Saturday, we head to Greece where we’ll be tasting some pure varietals from very ancient wine growing regions. Such grapes as Assyrtiko, Vidiano, Liatiko, Agirogitiko, and Xinomavro are a welcome break to a new world palate.
2018 Alexakis Assyrtiko $18
Around 5,000 years ago, the Minoans settled the Southern Aegean. Today, in Crete, farmers are cultivating the ancient variety Assyrtiko which originated from the island of Santorini. The Alexakis brothers source these grapes from high-elevation vineyards where ancient winepresses have survived since the Bronze Age. This Assyrtiko’s bouquet displays aromas of passion fruit, mango and citrus. It has a balanced taste with crispy acidity and a characteristic minerality around the palate and a long and lasting finish.
2018 Douloufakis Crete Vidiano White Dafnios $16
Vidiano is an ancient Cretan variety which was fading into extinction before being revived by young winemakers like Nikolas and the Alexakis brothers. The Dafnios has tropical fruit and apricot aromas and a palate of creamy tropical fruit and minerals give this wine a decidedly Greek character.
2016 Douloufakis Crete Red Dafnios $17
From Crete, the Liatiko is a delicious rarity. The wine is medium-bodied and soft but with a tangy cherry edge and a spicy dried roses and lavender streak.
2016 Skouras Nemea Agiorgitiko “Saint George” $18
From up north in Nemea, this classic Greek red reveals aromas of blackberries, black raspberries and ripe strawberries with just a touch of anise and spices such as clove and cinnamon. It is a medium-bodied wine with graceful texture, balanced acidity and very ripe elegant tannins. The finish is moderately long, full of red fruits with a touch of sweet vanilla and black pepper.
2016 Alpha Estate “Hedgehog Vineyard” Xinomavro $22
The Hedgehog coms from a sandy 23-acre vineyard close to the winery, on the Amyndeon plateau facing lake Petron and Mount Voras in northern Macedonia. This silky Xinomavro is perfectly balanced, fresh and crisp. It is complex, with a bouquet of small berries red fruits, leather and spices (vanilla, pepper, clove), and hints of ripe blackberry. The wine has rounded tannins, balanced acidity and well-integrated wood tones with a long aftertaste with intense quince aroma.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday, we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.