Christos Kokkalis; Checking out the 2008 vintage

2

It can’t be that fun being Greek. Not at the moment that is. Greece’s economy is the villain of the piece and wherever you read there’s someone demanding the country to speed up its reform making. Do you want to support the Greeks? Then start reforming the way you look at Greek wines and buy some of the brilliant stuff Christos Kokkalis offers!

Last year I had Markus Stolz guest-starring on the site. I do hope he updated your view on Greek wines and inspired some to pick up a bottle or two. Personally I had a hopelessly archaic picture of Greece which basically could be narrowed down to my own trips to the Greek archipelago – and bottles of Naoussa Boutari as the premium wine on the restaurants. I know, I should be ashamed. Some great Assyrtiko’s changed that though but especially Christos Kokkalis and his fabulous Trilogia Cabernet Sauvignon had me rethinking my view of Greek wines.

Let’s do some repetition. Working as a pharmacist for a big part of his life in Germany, Christos also attended some wine classes to build up his theoretical skills in wine-making. Then, in the 90’s he purchased a small vineyard in the western Peloponessos and started planting his Cabernet’s – turning the theoretical knowledge into real stuff. It didn’t take long before Christos started to receive acknowledgment for what he was doing and I can’t help but wonder how much a winemaker actually is an artist or just an educated winemaker?

Christos clearly demonstrates in his wines that he’s more than a pharmacist. He’s an artist as well. I guess some just has that special ‘je ne sais quoi’ feeling when it comes to producing great wines – with or without any major prior training. Christos started the production of Trilogia in 1997. The vineyards are organically farmed and he treats the Trilogia with great respect; no fining or filtration, low yields and no water irrigation. The wine spends 18 months on French and American oak.

Besides the Trilogia he produces Mova, a blend of Agiorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Syrah. I’ve now tasted them all; the 2008 Mova, the 2008 Syrah and the 2008 Trilogia (the last one on four occasions as I seem incapable of keeping the corkscrew away!).

 

 

 

2008 Mova, Agiorgitiko-Cabernet Sauvignon (EUR 14,50)

No doubt, this is the most Greek wine of the three. Greek in that sense there is a style I can name as typical for Greek wines if I may generalize. Not as dark in color as the other two, the Mova shows an early drinkability. On the nose it is generous with scents of leather, herbs, cherries, blackcurrants, bay-leafs and a summer dusty road. Rustic but easy to fall in love with.

Harmonious palate with fine and most present acidity. Cherries, tobacco, leather and humus. It has mature tannins and a fine refreshing blackcurrant and herbaceous aftertaste. What easy-drinking this is but still with lots of personality and also depth. Will benefit from a further two or three years cellaring but it doesn’t hurt at all drinking it today. (88-89 p)


2008 Syrah (EUR 29)

Dark color. Popped on Saturday evening and allowed to breathe for an hour which was too short. Therefore half the bottle is kept to the next day and then the wine shows its awesome potential. Perhaps not fully reaching up to the Trilogia quality but friends of Syrah wont be disappointed on this one. Elegant yet massive aromas of dark berries, spices (bay-leafs, clove, black pepper), meat, wet rocks, balsamico vinegar and fine toasted oak. As most competent Syrah wines it chews oak for breakfast. I must admit the bouquet is right up my alley and it is easy to just keep sniffing and sniffing on this one.

Seductive pure fruit, toasted vanilla oak, humus, plum skin, blackberries, dark cherries, spices and sausages. Again, easy to like and extremely well put together. Just like the Trilogia there a terroir feel that is new to me. Need to dig further into that because the style is thrilling! The tannins are massive but there’s enough fruit, acidity and harmony to predict a long life. The fruit seems sweet but the feeling is a bone dry red. Christos, you rock! (91-92 points)

 

2008 Trilogia (EUR 29,90)

Tasting the wine I am immediately flattered by the almost Californian air this wine sends out. Still, there’s a minerality I haven’t bumped into before, a spiciness sending me to the Rhone Valley and then there’s this fresh mint scent reminding me of great Medoc Cabernet Sauvignon.

The barrique is well integrated and not at all dominating, although they are present with the scents of ground coffee, dark chocolate and a slight vanilla note. It’s the floral, humus, blackcurrants, blueberries, mint and spices that caught my attention. It’s dense and has that feeling of a high class wine on the nose. Still in its primary phase but I tell you, it doesn’t hurt to drink – unless you’re afraid of tannins because the 2008’s tannin structure knocks you!

On the palate it is, besides the impressive tannins, a dry wine full of sun-drenched blackcurrants and blueberries with floral notes, oak, bay leafs and fresh tobacco. It has plenty of fruit to cope with the tannins and the acidity is in harmony with the other components. Long and pure aftertaste with a floral touch to it. (92-93 points)

Let’s start talking more about Peloponessos terroir because these wines are worthy all passionate wine consumers attention. I just need your help; please give me more Greek producers, wines and regions to discover. What should I drink? Suggestions please!

You can find the Kokkalis wines here.
PS. My tasting notes are always a span of two scores in order not to become too static. If a score is underlined it is my opinion of the wine at the very moment I tasted it.

PS.2. Read more about Christos here.

Share.
  • Markus Stolz

    Niklas, great post, very informative and well written. I agree with your observation that the MOVA is the most Greek of the three. Some general observations: I find that there are not many Greek Cabernets that stand out. The ones that do (for me), tend to come from high altitude vineyards in cooler growing zones. Syrah is the one international grape variety that really seems to work great in Greece. Manousakis winery from Crete are the Greek "Rhone Rangers", as they work only with Rhone varietals.

    I champion the indigenous varietals like Assyrtiko and Xinomavro. Great names to look for the former are Sigalas, Gaia, Argyros, the latter Thimiopoulos, Dalamara, Kir Yianni and more.

    For exciting modern styled wines that combine international and indigenous varieties look out for Pavlidis Estate. Both the red and white "Thema" wines are well worth seeking out.

  • Niklas Jörgensen

    Thanks Markus! Many new names. I've only heard about (and tried) the wines of Gaia and Sigalas before.

    Normally I am exactly like you; preferring the indigenous grapes of a country, but since Christos has specialized in Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (and Agiorgitiko) I was amazed by his results.

    I will go hunting for the ones you mention! If you come to think of any others just keep on posting your suggestions in the post :-)

    Best

    Niklas

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers