Tag Archives: Greek wines

Savoring the 2015 Alpha Estate Malagouzia

Photo by Edgar Solis

The 2015 Alpha Estate Malagouzia is an outstanding Greek white wine. Delightful white from North-Western Macedonia, Greece arrived as a sample. Intense aromas of ripe honeydew melon, figs, and geranium, with hints of lemon, jasmine tea, and sweet spices. On the palate, this wine felt refreshing and loaded with flavors of ripe Anjou pear, soursop, lychee, passion fruit and hints of citrus. The bouquet on this wine reminds me of a slightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc, but it deceives you on the taste buds with a unique character and exciting flavors. This exceptional white wine is an excellent choice to have with your favorite salad, white fish, shellfish or chicken with a creamy/citrus sauce. A well balanced white wine that will pair well with many Asian cuisine dishes (Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese). We enjoyed this wine with Spaghetti “al Limone” (lemon sauce and parmesan cheese), and tender squid fillet. Suggested retail price, $22.

Alpha Estate, is located in the Amyndeon region, in North-West Greece. It is the dream come true of entrepreneurs Makis
Mavridis and Angelos Iatridis. Angelos is the winemaker, educated in Bordeaux, with winemaking training in Bordeaux, Alsace, Rhone, Champagne. He has extensive experience making world renown Greek wines. Alpha Estate vineyard, conceived in 1994 and established in 1997, completed its first stage of the buildings and mechanical installations by 2005. The winery continues evolving and improving on viticultural practices and winemaking techniques. The vine growing follows sustainable practices and put emphasis on quality vs. quantity. The estate has cutting edge underground facilities, separate cellars for barrique and bottles under controlled temperature for optimal aging conditions.

The 214-acre vineyard is adjacent to the production facility, at harvest time this guarantee minimal time from picking the grapes to the start of fermentation on the tanks. The property offers optimal soil conditions for growing grapes, low fertility, sand and sand-clay and exceptional drainage. The climate provides optimal temperature fluctuations between day and night, with constant northwest winds that contribute to the good health and longevity of the vineyard. The combination of cold winters with generous rain and snow falls in contrast with dry summers, creates optimal growing conditions.

The implementation of unified vinification practices, the hard work of the winery team members and the respect for the ecosystem around the vineyard allows for the terroir to shine through and           express itself into unique wines.

Tasting Domaine Porto Carras Greek wines

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What an excellent wine and food tasting experience at The Bruton House in Alameda, CA! Old World Vines and Elemental Meme delighted us with wonderful Greek wines from Domaine Porto Carras with delicious food offerings from Scott’s Seafood Grill, Jack London Square, Oakland. Patricia Schneider, Sheila Thomas and Stephen Mitchell from Elemental Meme welcomed us to The Bruton House, beautifully restored Colonial Revival style home and latest Alameda’s monument. As Patricia Schneider introduced us to Yliana Stengou, Vice President/Ownwer of Domaine Porto Carras and Michael Pavlidis, Vice President of Sales for Old World Vines, wine importing company based in San Diego; the crowd started enjoying three palatable white wines:

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  • 2012 Assyrtiko (100% Assyrtiko grape): Aromatic and refreshing white wine, great balance, pleasant acidity and dry finish. This wine smells as it tastes, Asian apple, D’Anjou pear with hints of citrus. The perfect wine to have with a fresh green salad: mandarin orange, apples, cashews with rock shrimp or chicken drizzled with a citrus vinaigrette dressing. You can also enjoy this wine with, shellfish, white grilled fish or a seafood Paella. Suggested retail price, $14.
  • 2012 Malagouzia (100% Malagouzia grape): “An indigenous grape that thrives on the Sithonian peninsula.” Another aromatic white wine, white jasmine, citrus blossoms, passion fruit and hints of mint. On the palate feels rich, enjoy ripe stone fruit(white peach, apricot), green apple and hints of citrus. A refreshing white that will pair great with your favorite white fish dish, pasta with chicken and white sauce, oven roasted turkey and white Neapolitan pizza. Suggested retail price, $17.
  • 2012 Melissanthi (A blend of Assyrtiko and Athiri grapes): Gentle citrus, Meyer lemon aromas gives way to ripe peach, honeydew melon and pineapple sage. On the palate enjoy what you smell, nice viscous texture with bright acidity and citrus finish. Another beautiful white to have with white fish, shellfish, crustaceans, chicken, creamy cheeses, paella or risotto. Suggested retail price, $12.

