If you’re following Wine Virtuosity you know that Greek wines are receiving my attention. They deserve that. Most posts has been handling the indigenous varieties. Not this one. Here’s to Dyo Elies. Thanks for following!
At the same time as I believe the consumers should salute the use of indigenous grapes in Greece, I’m also fully supporting international varieties. It’s easy to tell the producers that they should only do Agiorgitiko, Assyrtiko, Xinomavro and so on, but then again, they are the ones taking all the risks, not me. What looks easy on the paper can in real life be equivalent with bankruptcy. A majority of the world’s wine consumers wont recognize a grape like Xinomavro, but probably a Merlot or Syrah. Thus, have that in mind before blaiming a Greek wine producer for cultivating international grapes. It could just be, that it’s the Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah that makes it possible to also do a Xinomavro. It’s easy to tell people what to do if you’re not taking any financial risk. Worth a thought or two.
Having that said, there are Greek wines on international varieties that simply are amazing. Christos Kokkalis Trilogia for example, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Peloponnese region. I’ve had it at several occasions by now and it such a great pour. Ageworthy as well. Read more about Kokkalis here.
Another wine based on internationally well-known varieties, is the Dyo Elies from Kir-Yianni. I’m a big fan of their Ramnista, a Xinomavro. Fragile like a Pinot Noir but so rewarding when you succeed. The Dyo Elies consists of only ten per cent Xinomavro, the rest being Syrah (60) and Merlot (30). The Naoussa vineyards of Kir-Yianni are divided in 33 different blocks, everyone of them with their own characteristics and also viticultural practices.
For example, Syrah is cultivated on the low-pH sandy loam of block#19 and Merlot on the loamy limestone of block #23. Xinomavro prefers the clay limestone. Merlot is harvested first and then Syrah and the Xinomavro. For the 2008 Dyo Elies four blocks were selected (#19 and #23 amongst them). Interested in the exact treatment of the respective grapes upon fermentation? Click here. Aging takes place in French and American oak with larger casks for the sensitive Xinomavro. A fourth is new.
2008 Dyo Elies, Kir-Yianni. Ok, this is dark stuff, almost impenetrable. Still a young wine, untempered, with loads of blackberries and dark cherries. Spices and herbes provencale, toasted oak, black olives and humus. Not exactly an elegant nose but oh so charming and amiable. Lots of good stuff happening on the palate. Pure dark berries, licorice, humus, toasted oak, plum skin, olives and a flowery note. Filled with fruit, tannins and acidity backing the whole package up. Finishes spicy. Not sweet but really ripe grapes here. Not trying to be a Bordeaux look-a-like, nor a Rhone copy, 2008 Dyo Elies has its own style. Will it work on an international level? Would be pretty surprised if not!
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