All About Greek Wines – Grande Reserve Naoussa Boutari

This wine was a media sample.

I was thrilled s few weeks ago to be invited to taste Greek wines along with the webinar – All About Greek Wine.  I opened up three (3) of the six (6) wines they sent me to taste along with the webinar.  I had heard mixed reviews about Greek wines prior to the webinar and had personally never tasted any wines from Greece prior to the webinar.  But I must say, all of the wines they tasted during this social media event were really good wines, with some being better than others.  However, when I first opened this 2007 Grande Reserve Naoussa Boutari, I wasn’t sure……….

It was so hot outside the day I opened this wine.  I think it was our first day over 90 degrees.  I was driving home from work and thought the air was never going to cool the car off so all I could think about was getting home and opening a nicely chilled white wine.  I already knew I was going to open my last bottle of the Greek wines I had received; but when I pulled it out of the wine fridge, I realized it was a red wine – and that I had NO white wine in the house.  Shrugging it off, I decided to go ahead and open the Naoussa Boutari.  Even hubby decided to have a glass with me. 

Even though the wine was a beautiful red hue, it was an extremely light bodied wine, not what I was expecting at all.  It was very smooth with mild tannins and no lingering finish.  Another sip or two and I decided to set the bottle in the refrigerator to bring the temperature down a bit more.  That did the trick!  I wouldn’t typically recommend chilling a red wine that much, but this wine was drinking more like a white than a red.  (Had I read the bottle, it stated that the wine should be served at 18 degrees Celsius which is just below 65 degrees farenheit.)

This Naoussa Boutari was aged in oak for more than four years.  Made from grapes of the Xinomavro variety, it weighs in at 13.5% alcohol.

It was a  perfect pairing for this Cucumber Salad.

Boxed Wine Gets a Make-Over

This wine was a media sample from Cal Naturale

A few years ago before I had developed my passion for wine, I worked with a person who loved wine.  He drank wine every evening, but he didn’t believe in drinking “good” wine.  I don’t know if he was just cheap or if he preferred boxed wine.  I won’t call the wine by name, but it was probably the first wine to come in a box.  At that point in my life I failed to see how efficient boxed wines could be.

Then came the Red Truck Mini Barrel.  I read an article in Food & Wine Magazine about how good these wines were and how the system kept the wine fresh for days.  So the next time I went to our local Sam’s warehouse store, they had the Red Truck Mini Barrels and I just had to have one.  For the grand price of $19.99 we got the equivalent of four (4) bottles of wine in a great recyclable plastic barrel.  And the wine was good – as good as the bottled Red Truck I had tasted.  I had some friends though who snubbed their nose at it.

Fast forward another 2-3 years and boxed wine is really in vogue and being written about by some of the best writers in the wine industry. One of the best boxed wines to come out of California is CalNaturale.  I received this sample at the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia in July, 2011, which means I kept it cellared 10 months.  This Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and full-bodied, inky black and jammy with a wonderfully long finish.  The wine comes in a Tetra Pak which is similar to a milk carton, screw cap and all.  This allows for easy resealing of the wine, but I couldn’t find anything that suggested how long the wine would keep once it had been opened.  I kept mine for 3 days with no problem.  Not sure what I expected when I first opened it, but what hit my glass was a pleasant surprise. 

Boxed wines today are popular due to organic farming and wine production as well as saving the environment.  If the quality is there, do we have to have the prestige of the bottle? 

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon                        Alcohol: 13.8%                         

To read more about CalNaturale and the Red Truck Mini Barrel

All About Greek Wines: Mantinia

This wine was a media sample.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to sip some great “New Wines of Greece” as I watched a webinar about these same wines.  It was my first experience with Greek wines and I was very impressed.  Greece has experienced a true revolution within their winemaking industry.  As recently as 20 years ago Greek wines were not considered up to par by the wine world.  That is not the case today as these wines now enjoy main stream distribution and are found all around the globe. 

One of the wines we had for the webinar was Mantinia from Domaine Tselepos  – this particular wine is 100% Moschofilero and is from a “Protected Designation of Origin, Mantinia.”   It is a dry white wine, very aromatic with floral aromas on the nose and complex, refreshing, crisp  flavors on the palate.  It is 12% alcohol and can be purchased at your local wine store for around $17.

Some interesting facts about Greek wines:

  • The Greeks were among the first people to serve wine at the dinner table – more than 4,000 years ago
  • All Greek wines are made from indigenous grapes with the vineyards being heavily influenced by the ocean
  • Some of the vines producing grapes today are as much as 3,000 years old

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