TN: Wines of Crete (+ Santorini and mainland Greece)

A friend of mine has been living in Crete for short periods of time and from every stay has brought some interesting bottles with him. Earlier this year he decided it would be a good time to put these bottles into good use.

For people who follow Greek wine scene, there were several very interesting wines to be tasted - at least from the wine geek point of view:

Firstly, we had some wines by Iliana Malihin, one of the most interesting and esteemed newcomers to the Greek wine scene. She makes organic minimum-interventionist wines from local varieties, many of which have been overlooked historically and considered to be making simple, uninteresting wines best suited for mundane table wines, nothing else. What’s even more interesting is that she farms many ungrafted vineyards with centenarian vines - probably explaining how she can coax so much concentration and character out of these maligned grape varieties. The production is small and the wines are hard to get, so one really does not want to miss any opportunity to taste Malihin wines.

Secondly, we had a bottle of Akra Chryssos, probably the newest winery in Santorini. After all, Santorini is wine-wise probably the most interesting place in Greece - at least if one likes white wines - so it is definitely interesting to taste any new wines to come from Santorini (especially if one is familiar with most or all the wines and wineries of this relatively small island)!

Finally, we had a good bunch of wines from Domaine Economou (typically written as Oikonomoy), probably the most interesting - and also semi-cultish - winery in Crete. Yiannis Economou founded the winery in the mid-1990’s by purchasing some very old vineyards and making very distinctive, idiosyncratic wines made according to a very minimal-intervention philosophy. I’ve heard the winery to be often described as Chateau Musar of Greece, and now, having tasted the wines, I really can’t disagree. The wines definitely have a strong similarity to Musar’s wines in them. They are made from both local and international varieties, often from very old vineyards, and the wines are often aged for years in oak barrels until considered to be “ready”. Upon release they often show aged complexity, but I’ve understood that even if the wines might feel quite evolved, they are still capable of aging wonderfully for much longer, thanks to the prolonged oak aging.

We also had a good handful of wines from other wineries, but I wanted to highlight these three special wineries which are definitely worth remembering in case an odd bottle happened to come your way!

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  • 2020 Malihin-Chryssos Vidiano Old Vines - Greece, Crete, Rethymno (21.1.2022)
    A wine made by Iliana Malihin with the aid of viticulturalist Spyros Chryssos. Unlike the Young Vines Vidiano, which is made with fruit harvested from 5-15 yo vines, this Old Vines bottling uses fruit sourced from the vineyards where the ungrafted vines range from 90 to over 140 years old, the few oldest parcels up to 200 years old. The wine is fermented spontaneously, aged for 12 months on the lees in tanks and bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal SO2. 14% alcohol. Bottle #664 of total 2000 bottles.

Moderately hazy pale green appearance. The nose if somewhat leesy and slightly stuffy with a little bit of flatulent reduction, which slowly disappears, revealing nuances of waxy funk, some fragrant Mediterranean herbs, a little bit of phenolic bretty character and a hint of latex. The nose is fragrant and characterful, but there is very little in the way of fruit. The wine is lively but also broad and somewhat concentrated on the palate with a moderately full body and quite complex flavors of ripe citrus fruits, some waxy funk and bretty leather, a little bit of fresh white peach, light green notes of crushed Mediterranean herbs, a hint of leesy character and a touch of stuffy reduction. The high acidity lends great electric intensity to the wine. The finish is lively, long and nuanced with dry, brisk flavors of ripe citrus fruits and steely minerality, some juicy green apple tones, a little bit of chalk dust, light herby green notes, a hint of waxy funk and a touch of reduction. The high alcohol lends a little bit of warmth to the aftertaste.

An impressive, complex and quite distinctive Cretan white that shows lots of old-vine concentration, yet comes across as remarkably fresh and brisk despite the hot and humid climate of Crete. The wine shows surprisingly little fruit, yet it isn’t lacking in depth or flavor in any way, instead coming across as remarkably vibrant and intense in taste. I’d say the biggest problem here is the reduction that is quite prominent upon opening the bottle and doesn’t seem to disappear fully even with longer aeration - this is something that will go away only with enough aging. Thus I’d say this wine calls for at least a few years more - although the wine feels like it can take a lot more aging and most likely needs a lot more age before really showing its best. It might feel a bit pricey at 40€, but the wine still manages to deliver for the price. (92 pts.)

