Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Agathon, Mount Athos, Evangelos Tsantali 2007: Organic Greek claret, yes really

very decent indeed
Well not quite.

Claret of course can only be from Bordeaux.

Unless, that is, you are Basil Fawlty.

But I blind tasted you on this you would swear this was 5-10 year old cabernet sauvignon from the left bank of the Gironde. You really would.

It took a while to come out of its shell and definitely needs 12 or 24 hours of decanting. I've had it open for 48 hours in the fridge with the air sucked out of the bottle and it's now really opening up.

And yes, it's from Greece. A blend of organic local Limnio and Cabernet grapes, it's really both a gem and a bargain.
It has the classic claret flavours for me. A little age, black fruit, a hint of smokiness and some tannins to give it character.

For £10.99 a bottle it's well worth a try. Here's where I bought it, my first purchase I think, from UK wine site Swig.

I'm a sucker for well written wine pitch from the various websites I sign up to for updates on wines. They sold me on the location as much as the tasting notes:

"The vineyards lie on the slopes of Mount Athos in Macedonia, which takes its name from the mythical giant, Athos, who threw an enormous boulder at the god Poseidon, but his aim was poor and it landed in the Aegean Sea, creating the rocky peninsula named after him. Known today by most Greeks as ‘Holy Mountain’, it is home to twenty monasteries (see photo above), where Eastern Orthodox monks live and work and farm the land organically. Evangelos Tsantali, the winemaker, buys their grapes and continues those principles in the winery, making a wine that is certified as fully organic."

"The blend is an even split between the local grape variety, Limnio, known for its velvety influence on a wine’s texture, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A double act similar to Bordeaux, where Merlot adds soft flesh to Cabernet’s muscle. Its gentle flavours and fine aromatics can be attributed to the fact that the vineyards sit at a height above sea level that confers warm days, but cold nights – the essential recipe for aromatic expression."

Swig Tasting Note: “Medium deep Morello cherry colour with just a touch of brick showing at the rim.  It has a delicately perfumed, Claret-like nose, with a lovely hint of autumnal maturity. It’s the sort of wine you want to sip slowly and keep coming back to, as it unfurls slowly in the glass. There are all the classic Cabernet Sauvignon notes of blackcurrant leaf, plum and capsicum, framed by notes of pencil shavings and powdered spices from the 8 months spent in new French barriques. The fruit on the palate is soft, ripe and subtly spiced, old-fashioned, almost, in its fine-grained texture and has the feel of a carefully handmade wine. The Claret-like impression on the nose gives way to a sunnier character on the palate, more reminiscent of a Tuscan Cabernet, with notes of dark cherry, cassis, laurel and the mellow aromas of mahogany and chestnuts. It’s not a ‘modern’ wine, so I wouldn’t recommend it if your default choice of red is a Californian Merlot, but it’s a lovely wine to serve just below room temperature and enjoy with a big cote de boeuf, a haunch of venison or barbecued lamb chops. 14% alc. Drink now-2017.”

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