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MWG March 8th tasting (3/5): Two Greeks, a Turk and a Galician walk into a wine bar…

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IGP Letrini 2008, Domaine Mercouri ($19.75, 11885537)
Located on the western coast of the Peloponnese peninsula near the village of Korakochori, the estate is the second oldest modern-day producer in Greece (after Boutari). This is a blend of sustainably farmed Refosco (80%) and Mavrodaphne (20%); the Refosco vines were first brought to the estate from Friuli in the 19th century. Fermented with neutral yeasts in stainless steel vats. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. Matured 10 to 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. 13% ABV.
Spicy wild berries, dried wood, herbs. Medium-bodied, like all the wines in this flight. Very dry. Juicy but not cloyingly so. Acid bright with tight tannins and a bitter-edged finish. A suave wine that is more upfront than deep but definitely easy-drinking and food friendly. Plus it hits that “in the mood for a winey red” spot. (Buy again? Yes.)

Öküzgözü 2010, Terra, Kayra ($15.30, 11885625)
100% Öküzgözü (“ox eye”). Grown in the province of Elazığ, in east central Anatolia. This bottling is part of the producer’s Terra line, which focuses on wines made from indigenous varieties. 13.5% ABV.
Pleasant if simple nose of slate and candied cassis. Soft textured. Full of plum and fruit cake flavours and powdery tannins, with lots of acidity and a credible finish. Not a wow for anyone around the table but unusual and kind of fun. (Buy again? On a whim, sure, especially if planning to eat lahmacun.)

Valdeorras 2010, Gaba Do Xil, Telmo Rodriguez ($17.25, 11861771)
100% Mencia, a mix of purchased grapes and the estate’s own; unlike most Mencia we see these days, this isn’t from Bierzo but nearby Galicia. Manually harvested. Native yeasts. 13 % ABV.
Candied cherry, swimming pool and graphite. Smooth and silky on the palate. More acidic than tannic. Umami-ish set of flavours dominated by dried plum and soy sauce, including the salt. Long astringent and drying finish. Seemed short on fruit. Suffering from travel shock? (Buy again? Maybe.)

Achaïa 2011, Kalavryta, Domaine Tetramythos ($15.45, 11885457)
The estate is located in Achaea, on the Gulf of Corinth in the northern Peloponnese. Farming is certified organic with an eye on biodynamic. This wine is made using the free-run must from Black of Kalavryta (Μαύρο Καλαβρυτινό) grapes, an indigenous variety once widely grown in the area but now nearly extinct. Tetramythos has 1.4 hectares of the vines and is the sole remaining producer. Alcoholic fermentation (with native yeasts) and nine months’ maturation are in stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation is prevented. Use of sulphur dioxide is kept to a bare and tiny minimum. The wine is unfined but coarsely filtered before bottling. Average annual production is 9,000 bottles. Recommended pairings feature tomato in one form or another: baked tuna in tomato sauce (tuna used to be common in the gulf); baked stuffed tomatoes; or rabbit or cock, browned and braised in red wine with tomato paste being added toward the end and finished by adding parboiled hylopites (square egg noodles) to the sauce and cooking them until done. 13.5% ABV.
Odd-bordering-on-unappetizing nose of ketchup, old leather, black pepper and animale. Smooth and juicy in the mouth, however, with supple tannins, bright acidity, clear flavours and a sustained finish. The MWG member who took the tail end of the bottle home with him reports that the next day the “offensive funkiness” had gone and the wine was “very tasty.” The Quebec agent reports the same thing: the wine is currently in a “weird reductive phase” and needs to be carafed the better part of a day to rectify itself. Will do. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

March 18, 2013 at 14:09

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  1. […] the picture. The savoury finish leaves an impression of purity and freshness. Even better than the bottle tasted back in March. (Buy again? Yes.) > A wine this elegant and balanced is by definition food-friendly. At the […]

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