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  • 2020 Malihin-Chryssos Rizes2 - Greece (21.1.2022)
    A collaboration wine between winemaker Iliana Malihin from Crete and viticulturalist Spyros Chryssos from Santorini, reflected in the name of the wine: “Two Roots”. The wine is composed of Vidiano from a 80-yo franc-de-pied vineyard in Rethymno, Crete (65%) and Assyrtiko from Louros, a franc-de-pied vineyard in Santorini where the vine age is between 90 and 150 yo (35%). Both the wines are vinified separately with spontaneous fermentation using only free-run juice and blended together after 8 months of aging on the lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 13,5% alcohol.

Slightly hazy pale lemon yellow color. Subtly wild and waxy nose with slightly sweet-toned aromas of zesty citrus fruits, some chalk dust, a little bit of ripe Golden Delicious apple, light nutty notes of slivered almonds and sweeter hint of exotic fruits lingering in the background. The wine is firm, fresh and slightly angular on the palate with a medium body and slightly restrained flavors of steely minerality, pithy pomelo, some fresh white peach, light green herby tones, a little bit of tangy salinity and a hint of apple peel bitterness. With its firm overall character, subtly bitter nuances and slightly phenolic overall character, the wine has an air of a skin-contact white, even though it - to my understanding - doesn’t see any skin contact. The bright, high acidity lends great intensity and sense of structure to the wine. The finish is crisp, zippy and subtly bitter with flavors of tart green apple and ripe citrus fruits, some herbal green nuances, a little bit of chalky minerality, light waxy nuances and a hint of phenolic spice.

A brisk, firm and lively Greek white with a somewhat reticent flavor profile and an overall character that makes on think of an orange wine with only a little bit of skin contact - even though this is a traditional white wine in every way. The subtly hazy appearance and slightly waxy nuances keep on reminding that the wine is quite natural in nature, but there isn’t really anything funky here and definitely nothing obviously “natty”. Although interesting and distinctive wine that manages to showcase both the sappy-herby character of Vidiano and lemony-and-mineral qualities of Assyrtiko - and combining it all with old-vine concentration and intensity - I still don’t feel this wine managed to reach the heights of Chryssos Santorini or especially the untamed, characterful old-vine Vidiano of Malihin. However, the quality gap isn’t huge - this is only very slightly behind those other two wines. All in all, good stuff and probably will continue to improve in the bottle for at least a handful of years more, even though drinking really well right now. Solid value at 20€. (90 pts.)

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  • 2019 Akra Chryssos Santorini - Greece, Aegean, Cyclades, Santorini (21.1.2022)
    A Santorini white by the winemaker Iliana Malihin and viticulturalist Spyros Chryssos. Chryssos worked as a viticulturalist for the late Haridimos Hatzidakis and is currently responsible of the Hatzidakis winery’s vineyards. This wine is made with old-vine Assyrtiko (80%), Aidani (10%) and Athiri (10%) sourced from the Louros vineyard of Hatzidakis fame. Fermented spontaneously, bottled with minimal SO2. 14% alcohol.

Clear, deep and quite intense yellow-green color. Sweetish, fruit-driven nose with vibrant aromas of zesty citrus fruits, some juicy notes of peach, light floral notes of apple blossom and a hint of bitter almond oil. The wine is crisp, firm and concentrated on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and intense flavors stony minerality, ripe lemony notes, some waxy funk, a little bit of fresh white fruit, light bitter notes of pithy citrus fruits, a hint of fennel and a touch of tangy salinity. The high-ish alcohol brings a bit of warmth to the palate and lends a subtly thinner-like nuance to the taste. The crisp finish is firm and lengthy with dry flavors of ripe citrus fruits, some apple peel bitterness, a little bit of crunchy quince, light nutty notes of slivered almonds, a hint of tangy salinity and a touch of waxy funk.

