Showing posts with label Savatiano. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savatiano. Show all posts

Friday, February 19, 2016

Greek Wine: Mylonas Savatiano

Mylonas Winery is in Attica, near Greece’s southeastern coast. Founded nearly a hundred years ago, they are still a small, family-owned winery. The soils of their vineyards are mostly sandy clay over limestone with some schist and some gravelly sites, as well.  The area is virtually surrounded by sea, with mild winters and cool summers. The Meltemi wind - persistent and dry from the north - and the sea breeze dominate their part of Greece in the summer, keeping temperatures moderate.

Their Savatiano 2013  was $10 by the glass at Terroni. The wine list recommended trying it to help out the Greek economy, but it’s more than a charity case. As a side note, if you want to learn more about different wine grapes, check the wine list in restaurants for anything you don’t recognize and order it. I've never been disappointed in the results.

I have a scant familiarity with Greek grapes, so I was eager to try the Savatiano. It is reportedly the most widely planted Greek variety and has been used in the traditional production of Retsina. They also blend it often with the Assyrtiko and Roditis grapes.

The nose sports fennel and seashore, with citrus notes. It smells a little like Vermentino. On the palate, minerals and lemon lead the way. The acidity is somewhat muted but there’s a great, lengthy finish.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

When At The Greek Festival... Retsina

At the recent annual South Bay Greek Festival, held at St. Katherine’s Church in Redondo Beach, I was dismayed when I inquired at the beverage station about Greek wines. I was told their red and white selections were from California, and that they just had "some of this." The gentleman described it as Retsina, and told me it was "kinda pitchy." Not exactly a great sales pitch, but since I had read about Retsina and never tasted it, I was intrigued enough to buy a cup. "Good by the glass, better by the bottle," the server told me. I knew the sales training would kick in eventually. I thanked him for the offer and stayed with the cup.

Retsina is wine which is resinated, or flavored with pine resin. It originated, so says Wikipedia, around 100 AD. Ceramic vessels for wine were sealed with a pine resin to prevent leakage. The resin, of course, imparts its own set of aromas and flavors to the wine. While this may have initially been just a necessary evil, the effect of the resin was appreciated by many - like, the Greeks - and they continued to dose their wine with resin even after it was no longer needed. Technological advances - wood barrels - made the resin passé but the style lives on today.

The word Retsina, by the way, is a protected wine type in Greece. Anywhere else it’s made - I hear that Australia makes some - it must be labelled as "resinated wine."

The Retsina I tried was by Kourtaki of Attica, Everywhere I look I see the Savatiano grape listed as the main ingredient for this Retsina, but the label indicates a selection of “the finest grape varieties grown in Attica.” The alcohol is quite restrained, at just 11.5%. It sells for less than $10 per bottle.

The Retsina’s nose is laced heavily with the scent of petroleum. That "pitchy" flavor dominates the palate, with some citrus notes buried beneath. There is a nice acidity, though, and it pairs wonderfully with roasted chicken. A backbeat of eucalyptus makes for a pleasant finish. It’s not a wine for everybody. The server at the beverage table actually tried to warn me off of it. When I persisted, that's when he notified me it was "good by the glass, better by the bottle." As the wine grew on me throughout the glass, I thought he might actually be right.

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