Irregular reflections of a wine lover – #63

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Marathefriko. Marathefriko. M a r a t h e f r i k o. My Greek wine voyage leads me to Cyprus as well and new grape discoveries. While tasting the 2004 Barba Yiannis from Vouni Panayias, I am once again reminded I will remain a wine virtuoso apprentice for the rest of my life. Somehow I’m thinking it must have been easier a few decades ago, when quality wine wasn’t as world wide spread. Knowing it all. But something happened along the way and today one can find great wines on literally unknown indigenous grapes. From Cyprus, Greece and Portugal. From Austria, France and Italy. Basically from everywhere.

There’s no easy way out of this. Actually none. If you call yourself a wine passionate one can’t neglect this fact and stay with the safe bets; Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Champagne and German Riesling. Hide behind the classics. Even here things are changing. Just accept the fact that quality wine isn’t a trademark anymore of certain countries or regions, and throw yourself out on a never-ending vinous journey around the globe. It’s great fun and adds perspectives. Marathefriko. How hard can it be to remember just one more grape?

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Thinking; when will we see some testing with Amigne de Vétroz, Marathefriko, Nerello Mascalese or Robola in other countries or regions? Will Assyrtiko become the new Riesling? Can Nerello successfully be cultivated other places than on the lava dominated soil of Mount Etna? Is Alvarinho the new Viognier?

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The recent trip to Austria – Burgenland and Carnuntum – made me realize what great potential Blaufränkisch possesses. To some extent Zweigelt as well but here I noticed a conflict between the producers, consumers and wine critics. Many Zweigelt wines in Carnuntum was heavily oaked hiding the more gentle cherry notes of the grape. Why? Well, consumers seem to like it and request it, almost demanding it and hence the producers continue the use of oak. Wine critics don’t like it and I heard many negative opinions being raised. Why spoil something potentially really good? Why become just another oak using wine where a sense of origin is secondary to the taste of expensive oak? Whose opinion is worth the most, the consumer’s or the critic’s?

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Having that said, I am still an oak guy. I like the taste of it. What it can add to a wine. And some Zweigelt wines do handle the barrique ageing exceptionally well. Like my own favorite, the Johann Schwarz rot. An exceptional wine with generous use of oak but all the prerequisites for a long life – and an integrated end product. Furthermore there’s a helping hand from Mr K involved which are worth keeping in mind if you can’t afford buying Sine Qua Non on a regular basis….

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I tasted the 2007 Etna rosso from Cottanera earlier this year and couldn’t really decide whether it was in a dumb phase or simply wasn’t better. Nevertheless it was a major disappointment considering the price and just how many great Etna wines I’ve tasted this year. It wasn’t an off bottle, just a diluted wine. No real improvement with aeration either during two days. Then I had it again last week. Blind. A much more open glass with the Etna feel to it. Still lacking some elegance but much better and most enjoyable. It’s good to be wrong sometimes. Makes me think how careful one should be when writing critically about a specific wine. It’s so easy to judge…

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My father in-law puts beech branches on the BBQ. Much better than the coal. In Bordeaux I learned to throw branches of bay leaves and thyme on the BBQ as well. What lovely smell!

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I get the feeling I have, for some unjust and unknown reason, neglected Alsace for years now. Every time I’m poured a noble one, or better Silvaner for that matter, it’s the thumbs up. The perfectly mature and complex 2001 Mandelberg from Bott-Geyl, served blind, got me thinking on just how many different styles of Riesling the region offers. The Mandelberg being a bit atypical for Riesling with it’s slightly oily and creamier texture, made me say Pinot Gris instead. Still, what a great wine it was. Perfect with chanterelles.

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Wouldn’t it be awesome to say “Rather like a Cypriotic Marathefriko” in a blind tasting, nailing the wine? In a few decades, who knows what the world of wine looks like?

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Gaufres Belges, Belgian Wafels. Killer awesome. I’m glad I don’t live in Belgium because then I would look like a wafel. When they come with the chunks of sugar, raw sugar I think it is, they are just divine. Mmmm….sacrilicious.

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I remember when I was in the beginning of my wine passion and Bordeaux was the thing. It’s still a thing but back then I was so surprised to see how the French consumed them way too young. How could they? Today I find myself drinking young Bordeaux as well – and loving it. Aged wines do fascinate but over the years I find myself preferring a wine not on the verge of surrendering. Somewhere in between, that’s my weak spot. At least at the moment. How about you?

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By the way, the 2004 Barba Yiannis Marathefriko is cultivated at 1,000 meters above the sea level. The end result? Kinda Carignan meeting Nebbiolo meeting Etna. Cyprus post coming up…

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If you can’t get enough of Wine Virtuosity and Mad about Madeira, then why not follow the two sites on Facebook as well? Worth a like or two?

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  • http://winecyprus-naturally.com wine cyprus

    Winemaker Andreas would be very appreciative for the mention and the idea that Maratheftiko (without the r) has stimulated your wine journeys.

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