A ripe, bold and concentrated Santorini white where the vibrant nose promises a bit more than what the taste delivers. Even if the flavors are not lacking in intensity, they don’t really match the depth and volume suggested by the nose. And although 14% is a pretty normal ABV number for a Santorini white, it shows a bit on the palate, taking a subtle toll on the drinkability. Nevertheless, this is an impressive effort all the same and one of the most promising new names on the Santorini wine map - there’s definitely some great potential here and I can expect lots of good things from both this wine and this producer in the coming years. Priced more or less according to its quality at 25€. (91 pts.)

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  • 2016 Karanika Assyrtiko Florina - Greece, Macedonia, Florina (21.1.2022)
    A still wine by the sparkling wine masters of Macedonia, Greece. 100% biodynamically farmed Assyrtiko from a vineyard planted in 2006 at the altitude of 700 m above sea level. Unlike in Santorini, where the grapes are harvested already in August, Assyrtiko struggles to ripen and the grapes are often picked around mid-October at much lower Brix than in Santorini. Fermented spontaneously, bottled unfiltered. 12,5% alcohol.

Pale lime-green color. Somewhat woolly, funky and a bit dull nose with aromas of hay, some lemony citrus fruits, a little bit of wet wool sock, light stony mineral notes, a hint of unscented soap and a salty touch of ocean air. The wine is lively, brisk and light on its feet with dry flavors of woolly lanolin, some hay, a little bit of salty sea air, light mineral notes of wet stones, a hint of mealy yellow apple and a sweeter touch of ripe white fruit. The high acidity keeps the wine fresh and structured. The finish is dry and zippy with medium-long flavors of saline minerality, some woolly notes of lanolin, a little bit of wet stones, light mealy apple nuances and a hint of hay.

A brisk and palate-cleansing Assyrtiko that certainly has those hallmark qualities - lemony fruit and bright minerality - of the variety, but at the same time feels like it is lacking the vibrancy and concentration of its Santorini peers, instead coming across as somewhat dull and woolly in character. As a whole the wine reminds me of woolly old Chablis or Chenin Blanc that has lost its fruit with age and just turned dull and woolly without any tertiary complexity to replace the lack of fruit. Although I greatly enjoyed the bright acidity and minerality here, I wasn’t particularly thrilled by this light and woolly take on Assyrtiko. Perhaps it was just supposed to be drunk sooner? Feels overpriced for the quality at 20€. (81 pts.)

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  • 2014 Domaine Economou Assyrtiko - Greece, Crete, Sitia (21.1.2022)
    A naturalist Assyrtiko from Crete, aged for approximately 4 years before release. 13,5% alcohol.

Medium-deep, somewhat evolved burnished golden yellow color with faint greenish highlights. Rich, complex and subtly sweet-toned nose with layered aromas of rosin, some cloudberry, a little bit of leathery funk, light smoky nuances, a hint of bruised quince, a touch of beeswax and a red-toned whiff of cherry. The wine feels dry, concentrated and moderately wild on the palate with a rather full body and intense flavors of waxy funk and bretty leather, some resinous notes, a little bit of beeswax, light floral notes of honeysuckle, a hint of ripe cloudberry and a mineral touch of tangy salinity. The high acidity lends great intensity to the wine and keeps the rather substantial body of the wine nicely in check. The concentrated finish is long, powerful and acid-driven with intense flavors of leathery funk, some tangy saline notes, a little bit of smoky minerality, light fruity notes of cantaloupe and quince, a hint of beeswax and a bretty touch of Band-Aid.

