March 15, 2011

Greek and Lebanese Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Friday, March 18th

3:30 – 7:30pm

10% savings on all wine tasting wines!

We'll have Ned Swain from Devenish Wines here with a bunch of wines that are brand new to Maine! The wines are from Greece and Lebanon and Ned and I are really excited about these wines.

Ned will also have Lebanese olive oil here to taste and for sale.

Here are the wines:

The Whites

Honas Dry Muscat 2009 (Limnos, Greece) $11.99 - The Honas winery is located on the isolated Island of Lemnos in northeastern Greece. Limnos is one of the northernmost of the Aegean islands. Founded in 1994 by the brothers Petros and Alekos, the winery uses modern stainless steel tanks and cold fermentation to preserve the bright, aromatic qualities of the Muscat. Made from organically-grown grapes.

Clos St. Thomas Les Gourmet Blanc 2008 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon) $12.99 – This is an unusual blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These two common white grapes are rarely blended together. Here they make a rich, lushly textured white with just enough citrus from the Sauvignon Blanc up front. This is a crisp, delicious white wine. Tropical fruit. Sauvignon Blanc acidity and crispness up front and at the end. The mid-part is all Chardonnay – fuller, rounder, green apple and pear. Unoaked. Clean. Fresh. Vibrant. Food pairing – shellfish, seafood, salads, lighter pasta dishes.

Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko 2007 (Santorini, Greece) $16.99 - Harridimos Hatzidakis farms a tiny 3 hectare vineyard biodynamically on the windswept sides of the island of Santorini. The soil is all volcanic rock and sand, so the vines actually grow in small pits to protect them from the wind. This is a true labor of love and it shows in the gorgeous, full complexity of this wine. Assyrtiko is the noble grape of Santorini and it produces the best white wines from Greece. This is akin to a good Grand Cru Burgundy. It is dry, firm and flinty. It’s fresh with a steely, minerally-influenced character. Food pairing – seafood!

The Reds

Nikiforou Cellars Agiorgitiko 2009 (Peloponnese, Greece) $11.99 - Nikiforou is located on the west side of the Greek Peloponnese. Unusually, this is a blend of 80% Agiorgitiko and 20% Grenache. This is a classic red table wine, medium bodied, a nice earthy touch with bright fruit up front.

Tetramythos Mavrokalavryta 2009 (Achaia, Greece) $14.99 - Mount Helmnos, at the southern tip of the Peloponnese is the site for Tetramythos' 14 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are at between 1500 and 3300 feet above sea level, making them exceptionally cool and resulting in aromatic, complex wines. The vineyards have been certified organic since 1997 and also benefit from steady breezes off the Gulf of Corinth. Mavro Kalavryta is an indigenous and little-grown variety that is dark and earthy, slightly like Aglianico, from Italy’s Campania region. This has aromas and flavors of chrries, violets, spices and leather. Long finish.

Clos St. Thomas

This is a family-owned winery in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The Bekaa Valley is an exceptionally fertile growing area. The Romans built a temple to Bacchus in the Bekaa Valley. Wine has been made in the area since long before the Romans conquered it. Said Touma and his family have been making wine here for over 100 years.

Many of you have heard me praise the wines of Chateau Musar in Lebanon. These wines rival Musar in quality.

Clos St. Thomas Les Gourmet Rouge 2007 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon) $12.99 - Made a huge splash at a recent tasting! This is a delicious wine from a French family in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. This has that great combination of fruit and earth! A little spice. A little earth. Very Mediterranean. Ripe cherry fruit. A little dried fruit to the wine! I love this! Blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cinsault! The vineyard is 3,000 feet above sea-level. Food pairing – pasta dishes, roasted or grilled chicken, lamb, etc.

Clos St. Thomas Les Emirs 2007 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon) $19.99 – this is a cuvée of older vine grapes. This is a bigger, structured wine than “Les Gourmet.” It has more earthy forest aromas to it. Tannins are soft and subtle. This has nice vanilla and spice notes to the wine. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan. Aged in new French oak for a few months. Food pairing – roasted meats, game, hearty meals.

Clos St. Thomas Chateau St. Thomas 2006 (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon) $33.99 – Chateau St. Thomas is made from the best grapes from its best vineyard parcels. This is a multi-layered, very deep wine that is a bit Bordeaux like in structure, but deeper and spicier. Aromas and flavors of violets, blackberries and currants. Round and soft tannins. Great length on the finish. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Food pairing – steak, game, red meat dishes.

The Dessert

Samos Muscat 'Vin Doux' 2007 (Greece) $16.99 – And, bookending the tasting we have a more traditional representation of Muscat after starting you with a dry version. This is a sweet, but not cloying, extremely floral wine. The aromas of honey, apricot, honeysuckle and vibernum flowers leap out of the glass.

Samos is a tiny volcanic isle off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea. The grapes are grown on mountain slopes that give the grapes more sunshine and better drainage. The influences of the ocean keep the vineyards from getting too warm (this is CRITICAL). A classic old world Muscat! This is a beautiful lighter dessert wine.

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