Wine not?

Hello winelover! If you feel that wine-speak is not for you, you will be happy to know that I talk about wine like I talk about people and nature. Communicating in simple terms works best for all of us. Wine is so much fun and that's why I am so serious about it!

Effi drinks wine and she loves it.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Why do people remind me of wine?

Coucou, il y a quelqu'un ?

Hi, is anyone here?

Lately, it's been so lovely and sunny in London, I just can't stand the thought of staying in during the weekend. Last week I got to visit Brighton and today Sandgate, which is really charming. If you enjoy spending time in the countryside I totally recommend a trip to Kent ("The Garden of England"). 
As one does, when I am traveling by car or train I enjoy immersing in thoughts and today's was mainly about the question "Why do people remind me of wine?” Do you trouble yourselves with this kind of mysteries or am I just being weird?
If you wish to find an answer to the question “What is wine?” and you feel uncomfortable when asked to describe it, try to use characteristics of your best friend, your parents or your colleagues. Some examples would be “playful”, “robust”, “complex” and, why not, “pretty”.
Looks matter and this is why the first opinion we tend to express about people is mostly based on their appearance; the same goes for wine. The color of a wine can give you valuable information about its quality and age. A bright lemon color or a deep ruby will catch your attention; one can understand the difference between a youthful or aged wine and one with significant faults such as oxidation or reduction.
But as with people, some of the faults you initially identify, they might be easily repaired or overlooked and finally enjoyed. Let's say you are in doubt about the wine in your glass being reduced; a smell of rotten eggs or boiled cabbage when heavily reduced or a roasted aroma, when in low levels. Have you tried popping a copper coin in the glass (known as the “copper penny trick “)? Yes, I just said that! Swirl the coin in your glass and the unpleasant aromas will faint and the fruit will become fresher and cleaner. The analogy with people lies with the fact that sometimes you are not able or willing to see past a person’s grumpiness or fatigue. But have you tried smiling at them, or allowed them to go through the elevator first? You will be surprised with the good outcome, because they might smile back at you! Some wine drinkers find low levels of reduction interesting in a wine and feel that it brings some complexity and character. You know what they say; "We like people for their qualities, but love them for their defects."
Wines, when bereaved from oxygen, may develop some funky aromas; nothing that a simple decanting can’t fix. There are times in our lives that we, as individuals, also “need some space”. Here lies the analogy again, humans and wine both need their own space from time to time in order to develop and explore their true potential.
Sometimes you might need to decant a vintage port or a red wine because you need to get rid of the sediment that can make your wine look unappealing in the glass. Essentially, you are going to remove a part of this wine, in order to make it more presentable and elegant. If you were hosting a dinner party you wouldn’t want to stand in front of your guests struggling to pour wine into their glasses and making sure that the sediment stays in the bottle. Ideally you could surprise them with bringing a bright white cloth on the table, put a white candle on a candle-holder and light it. You can place your bottle on the right and the decanter on your left; hold the neck bottle above the candle as you’re pouring the wine into the decanter so you can see exactly when the sediment comes out. Your guests will be amazed by the procedure and you will prove to be an excellent host. The main idea is that you have put on a small show in order to enhance the idea of how exquisite the wine is. People need some help as well when presenting themselves. We all have our weak points but if we focus on our strengths, ideas and creativity, we instantly become more attractive and amiable. 
Wine is not an art as some are claiming. It is not revolutionary and cannot change the world. What it is doing however, is allowing us to draw our moments of happiness with more colors. When celebrating, the loud “POP” of champagne makes the room vibrate, the wine on the dinner table brings us closer and for the devoted wine lovers it enables them to explore a huge diversity of colors, aromas and textures. You can discover the whole globe by trying international wines and identify which styles are more compatible to your taste.
Maybe it is easy to describe what wine is after all; a grand celebration of the extravagant variety of life!
What do you think? Do your friends or family remind you of any wines or vice versa?  
À bientôt

 (playing around with Photoshop on a Saturday night..)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

What I have been doing all this time

Time flies

This is what my dear grandmother used to tell me when we were chatting in the garden holding a glass of wine. She used to say:
Time goes by so quickly as a leaking faucet
And that’s exactly what happened to me… I started my new job last October and then my WSET Level 3 course and the days went by with lots of studying, walks, laughter or moody Sundays.