A very powerful and complex Assyrtiko that is quite unlike its varietal peers from Santorini, but not one bit less impressive in style. The wine has an obviously funky, naturalist edge to it, yet it comes across as layered and intriguing, not “natty” or “weird”. All in all, a very distinctive and idiosyncratic take on both Assyrtiko and Cretan wine that is very impressive already now, but most likely will continue to improve for at least a handful of years more. I can see why Yiannis Economou’s wines can be so divisive and I can also see why he is considered a cult winemaker of Crete. The only wine I can think of that reminds me of this style is Art Space Assyrtiko from Santorini - both very unique in every way, although Art Space’s wines are perhaps even more difficult to get your hands on. This was pretty pricey for a Cretan wine at 45€, but managed to deliver for the price, easily. (94 pts.)

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  • 2012 Domaine Economou Thrapsathiri Odyssey - Greece, Crete, Sitia (21.1.2022)
    100% organically farmed old-vine Thrapsathiri from Sitia, Crete. Fermented spontaneously, aged for multiple years in mixed vessels. 13,5% alcohol.

Slightly evolved lemon-yellow color with faint greenish highlights. The nose feels complex, somewhat evolved and quite captivating with layered aromas of smoke, pouch tobacco, some resinous notes, a little bit of hay, light oxidative notes of bruised apple, lifted hints of eucalyptus and nail polish, a bretty touch of leather and a whiff of phenolic spice reminding me of Tripel beer. The wine is concentrated, somewhat waxy and quite idiosyncratic on the palate with flavors of bretty leather, rosin, some evolved notes of wizened yellow fruits, light sweet nuances of overripe apricot, fragrant hint of exotic savory spices and a sappy touch of aromatic green herbs. The moderately high acidity lends great sense of balance and firmness to the palate. The finish is long, ripe and quite concentrated with complex flavors of waxy funk, some resinous character, a little bit of ripe nectarine, light bretty notes of leathery funk, a hint of smoky phenolic spice and a touch of bruised apple.

A very complex, distinctive and harmonious white that is at the same time rustic and funky, yet brimming with class and purity of fruit, powerful and concentrated, yet remarkably fresh and surprisingly light on its feet. Although the wine isn’t similar to a white Musar in any way, it might be the closest thing I can come up with if I had to give a more widely-known name that would be in the same ballpark in terms of style, harmony and complexity. Very distinctive stuff, and although the wine is showing a little bit of age now, at almost 10 years of age, I have no problems believing that this wine will continue to improve in a cellar. Solid value at 45€. (93 pts.)

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  • 2009 Eskioglou Petrenio - Greece, Thessaly, Rapsani (21.1.2022)
    A blend of Xinomavro (giving acidity and tannins), Stavrato (rounding out the structure) and Krasato (giving the wine fruit and richness). 13% alcohol.

Dark, somewhat evolved and slightly translucent black cherry color with a developed rusty-red hue. The seductive nose feels very classically styled, as if it was an equal blend of old Bordeaux and aged Tuscan red; there are aromas of wizened blackcurrants, some tobacco, a little bit of evolved raisiny fruit, light woody notes of cigar box and pencil shavings, a lifted hint of VA and a touch of sour cherry. The wine is dry, savory and moderately tightly-knit on the palate with a medium body and complex flavors of licorice, ripe black cherries, some tobacco, a little bit of toasty oak spice, light woody notes of cedar and cigar box, a sweet hint of wizened dark fruits and a touch of old leather. The overall feel is impressively structured and sinewy, thanks to the high acidity and ample, grippy tannins. The finish is long, dry and quite tannic with layered savory flavors of sour cherries, some licorice root, a little bit of old leather, light woody notes of cedar, a sweet hint of dried dark fruits and a touch of volatile lift.

A wonderful, complex and classically built Greek red that has evolved beautifully. Flavor-wise the wine is probably quite close to its peak and it’s quite likely that - based on the dried-fruit flavors - the wine won’t keep that long before the fruit starts to give up, but structurally the wine is still a baby, showing quite little sense of resolution at the moment. Aromatically the wine is quite captivating as it reminds me of aged Bordeaux red as much as it reminds me of a developed Sangiovese, but there is surprisingly little “Greek” here - unless you count in those assertive, unapologetic tannins that make the wine feel wonderfully stern and rustic. All in all, a very positive surprise - I wish I could revisit this bottle in the future, this time paired with a hearty dinner that would complement this firm, structure-driven wine wonderfully. A steal at 15€. (93 pts.)

