Irish women Jennifer Thompson and Anne Rodgers spent many summers in Greece and fell in love with the culture, food and wines. They decided to form Oinos Wines, (oinos or oίνος in Greek, means wines) and import a range of Greek wines. They enlisted the help of Luis Sole Garriz, a Spanish sommelier who has worked in some of the top restaurants of Greece, and currently works in The Corkscrew wine and spirit shop in Dublin. Between them the trio have put together a very impressive range of wines, sparkling, white and red.
Three things have always held Greek wines back; firstly, they are rarely cheap. Most producers are small in scale and many of the wines are made in inaccessible parts of the country, often islands. Secondly Greece has its own amazing array of grape varieties unknown on the international market. Combine that with over thirty quality regions and more than a hundred PDIs, and you can see why many are confused.
However, many of the wines are compelling and certainly worth investigating. We see Greece as a hot sunny country so you might expect rich powerful ripe red wines. These certainly exist, but it is the white wines that have gained coverage on the international stage over the last 5-10 years. Wines made using Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini have gained a following, but there are plenty of other fascinating high-quality white wines too.
This was one of the best tastings I have attended this year, with an array of excellent wines. I urge you to try them out.
Sparkling Rosé 2021, Domaine Karanika, Amyndaio, (organic)
A blend of 90% Xinomavro and 10% Assyrtiko.
Delicious fresh raspberry and wild strawberry fruits and a lively crisp dry finish. 16/20 €35.50
Mantina 2020, Bosinakis Winery (organic)
Made from the Moschofilero grape, this has very floral, almost Muscat aromas and a nice full rich palate of red apples and peaches, cut through with good acidity. 15/20
€26.50 from 64wine, Glasthule.
Vatistas Laconia 2021
Delicious wine and great value for money. Precise floral aromas, rich textured peaches and excellent acidity. 16/20
€23.99 Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Gerovassiliou 2022, Epanomi, Thessaloniki
100% Malagouzia. Marvellous wine with masses of orange peel, rich, ripe textured stone fruits and a lovely mineral edge. 17/20
€37 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Searson’s, Monkstown.
Magoutes Xinamavro White Vieilles Vignes 2021, Siatista Naoussa
100% Xinomavro. Unusual in that it is made from a red grape, this is an intriguing wine with subtle strawberry fruits, a grippy note and masses of pure mineral on the lip-smacking finish. 16.5/20
€27 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Sweeneys, D3.
Dourakis Lihnos 2021, Chania, Crete, organic
100% Vidiano. 14% Subtle rich, textured waxy with honey, herbal and floral notes and a strong mineral backbone. Lovely, subtle use of oak. 17/20
€30 Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.
Diamantakis Petali 2022, Crete, Chania
100% Assyrtiko, 13%. Cleansing lemon zest and crisp mineral acidity with pears and a bone dry, slightly austere finish. Very well priced. 16.5
€20 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; 64wines, Glasthule.
Argyros Estate 2021 Santorini
100% Assyrtiko 14.5%
An amazing intense combination of fruit, chalky minerals with a taut, lengthy lip-smacking finish. Stunning wine. 17.5/20.
€51 from 64wine, Glasthule
Vassaltis 2022 Santorini
100% Assyrtiko 14%
Fresh, lively, pure and fascinating, like licking a stone. Clean, slightly salty, with green apples, 17/20.
€66 from 64wine, Glasthule.
Diamantopetra White 2022, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
50% Vidiano, 50% Assyrtiko 13.5%
A fruitier style with peaches, a touch of grilled nuts, and a rounded finish. 14/20
€24.50 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Searson’s, Monkstown; Sweeney’s, D3.
Diamonatopetra Rosé 2022 Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
100% Liatiko 12.5%
A distinctive rosé, quite deep in colour with minerals, red cherries, and a good dry finish. Much more interest than a Provence rosé. 15/20
€22.70 from 64wine, Glasthule.
Petali Red 2019, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
100% Liatiko. Apparently Liatiko, indigenous to Crete, is difficult to grow and to make into wine. This is a fascinating wine, but I’m not sure how commercial it is. Intense aromas of green tea, herbs and black cherries, followed up by a Nebbiolo-like palate with high acidity plenty of drying tannins, and chewy dark fruits. Calls out for food. 16/20
RIo Erito Red 2022, Crete, Chania, Pateromichelakis, organic
100% Romeiko, 13%
Another unusual but interesting wine. Soft, easy, leafy with sous-bois and black cherries with no real tannins. Not sure what to score it. 13.5 for quality, 16/20 for interest?
€25 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.
Naoussa Red 2017, Foundi Estate
You can see why Xinomavro is so often likened to Nebbiolo. This has similarities to a (pretty good) young Barolo. Paleish in colour and firmly tannic with quite delicious savoury damsons and dark fruits. I’d love to try it in a few years’ time. 16/20.
€32 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.
Naoussa Red 2020, Dalamara, organic
My notes read ”Could be a young Barolo’. Taut and firm but the tannins are far from overwhelming. A huge concentration of high-quality dark fruits and very good length. 17/20
€38 from Blackrock Cellars, Blackrock; Sweeney’s, D3.
Old Vines Red 2019, Karanika, Amyndeon
100% Xinomavro 12.5%
More open in style, pale in colour with subtle developing dark fruits and a herbal note. 15/20.
€29.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Searson’s, Monkstown.
Magoutes Red 2020, Siatista, Naoussa
100% Xinomavro 13%
A very different style of Xinomavro; fragrant and floral with easy concentrated red fruits and a refined tannic structure. 17/20.
€28.95, Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown.
Moschomavro Red 2021, Siatista, Nouassa, Magoutes
100% Moschomavro, 13%
Succulent red summery fruits with a leafy touch and light tannins on the finish. Attractive and very enjoyable. 15.5/20.
€26.99 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Sweeney’s, D3; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Kilma Red 2021, Crete Chania, Karavitakes
A blend of Kotsifali and Mavrotrango 13%
Quite pale in colour, smoky, fruity with a touch of prunes. Very pleasant, interesting and well-priced wine. 15.5/20
€24.95 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Searson’s, Monkstown; Redmond’s, Ranelagh.
Mandalari Red 2018, Crete Heraklion, Gavalas, organic
100% Mandalari, 12.7%
Fresh and aromatic, with rosehips, sour cherries and grippy drying tannins. Not my favourite although others liked it. 14/20
€24.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh.
Diamanopetra Red 2019, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
70% Syrah 30% Mandalori
Earthy, leafy nose; good savoury dried fruits and cranberries with an attractive spiciness. 15/20
€24.95 No Stockists at present.
Palaia Ktima Old Vines Red 2015, Pappaiaonou Estate, organic
100% Agiorgitiko 14.5%
Rich and powerful with warming red fruits, a light spiciness and smooth but present tannins on the finish. 16/20.
€36.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Sweeney’s, D3; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Searson’s, Monkstown.
Anthemis Samos 2016, UWC Samos
100% Muscat 15%
Seductive sweet wine; some primary fruits still but more honey, butterscotch and all sort of dried fruits. 17/20
€24.95 from 64wine, Glasthule; Searson’s, Monkstown.
Nectar Samos 2015, UWC Samos
100% Muscat 14%
Gorgeous grilled nuts, dried fruits, caramel and orange peel with good acidity. Delicious 17/20
€40 from Searson’s, Monkstown.