Petra PDO Rapsani is made with bio dynamically grown grapes, located in high altitude vineyards at approximately 500m above sea level. These vineyards are a combination of 40-70 year old ungrafted bush vines and 15-25 year old trellised vines. While predominantly schist soil, there are pockets of clay and iron soils. Within the vineyards, the three approved grape varieties (Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto) grow side by side. As a result, all grapes are harvested simultaneously, anywhere from mid September to the middle of October for the highest altitude vineyards. The grapes are destemmed and are left for 2-3 weeks for color extraction prior to fermentation. Whole cluster co-fermentation of all three grape varieties takes place in stainless steel tanks with natural yeast, which last about one month. The wine is then transferred to 500 liter barrels (neutral to medium toast) to rest for 14 months. The wine is then bottled unfiltered and left to rest for about eight months prior to release.

*2016 Thymiopoulos Rapsani “Terra Petra”
$32.99btl/$356.29 per case
(Jim Sirna 95)

Made from all native grape varieties of Xinomavro, Krassato & Stavroto this is a unique wine but in a very good way. A complete revelation. The nose if full of ripe red fruits, fresh Mediterranean herbs and a light touch of oak. In the mouth it is rich and round with good grip and velvety tannins. Fine acidity adds freshness and zip to the palate. The finish is long and complex. As I drank this wine I couldn’t help but compare to a combination of a fine Burgundy or Rhone with touch of Barolo and maybe even Rioja! Very, Very Fine indeed!