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  • 2010 Winery Stilianou Theon Gi - Greece, Crete, Heraklion (21.1.2022)
    “Theon Gi” stands for “God’s Earth”. A blend of Kotsifali and Mantilari aka. Mandilaria from Heraklion, Crete. Aged in French oak barrels. 13% alcohol. Bottle #798.

Moderately translucent and somewhat evolved ruby red color with a developed brick-red hue. Surprisingly understated, almost completely mute nose with vague aromas of strawberries, some tobacco, a little bit of meat stew, light dusty tones, a hint of dried fruits and an oxidative touch of soy sauce. The wine is very restrained on the palate with a silky mouthfeel, medium body and reticent, somewhat evolved flavors of wizened dark berries, some old leather, light nuances of tobacco and a hint of gravelly minerality. The overall feel is quite tightly-knit, thanks to the moderately high acidity and quite grippy tannins. The finish is dry, rather tannic and very understated with light and rather short flavors of tobacco, some gravelly minerality and a hint of dried dark fruits.

Meh. This feels like a wine that has been aged for too long, at least for its own good. The wine hasn’t really oxidized or fallen apart, the flavors have just faded away with time, leaving behind a hollow skeleton of a wine. It isn’t completely flavorless, but the structure feels just way too pronounced in relation to the reticent taste of the wine and the nose felt almost nonexistent - especially at first, upon the first pour. This feels like a wine that should’ve been drunk many years ago. Not really worth the 15€. (80 pts.)

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  • 2018 Lyrarakis Mandilaria Plakoura - Greece, Crete, Heraklion (21.1.2022)
    A single-vineyard Mandilari (or Mandilaria) from an unirrigated Plakoura vineyard located at the altitude of 500 m in Karkadiotisa, central Crete. Grapes harvested in mid-September, 12% of the grapes were sun-dried for 3 days in order to increase concentration. Aged for 14 months in French (new 34%, used 35%) and American (used 31%) oak barrels. 14,2% alcohol, 2,1 g/l residual sugar, 6,9g/l acidity (5,6 g/l according to the importer) and pH 3,18.

Dark and somewhat translucent garnet-red color with a purplish plummy hue. Youthful, dark-toned and slightly sweetish nose with aromas of ripe red cherries and strawberry juice, some primary notes of raspberry marmalade, a little bit of toasty oak spice, light licorice tones, a hint of charred meat, a touch of vanilla and a whiff of blueberry jam. The wine is ripe, rich and surprisingly full-bodied for a Mandilaria - a variety normally known for relatively light wines - with ripe flavors of dark plummy fruit, some toasty oak notes of sweet wood spice and vanilla, a little bit of blueberry jam, light primary notes of raspberry candies and strawberry jam and a hint of licorice. The acidity feels quite high - although very much in balance with the concentrated body - and the ample tannins come across as quite ripe and friendly, slowly piling up on the gums. The high alcohol lends a little bit of warmth to the palate. The finish is ripe, juicy and moderately grippy with dry-ish flavors of ripe cranberries and blueberries, some bitter chokeberry notes, a little bit of sweet plummy fruit, light oaky notes of vanilla and toasty mocha character, a hint of strawberry juice and a touch of candied primary fruit.

A surprisingly rich, soft and fruity Mandilaria. While a balanced and well-made wine by all accounts, I must say I am not a fan of this kind of lush, polished and overtly modern Mandilaria - I prefer the lighter, leaner and more aromatic Mandilaria wines of Santorini over this kind of lush, soft and oaky Mandilari where the inherent fragrant character of the variety is masked behind oak and sun-dried fruit character and the tough, angular character is softened in order to make the wine into something of a crowd-pleaser. This feels like a Mandilaria made in the new world, not in Greece. I really hope aging would integrate all that oak a little bit better and grant the wine with some additional complexity. Priced more or less according to its quality at 19,40€. (86 pts.)

