Friday, March 9, 2018

Sonoma Cab Meets Greece

Georgós Zanganas founded Nu Greek Wines of Sonoma after moving to the U.S. and having trouble finding the Greek wines he left behind.  He noticed that California wines gave him a headache, while his Greek faves never did.  His solution is in this bottle.  Zanangas imports bulk wine from Greece to Sonoma County, where a blend is put together at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood under the direction of winemaker Robert Rex

Zanangas says it's a pretty nifty trick to make wine this way.  "It comes by boat in 1,000-liter and 24,000-liter bladders from Greece," he says.  "Once the wine is harvested in Greece, we get it into a stable form (so it does not get spoiled during its 45-day voyage from the ancient port of Piraeus in Athens,) to Oakland and then by truck to the winery in Sonoma."

"We blend and age our red wines in Sonoma," he continues.  "Once they are bottled, we wait four to six months before we release them to market.  We bottle the white and rosé right away, which is 100% wine from our Greek vineyards."

The publicity team claims the Georgós wines are healthier because of the lower alcohol, sulfites and histamines.  Those qualities are said to eliminate the headache often caused by wine.  They also promise softer tannins and high antioxidants.

Georgós Ithaka Penelope’s Spell Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The wine was named after the ancient Greek isle of Ithaka, ruled by Odysseus.  Pretty brainy stuff, there, referencing Homer's "The Odyssey" and all.

They say on the website that the grapes are hand-picked and triple hand sorted.  Oak treatment is done in 35% new oak - 55% from France, 20% from Hungary and 25% from Pennsylvania forests.  Alcohol checks in at 13.5% abv and it sells for $31.  The "Greek-style Cab" is made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from both Sonoma County and Greece.

This wine is quite dark both in view and on the nose.  That nose, oh boy.  It's much more rustic than Cabs usually are, with deep roots in tar, leather, earth and smoke.  Truly incredible.  The palate shows rustic notes, too, and is likely the Greek grapes making themselves heard.  Deep, dark fruit reminds me of a Sangiovese crossed with a Cab.  The acidity is youthful, while the tannins are smooth. Pair it with lamb and be happy.

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