After learning about the well crafted and refreshing white wines from Porto Carras with the winery representatives and the importer for the USA, we walked out of the kitchen to the beautiful backyard to enjoy a delectable spread of food from Scott’s Seafood Grill, here we met Jeanne Graham, owner of The Bruton House, who bought the property in 1999 and restored. Jeanne introduced us to the rich history of the home while pointing to some interesting architectural details.

We enjoyed delicious food paired with the white wines, then back inside the house to try the red wines.

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  • 2005 Chateau Porto Carras (A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Limnio and Merlot):  A delightful red blend with intense aromas, delicious flavors and dark color. Black and blueberries aromas up front with savory notes developing quick, brown spices, vanilla and gentle hints of oak and smoke. On the palate, this wine feels velvety with great acidity, dark fruit flavors, licorice and cocoa powder notes. This 2005 wine was ready to drink, with potential of keep aging nicely. This wine will be a perfect choice to have with red meat dishes, bison, wild boar and duck. Excellent wine to have with pasta and rich red sauces. Suggested retail price, $18.
  • 2011 Limnio (100% Limnio): “The oldest recorded grape variety.” This wine shows aromas of baking spices, black pepper and blackberries with hints of toasty oak and cassis. On the palate, this red wine express great complexity of flavors, dark berries, nutmeg, dark currants and sauté mushrooms with hints of dark chocolate and gentle tannins. A robust but easy to drink red wine that will be great to have with lamb, red meat dishes, pizza with meat and earthy toppings, pasta with red meat sauces and BBQ dishes. Suggested retail price, $16.
  • 2010 Magnus Baccata (A blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) : Sweet brown spices aromas followed by blackberry jam, dark pepper and smoky notes. On the palate this wine feels rich with firm tannins, ripe dark fruit, vanilla and dark chocolate peppery notes on a long finish. Delicious wine to enjoy with smoked baby back ribs, roasted lamb, rib eye steak. This wine will also be a great pairing with an assortment of charcuterie and aged cheeses. Suggested retail price, $26.

While savoring all this stellar red wines we had the opportunity to meet and talk to Yliana Stengou, Vice President/Owner of Domaine Porto Carras. Yliana shared with us the amazing history behind Domaine Porto Carras.

“Our 100% organic vineyard property sits on the western side of Chalkidiki’s Sithonia Peninsula, the evergreen slopes of Mt. Meliton extends all the way down the turquoise clear waters of Toroneo Bay. 450 hectares(1,111 acres)of amphitheater-shaped vineyards, the largest continuous vineyards in Greece. The first vine plantings started in 1965, alongside work on the construction of the resort. At the time, this created a revolution in the hotel and wine making sector in Greece.”

The vineyards were designed by university professors from the Thessaloniki School of Agronomy and Athens Vine & Wine Institute in an admirable way. As a first, a comprehensive study was done about the capability of foreign grape varieties to be plant in Greece. The Domaine showed great respect to this unique environment, forests have been left undisturbed, today these trees serve as a natural barrier, trapping the evening atmospheric moisture which helps the vines sustain the hot summer days.

The winery, built in 1970 is located in a valley in the middle of the property, invisible to the passer’s eye, both from the road and the sea, safeguarding the beauty of the landscape. University of Bordeaux Professor Emile Peynaud, father of modern winemaking, was instrumental in developing a Cabernet Sauvignon vine able to adapt the chalky and schistose soils of Domaine Porto Carras vineyards.