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  • 2015 Domaine Economou Mirabello - Greece, Crete, Sitia (21.1.2022)
    A blend of Liatiko (60%) and Mandilari (40%). Fermented spontaneously and aged for several years in various vessels. 13,5% alcohol.

Somewhat evolved and slightly translucent cherry-red color with a developed pomegranate hue. The nose feels fragrant and somewhat evolved with layered, sweet-toned aromas of almost raisiny dark fruit, some dried flowers, a little bit of leathery funk, light notes of tobacco, a hint of wizened black cherries and a touch of sweet exotic fruits. The wine is rich, silky and slightly wild on the palate with a full body and complex flavors of leathery funk and barnyard, some phenolic spice, a little bit of wizened black cherry, light brambly notes of black raspberries, a lifted hint of balsamico and a touch of raisiny dark fruit. The overall feel is firm and harmonious, thanks to the rather high acidity and ample yet ripe, textural and quite well-behaved tannins. The finish is rich, firm and textural with a complex aftertaste of ripe plums and cherries, some leathery funk, a little bit of raisiny dark fruit, light balsamic notes, a hint of Band-Aid and a touch of peppery spice.

A rich, textural and wonderfully layered Cretan red that definitely shows the solar qualities of the hot 2015 vintage (and climate of Crete), yet still comes across as remarkably balanced and seductive. With its slightly funky overtones, faint volatile nuances of balsamico, very ripe and a times even slightly dried fruit flavors and firm structure, this feels not unlike a Greek Musar. The style is a bit different - most likely due in not small part to the Cretan varieties - but close enough for the Musar-heads to see the similarities. Although the wine shows a bit age, I have no reason to believe this wine will not continue to improve for many years more in a cellar. A distinctive, delicious and really well-made wine that combines funky rusticity and world-class finesse with remarkable ease. Priced according to its quality at approx. 45€. (92 pts.)

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  • 2012 Domaine Economou Cabernet-Merlot - Greece, Crete (21.1.2022)
    A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) and Merlot (40%) from old franc-de-pied vineyards. Fermented spontaneously, aged for several years in various vessels. 13,5% alcohol.

Deep, dark, moderately opaque and still quite youthful black cherry color. Ripe, dark-toned and very complex nose with layered aromas of dark-toned, blackcurrant-driven dark fruit, some licorice root, a little bit of gamey meat, light spicy notes of cloves and allspice, a brambly hint of black raspberry and a touch of vanilla oak. The wine is silky smooth, juicy and textural on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and layered, slightly sauvage flavors of wizened dark plums and ripe dark forest fruits, some balsamic richness, a little bit of pruney or raisiny fruit, light leathery notes of brett, a hint of fresh blackcurrant and a vague touch of cola nut that might or might not be oak. Great sense of structure, thanks to the moderately high acidity and ample, ripe tannins that slowly pile up on the gums. The finish is ripe, moderately grippy and very lengthy with complex flavors of pruney dark fruits and sweet raisiny character, some balsamic notes, a little bit of blackcurrant jam, light funky notes of bretty leather, a hint of savory wood spice and a touch of fresh red plummy fruit.

A beautiful, complex and simply captivating Cretan red that reminds me a lot of Musar, thanks to its succulent, sunny fruit, subtle yet still noticeable funk, balanced structure and just that otherworldly complexity. If you dig Musar reds, it is highly likely this wine will be up your wheelhouse as well. It is drinking wonderfully right now, but I expect it will keep - if not improve - for many years more. Solid value at approx. 45€. (94 pts.)

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  • 2010 Karavitakis Romeiko Liastos - Greece, Crete (21.1.2022)
    A sweet wine made from Romeiko, a red variety known for its pale color, tendency for its grapes to ripen at different times in a single bunch (some grapes not ripening fully at all) and susceptibility to oxidation. The grapes are harvested very late in the season and sun-dried after the harvest for 2 weeks, then the resulting raisins are pressed and then the wine is aged for 3 years in oak barrels that are not topped up. 15% alcohol.

