PREVIOUS TASTINGS ARCHIVE – NOVEMBER 2020
What will we be tasting? Well there’s the steely, fresh and modern Smederevka from Macedonia which is a crisp white, and the Voskehat from Aremia, a serious wine, with texture, citrus and flinty notes to the fore. Completing our trio of white wines, a former Wine of the Week for me and a real surprise: yes, it’s Retsina from Greece, but one that marches to a different beat, being made in clay amphora, fermented with wild yeasts, and certified organic.
Our reds don’t get any more familiar, but that’s the point of this tasting! We’ll kick off with another Macedonian, but this time the grape is Kratoshija, said to be the parent of both Primitivo and Zinfandel. From the island of Crete, Liatiko is a native grape, this one planted at 900 metres above sea level, and we’ll finish back on mainland Greece, tasting Agiorgitiko, or ‘St George’, one of the country’s most important varieties, this from a small family estate and again planted at altitude.
This might be a journey into the unknown, but it celebrates diversity at a time of increasing homogeneity in the world of wine. Did you know that in France in the 1950s, the 20 most planted grape varieties accounted for around 50% of all vineyards. Today, the top 20 varieties account for 91% of all French vineyards – and all French wines.
Around the globe, passionate winegrowers and producers are preserving and improving wines made from regional speciality varieties, but not forgetting for one moment about quality: we’ll taste excellent wines that prove the quality is there, from winemakers trying to stem the tide of ‘international varieties’ that are in danger of destroying their historic, indigenous grape vineyards.
We’ll also look at the ancient techniques used to make some of these wines, techniques that have not changed in millenia in some cases, but which are suddently fashionable – booming in popularity among switched on winemakers around the world.
Join me on this voyage of discovery.
Tikves, Smederevka 2018, Macedonia
Tetramythos, Retsina 2018, Greece
Armas, Voskehat 2018, Armenia
Tikves, Kratoshija 2018, Macedonia
Douloufakis, Liatiko 2017, Crete
Kokotos, Agiorgitiko Three Hill 2018, Greece