Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Nathan Lane
Wine Correspondent
1:02 AM 5th August 2023

Unearthing Greek Wines

Dionysus Greek God of Wine
Image by Raphael from Pixabay
Dionysus Greek God of Wine Image by Raphael from Pixabay
Travel is good for the soul but not the bank balance. It’s also a fantastic way to discover new wines, and this month a trip around the Greek islands has unearthed some gems.

Makarounas Minthy 2022.

With Southern Europe in the grip of a heatwave, there was only one way to turn when having lunch on the beach. A chilled rose pairs well with most Asian food, and this was no exception. It complemented sushi and Thai food perfectly.

Minthy is a super jammy, sweet and easy drinking rose. Roll it around your mouth, and you get strawberry jam with watermelon and a sharper tang. It has a good mineral finish for cheap and cheerful wine, with a hint of mint. It’s like drinking liquid fruit salad sweets.

The vineyard in Paphos, Cyprus, uses stainless steel tanks for fermentation at a controlled temperature. There is limited maceration on the skins to give a stronger colour and aromas. Made with Lefkada and cabernet franc grapes, it has surprising depth.

The Lefkada grape is more commonly referred to as Verzami in Cyprus. It comes from the Peloponnese region of central Greece and is also grown on the eponymous Ionian island. Its plantings in Cyprus outnumber those in its native country, and Lefkada has become the preferred red grape variety in Cyprus. Small bunches of grapes with thick skins are produced, and the resulting wines have outstanding structure and deep colour.

If you are looking for a rose with a bit more depth and weight than you typically find in Provence, this is the wine for you. At this price point, it’s a bargain.

Makarounas Minthy can be purchased online for around £10.

Moschopolis 18 Mavrotragano Syrah 2020.

Take a leap with the little-known, in the UK at least, Mavrotragano grape, and you will be rewarded with this excellent wine.

The combination of the well-known varietal Syrah and the local variety Mavrotragano creates a wine with a wonderful balance. With notes of little red fruits, tart cherries, plums, vanilla, and tobacco, it exhibits a high level of complexity.

Stick your nose in the glass, and you are hit with smoke and leather. The finish is long and smooth with well-balanced tannins. It’s a complex, weighty wine with dark chocolate, coffee, spices, and dried figs.

It paired well with lamb chops and would also work well with a hearty stew, venison and game.

You can find Moschopolis 18 Mavrotragano Syrah online for around £24.

Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.

A departure from Greece, and a wine for a special occasion, the Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth as silk, smoky red to be savoured.

This top-rated Napa Valley wine balances oak, vanilla and chocolate with blackberry and plum to create a wine with real depth. A deep burgundy colour offers a refined palate with balanced tannins, powerful cherry and flowery flavours, and a tinge of burnt sugar and toasted almonds. It can be enjoyed now or cellared for 10 years, or more.

The 24-acre Sequoia Grove Estate Vineyard is situated in Rutherford, where the region's exceptional climate and gravelly-loam soils give Bordeaux types their unique flavours. Napa Valley has built a reputation for some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world, and it can be often be hard to find a bad one.

Sequoia Grove is a classic example of a rich Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.

Make the effort to seek this one out.

Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is available in the UK for around £48 a bottle.

Our wine enthusiast Nathan lives in Leeds and runs PR and marketing company, Campfire PR