Pale, fully translucent and slightly reddish maple syrup color. Nutty, somewhat oxidative nose of chopped hazelnuts, maple syrup, some bruised apple, light green notes of birch leaves, a little bit of pruney fruit, a hint of smoke and a sharp touch of rancio. The wine is oxidative and quite characterful on the palate with a medium body and rather sweet flavors of chopped hazelnuts and sorrel, some oxidative notes of Marsala, a little bit of lemon marmalade, light bruised apple tones, a bitter hint of medicinal herbs and a touch of maple syrup. The rather high acidity keeps the wine balanced, although the high alcohol shows a little. The finish is quite sweet, rather long and moderately oxidative with flavors of sorrel, maple syrup, some medicinal herby notes, a little bit of bruised apple, light nutty notes of roasted hazelnuts, a tangy, saline hint of rancio and a touch of hay.

A nice, somewhat weird and very characterful sweet wine that is surprisingly balanced for what it is. Stylistically I can’t think of any wine that would be similar to this, but probably the closest analogies would be moderately sweet (but not sweet-sweet) Marsalas or Tuscan Vin Santos. Although made from raisined grapes, the emphasis here is more on the oxidative rancio notes than fruity or raisiny flavors, yet the wine retains quite a bit of that distinctive fruit character as well. I suspect the wine isn’t going to evolve anywhere from here, which is good, seeing how it bottled in a silly flat cylinder-shaped bottle that is going to be impossible to fit properly in any cellar. Drink now - even though the wine will easily survive unchanged for years, probably even decades, I really don’t see any point in aging it. Feels a bit pricey for the quality, though, at approx. 30€ for a half-liter bottle. (87 pts.)

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  • NV Canava Roussos Nama - Greece, Aegean, Cyclades, Santorini (21.1.2022)
    The “holy communion wine” of Canava Roussos. A blend of Aidani, Assyrtiko, Athiri, Mandilaria and Mavrathiro, all sun-dried for 15 days after the harvest, then vinified together. 10% alcohol. There’s no vintage designation in the label, just lot lumber “L2102”.

Translucent and slightly evolved cherry-red color with a brick-orange hue. The nose is quite reticent and slightly oxidative with aromas of prunes, some apple jam, light raisiny notes, a little bit of syrupy richness, a hint of earth and a touch of cherry juice. The wine feels sweet, soft and velvety on the palate with a medium body and soft flavors of strawberry jam, some dried dates, a little bit of cherry marmalade, light raisiny notes and a hint of pomegranate juice. The wine is surprisingly low in acidity for a Santorini wine and even the faint tannic grip doesn’t bring much firmness to the palate. The rather long finish is rich and slightly sticky with mellow and sweet - almost cloying - flavors of strawberry jam, some dried dates, a little bit of pomegranate juice and a hint of raisin.

A tasty but also rather simple and soft little sticky. Nothing particularly complex or memorable and lacking a bit in freshness, thanks to the modest acidity. Nothing too thrilling, but nothing truly disappointing either - especially considering the modest price of just 6€ for half a bottle. (83 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

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I just got an offer for the Malihin red & rose Liatiko, mentioning them in the same sentence as Musar. I did a search thinking “I wonder if anyone has posted a note on the Malihin wines, and if so, I would be willing to bet it is from Otto.”

Ding ding ding - OttoGPT nails it again! A bit more expensive than what you’re paying but seems worth taking a flyer here.

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Happy to hear that you were able to get them! Back in 2022 they were quite hard to get - these wines in this tasting came from a friend who lived in Crete and was able to source them locally - but I think word has gotten around so that now some Malihin wines are getting exported, too.

And I’m sure the prices must be higher since the ones I have quoted have been local prices at which my friend purchased them!

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Give the Whites (Vidiano!) a go if you get a chance. Availability through a number of retailers in my market.

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I missed the original post. My thanks to Otto for the notes. I have some access to Economou. Their 2004 Antigone is the greatest wine I’ve had from Greece and I look forward to trying the others. Now I will look for Malihin and the others as well.

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