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It’s all Greek to me… again > Wines from an ideal location March 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.

In the world of wine, there is always an opportunity for high-volume, competitively-priced brands. While Greece had been very successful in creating top-quality wines for niche markets, Nemea in the Peloponnese was named the ideal location to build a new winery to achieve this goal. The area is famous for its vibrant red wines, which rely exclusively on the high quality and attractive Agiorgitiko grape variety.

Armed with this information, George Kokotos of Semeli Winery and his friend Mihalis Salas created Domaine Helios. It is located at an altitude of 600m in Koutsi, one of the most celebrated “crus” of Nemea OPAP (Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality). The basic products of Domaine Helios are the regional wines of Orinos Helios, white and red coupled with an appellation Nemea bottling the Domaine Helios Nemea Reserve. The winery is state of the art. And the wines?

2006 Orinos Helios, Regional white of Peloponnese, Semeli Winery, Alcohol Volume 12% > A blend of two grape varieties, Moschofilero and Roditis. The name Roditis comes from rodon meaning rose and most probably derives from the pink-skinned berries. Moschofilero is an indigenous Blanc de Gris grape. The term describes a group of wine-bearing grapes with skin colours that vary from light pink to dark purple. This white has a white-yellow colour with green highlights. Roditis contributes with lemon and orange blossoms, while roses and violets come from the Moschofilero grape. The mouth is round and balanced and the acidity is reasonably balanced, ripe fruit can be found on the palate with a fleshy lemony finish. Serve at 9 degrC as an aperitif, best with oysters, shellfish and fish with exotic medium-spiced dishes.

2004 Orinos Helios, Regional red of Peloponnese, Semeli Winery, Alcohol Volume 12.5% > Made form the Agiorgitiko grape, this is a red wine with a deep violet colour as an indication of youth, with purple highlights. The nose is fruity with plums and maraschino cherries and some vanilla from being aged in French barrels. Medium to full-bodied, it is smooth and soft in the mouth with elegant, round tannins. It is amazing how balanced this wine is between alcohol and acidity. To enjoy it best, serve at 16 degrC with pastas with meat and tomato sauces, charcuterie, and grilled meats.

2004 Orinos Helios, OPAP Peloponnese, Semeli Winery, Alcohol Volume 12.5% > Such a deep ruby colour is again an indication of youth, with purple highlights. Kept in new French oak, on the nose we come across aromas of plums, prunes and maraschino cherries as well as dry fruit, nutmeg and strong vanilla. On the palate, the wine is smooth with subtle tannins. A lingering aftertaste of cherry flavours, this is a fine wine from selected Agiorgitiko grapes from one of the most famous appellations in Greece. The wine is best with grilled red meat and pasta dishes with tomato-based sauces, served at 16 to 18 degrC.

2006 Biblia Chora Estate, Regional white Pangeo, Alcohol Volume 12.5% >
This is one of the best whites of 2006 that I have tried so far, and is the result of a joint venture by Vasilis Tsaktsarlis and Vangelis Gerovasiliou, two of Greece’s best oenologists. Biblia Chora proprietary white wine is a blend of 40% Assyrtiko and 60% Sauvignon Blanc. Assyrtiko is native to the island of Santorini, where it produces some of the world’s most intensely mineral whites, but this producer’s efforts show that it can also create very interesting results in other, less exotic circumstances. In this blend, Assyrtiko contribute aromas of straw and smoke that work nicely with notes of melon, citrus and dried herbs lent by the Sauvignon. There is real substance and heft on the palate, but also sharp definition from bright acidity on the finish, making this a highly versatile wine for simple sipping or serving with a wide range of food. Serve at 10 to 12 degrC. Try it with steamed or baked fish, shellfish and green salads, roast meat and poultry with cream-based sauces.

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