Some things that occur in our lives are completely unplanned yet so enriching that you are left wondering what your life would be without them.
This occurred to me when I was introduced to Markus Stolz on Twitter. Markus Stolz is German born finance expert and wine lover who was in love with an Greek woman, relocated to Greece to have children with her – and at his own astonishment and delight, fell attracted to Greek wines.
After just a few weeks of following Markus on Twitter as well as his incredibly informative and well-known blog elloinos.com, I began to ask questions about Greek wines each time I went into a store selling wine. And then there was a surprise that I had not anticipated that I, too, was enthralled by Greek wines.
For the past few months I’ve been studying in depth, studying and hunting and tasting, pouring, tasting, and really enjoying the quality and elegance of the wines that are produced in this stunning region.
The wine that we are featuring today is a stunning rose from one of Greece’s most reliable vineyards located in Greece: Gai’A (pronounced “yeai-ah”) Wines. (By this point the most difficult part of Greek wines isn’t drinking them but rather articulating their names which is why I’ve included the phonetic accents I’ve put in here.)
In 1994, Gai’A Wines was founded with the Dr. Yiannis Paraskevopoulos (PhD in Enology at the University of Bordeaux) and Leon Karatsalos. Gai’A Wines has vineyards located in two different regions within Greece: Nemea (on the southern portion in the Peloponnese) and Santorini (the famously beautiful island). They’ve devoted their time to studying the indigenous Greek cultivars and created exceptional wines with great skill and love.
Every drop of this amazing work is evident in the wines I’ve had the privilege to sample from Gai’A, for example, their 14-18 Hectare Rose.
Gai’A 14-18h, Agiorgitiko Rose
Producer: Gai’A Wines
Grapes: 100% Agiorgitiko
I would suggest not drinking the wine to cold to enjoy its rich mineral, herb and fruit flavors.
Agiorgitiko (pronounced “ah yor YEE ti ko”) is the second most-planted black grape variety within Greece and is famous for its ripeness and red hue. It’s mainly used for making red wine however, it also produces intensely colored roses.
(The 14-18 hour) got its name due to the fact that the skins remain on the table for between 14 and 18 hours. This is the way that the wine developed its deep pink hue and the magenta shades.)
When you first smell it, strong smells of red cherries fresh summer peaches, and some strawberry notes inhale your nostrils. They are soon followed by the scent of sea breeze along with herbal notes.
When you first taste it and the enticing aromas grow to include sour cherries that are soft as well as ripe summer stone fruits and subtle hints of mint anise, and the hibiscus. The refreshing acidity keeps the delicious fruits in check while making it vibrant on the palate as it does to the eyes. The wine is smooth, round and juicy This rose begs you to sip another glass.
What I was thinking of to make this lovely champagne rose is that lentil salad that included spinach, baked beets and a yogurt-mint dressing. It turned out be fantastic with it. The sour cherries ‘ flavors worked perfectly with the intense taste of the beets baked, and the herbal component in the wine was a perfect match in the dressing of yogurt and mint. The acidity of the wine danced perfectly with the vinaigrette, and its weight held up against the protein-rich, earthy lentils.
Overall, Gai’A 14-18 Dry Rose Dry Rose is an excellent wine that is a remarkable price. It’s not difficult to imagine drinking the wine throughout summer. In fact, I’d be happy to drink it throughout the year.
Where can you purchase Greek wines
The US: Astor Wines located in New York City has a amazing assortment of Greek wines. They deliver throughout the United States. I would suggest starting with any wine over $12.
Grand Wine & Liquor located in Astoria, New York also offers a variety of Greek wines. They do not list all of them on their website however, so you can you can call them for more information toll free at (718) 728-2520. They will ship!
Within Europe: 600 Bottles sells top Greek wines on the internet.
Where to sample Greek wines
One of the most effective ways to sample Greek wines is to go to a restaurant. For instance, in New York, Sommelier Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud has a variety of excellent Greek selections on their wine list, which include the rare vintages that can only be found elsewhere. Molyvos is an impressive wines list featuring wines from all region of Greece. Snack Taverna is home to a the smallest but most excellent wine selection. They also have wine by glass.