Basically I was studying on planes, occasionally with the company of a random Barbie doll


When in Greece, I tasted the most delicious Moschofilero ever


Nikolas Repanis is producing in Peloponnese this marvellous wine at 11.5% alc with white blossom and fresh lemons aromas. Refreshing minereality and a long finish complete my idea of the Golden Angel
Another wine I had in Greece was the The tear of the Pine, a Retsina


Oh, don’t give me this “Ewww” face, don’t be judgemental! Have you tried Retsina lately? Well if you actually did and you didn’t like it, you haven’t tried this one. Made from 100% Assyrtiko and is fermented in oak barrels and stays in contact with its lees for a short time. Although Retsina is most commonly made from Savvatiano or Roditis, Kechris chose to use the noble Assyrtiko grape, in order to achieve the delicacy of the new Retsina style. I’ve heard many English colleagues saying how much they enjoyed Retsina during their holidays in Greece but when they had it in the English country they were disappointed. It’s because I myself can’t find a decent Retsina in the UK! I will come back to Retsina in a next post.

When back to London, I had Japanese wine for the first time and I was thrilled! Even though that the Japanese started drinking wine only in the 90′s because of research on the benefits of red wine for the heart, they have started producing great white wine.


That’s the Soryu Koshu 2010; green apples, blossom and juicy citrus on the palate.
That will be all for now!

Next post will be on Xinomavro; have you ever tried it? Any favourites? Looking forward to your thoughts.

Ta Ta!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

What I didn't see at VorOina (ΒορΟινά)

We have company! My first guest-blogger, Maria Dalabira, attended a wine event at Thessaloniki, where the wine producers of Northern Greece showed their wines.


Every wine is a journey

Maria Dalabira enjoying wine
Maria is a great wine aficionado. She enjoys drinking wine with friends and is always happy to discover new varieties or blends. This is her blog about Thessaloniki, you should definitely check it out and see how beautiful this city is. I reckon that the voice of the consumers and the attributes which attract them the most, are those that the wine experts should focus more on. At the end of the day, we are all working on wine because it's fun and it's honest. Let's keep our ears and eyes open to understand the wine consumers and not vice versa.

 This is how Maria experienced a wine event in Thessaloniki:

Yesterday, on the 22nd of September, me and my girlfriends, were so excited about our Saturday’s night out event. It was wine tasting day! Since 2010 we have been attending «Τα ΒορΟινά», a unique wine journey. This is an event that takes place in Thessaloniki, twice a year and it consists of wine tasting competition, wine tasting of the wines of the 36 winemakers and members of the “Wines of Northern Greece”. The event was held at the Port of Thessaloniki, Dock 1 in particular, which is a recently innovated space with an amazing view and beautiful history.

The day was special, Effi asked me if I could take some pictures and memorise special wine labels that tickled my palate, so me and the girls had a mission going on: Taste as many wines as possible and make our top three!

The organisers held a wine tasting competition for all visitors, a "looking for the lost treasure" game, a moustalevria tasting (special sweet made with grape must) and a children’s wine workshop in which children over 5 years of age would “learn the different varieties of grapes and make their own delicious grape bites”, as the event’s flier stated.

We had a rendezvous at 8:30 pm in the entrance and as I was the first one to get there I stood in line alone to enter the special dock. This year I waited for the first time for 10-15 minutes in line because of the resonance ‘’ΒορΟινα” had. The crowd was BIG and the ages varied from 6 months old to really old wine lovers!
I paid my 5 Euros fee, got my glass and got in to lots of white tents, lights, people, laughter and swirling glasses full of wine. 

VorOina: Tasting of wines & spirits
In the entrance there was a desk with six black bottles and in front of each and every one of them there was a big number from 1 to 6. This table was the  wine tasting’s competition table. They gave each person a paper with all the possible wine varieties and every one should check the box he/she thought represented the wine he/she was tasting at the moment! Every person wrote his personal info, such as phone number, name, surname etc so the winner would be found and rewarded! (The reward is a case of 6 bottles of wine).

So, as I read from the informational paper “Boutari” wines gave me, the main Greek white wine varieties are:
the main Greek red wine varieties are:

And so the journey began.

And what a journey! We had so much fun! Seriously we tasted wines from all 36 winemakers and they were all great! I began the tasting by myself, as I was waiting for my friends and I started from the end towards the beginning and the first white wine was a winner.

The first wine I liked comes from Vourvoukelis estate; a family of winemakers that planted 2 hectares on the fertile hills of the area Avdira at Xanthi with indigenous and foreign wine grape varieties, with a view to realizing their vision of reviving the famous Avdira vineyard. The wine’s name is Lagara, Ktima Vourvoukeli 2009. Lagara, which means clear, pure liquid, is a blend of Sauvignon blanc and Assyrtiko. As my friends arrived at the place we united and continued the wine tasting with so much excitement! There were laughs, cheesy jokes, happy faces and glasses full of wine everywhere!

Certainly, the ladies had great fun!
Another great wine was a white one from Ktima Ligas (wines of Pella).  The PELLA white wine was so velvety, lively and light! Estate Ligas had many fans among our company and we also liked another of their white wines: Roditis

As we went on, glass after glass, we stopped at the Ktima Chatzivarytis wines which surprised us so pleasantly with the lightness of its lively, white whine, the full-bodied red wine and the fashion icon Mister Chatzivarytis; a charmer, so kind and full of smiles! The white wine was: OROSIMO, which consists of 60% Roditis and 40% Xinomavro and the red wine was GOUMENISSA which consisted of Xinomavro 70% and Negoska 30%.

