Georgia wasn’t my only wine-focused trip in May! E&M were spending the month in Athens sorting out E’s Greek citizenship (me = green with envy!) and had several times encouraged us to visit. Having just returned from a whirlwind trip to Tbilisi I was reluctant to do so. Until they sent me pictures of the inside of their local wine shop with promises to take me.
My arm sufficiently twisted I booked a flight and prepared to spend a long weekend exploring the Athens wine scene. Then Em fell victim to a visa snafu and had to leave the country within 10 days. So early one Friday morning we BOTH headed to the airport for a quick flight to Athens.
After we arrived E&M whisked us off for a leisurely lunch. We ate every pork-having dish available and soaked fries and bread in the most delectable honey pork juices. Then it was to the promised wine store so I could begin my Greek wine education!
Sadly while the shop was full of wine the staff were less than helpful. However they did deign to recommend a few bottles. Given the sea of unfamiliar grape names and, fantastic bottle designs, and limited knowledge of the Greek alphabet even their begrudging assistance was welcome. I started with five bottles thinking that would do us for the couple days we were staying. I don’t know who I thought I was with or if I temporarily forgot how much I can drink but those five bottles lasted us until we went out for dinner that same evening.
Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagousia 2016 Tasting Notes:
The Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagousia 2016 was our first wine together in Athens. After one sip I realized I had found my first favorite Greek grape: Malagousia. This wine is a single vineyard wine from the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Epanomi that is vinified mostly in stainless steel but also in a little French oak. The wine is left with its lees for a number of months to gain structure and body.
In the glass it’s a brilliant pale yellow with a lot of green highlights. The nose was so reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white wine). Aromatic and fruity it exploded with tropical fruits, white peaches, and citrus. On the palate it’s zesty lemon peel and tropical fruits with a zingy acidity and lightly mineral finish. If I had bought five bottles of just this wine I would have been happy.
Sheets of cold rain kept us in the next morning. Eventually we made it out for shopping and more wine acquisitions. Many more wine acquisitions in fact. So when we rolled up to the Cinque Wine Bar we were laden like beasts of burden.
Tucked into a small space near a tango school is the Cinque Wine Bar which E&M had just discovered. It’s thanks to the lovely owners at Cinque that I can now claim a wee little bit of Greek wine knowledge. Cinque offers of course wines by the glass and bottle but even better they offer wine flights. Each flight comes with a place mat that gives information about the wines.
More than just plunking down these excellent tools; the owners were only to happy to talk to us about Greek wine, wine regions, wine making…all things Greek wine related! In one afternoon there I learned a great deal; especially that I love the native (white) Greek grapes Malagousia and Assyrtiko.
All in all we had a fantastic, if lightening quick visit to Athens! I tasted (and bought!) a lot of fantastic Greek wine and came home with some valuable knowledge about it to boot.