Mr. Chatzivarytis
We enjoyed the Elinos wine: Orizontes, a white wine of 2011.
From the Oenogenesis winemakers we liked: Skylights white wine, a regional wine of Macedonia, cool, with Sauvignon blanc and Assyrtico.

We liked a white dry wine from Boutaris called: SIMEIO STIXIS whose varieties are Malagouzia, Roditis, Assyrtiko, Sauvignon blanc.

People kept coming again and again and not only Greeks but foreigners too. I am guessing Erasmus students in Thessaloniki, whose picture I took but forgot to ask how they landed there. The night was wonderful, warm, the sky was clear and the winemakers were happy!

ERASMUS students enjoying every minute of VorOina

In the end of the kiosks there were three kiosks with local traditional products such as peppers from Florina, moustalevria sweets and meat products such as pork, calf and others!

Delicious meat products by
We found some wines that came to add to our favorites list!
I loved a rose demi sec from EAS Amyntaion , called AMYNTAION and so did my friend Sissy! We are definitely going to buy this one!
This is the only rose wine with ‘Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality’ in Greece
There were also two of Kir Yianni wines, the first one a white wine, SAMAROPETRA and the second one, a rose sparkling called AKAKIES, 2010.

For us, the surprise of the evening wasn’t a wine but a tsipouro, the best one I have ever tasted. Strong and bold, it burned your mouth and leaved your lips numb, a Zoenos winery tsipouro called: IPEIROTIKO, aged Tsipouro was a winner!

There was also a buzz about a new rose from Boutari, called Pink Kong, which we didn’t have the chance to taste because it was finished by the time we reached the Boutari’ s kiosk.

Anyway our top three wines were (not only three)
Rose wine: EAS - AMYNTAION
And guest star: ZOENOS WINERY- Tsipouro, Palaiomeno Ipeirotiko.

As the night came to its closure we were happy drank girls, with our wine glasses as a souvenir (they let you keep the glass as a remembering), with our cameras filled with photographs and our memories filled with wines we are definitely going to buy for a home wine tasting experience!

View of the kiosks
Thessaloniki during the after-hours
Great view from the tasting site

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Winemaker: Vasilis Georgiou Part 2

Young Winemakers and Wine professionals of Greece

          Many wine-journalists suggest that Greece’s point of difference is the amount of its indigenous varieties and that in order to differentiate itself in the wine world, winemakers should focus on them. On the other hand, others claim that we should also cultivate international varieties, in order to keep up with the world’s competition. What is your point of view regarding this subject?

At this point, I think we ought to focus on our indigenous varieties since they give us a competitive advantage. Other than that, we must monitor closely what the current trends in the wine market are and try to offer an alternative but similar approach to that trend thus creating a market for our wines. That’s why we came up with Simia Stixis (punctuation points) which is a triad of a white, a rose and a red all aiming for a very fresh and easy to drink style just as the current market demands. Therefore it is dangerous to focus solely on indigenous varieties without keeping in mind what the consumer really demands.

Which Greek variety and which international are your favorites and why? Please, explain your affiliation and say a few words about the variety itself. Do you grow them in the estate you are working for? 

Admittedly, I am a loyal fan of Xinomavro. Especially Xinomavro from Naousa. Over the years, I have seen this variety’s potential is limitless and the fact that the region of Naousa and its different teroirs give different expressions to the wines of xinomavro make it even more intriguing. Boutaris has worked with Xinomavro closely for so many years and I’m proud to pick up from there to continue such a huge tradition. In terms of winemaking, you need to be very patient and show “respect” to Xinomavro since overmaceration can bring out very rough wines. Soon you will have a chance to taste a great xinomavro from Naousa that we have been working on. From the international varieties I would pick Sauvignon Blanc, which is always a challenge to get those fresh cut grass, capsicum notes to make it great.

Old vintages of Xinomavro Boutari
Do you organize activities in the Estate you work for? If, yes, please specify and comment on their impact on the sales and communication. If not, what are your plans for the future?

Anyone can visit our wineries and learn about the history of the first winery that bottled wine in Greece. Wine tasting is also offered by appointment.

A little something About You.

I have always kept some time free to enjoy sailing. Being so close to the sea creates a soothing feeling which all Greeks have in their heart.

 Last but not least, do you export in the UK? If yes, who is your importer or distributor? If not, would you be interested in doing so?

Yes we export in the UK through our distributor 


You can learn more about Boutari wines if you:
1. Visit their webpage
2. Follow them on Twitter
3. Join them on Facebook