In praise of Retsina

by Peter Pharos
An English acquaintance of a certain age, likes to bring up Nana Mouskouri every time we meet. He appears to find her not only an endless source of amusement, but...

Floral testimony

by Matt Walls
In the car park on my street there is a rose bush. Every so often when walking past I pause to cup one of the red flowers in my hand,...
90

2015 Gentilini Robola, Cephalonia

( £14, 13%, Oddbins )

Best known as the setting for Louis de Bernières’ novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Cephalonia also makes some very tasty wines from indigenous Greek grapes. This tangy, bright, wild herb-scented white, made from Robola, will delight lovers of fiction and non-fiction alike. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White

How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....
91

2013 Gerovassiliou, Malagousia Single Vineyard, Epanomi, Greece 2013, Epanomi

( £16.99, 13.5%, Wine Rack )

We have Vangelis Gerovassiliou to thank for rescuing the Malagousia grape from obscurity in the 1970s. This comes from his oldest plantings and it’s typically rich, textured and scented, with grapey, musky aromas, flavours of stone fruit and orange peel and a ripe, satisfying finish. At its best with spicy food. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Malagouzia

Back to the future

by Simon Woolf
Fine wines are timeless – that elusive combination of elegance, complexity and gravitas, plus ageing potential in spades. Their prices unfortunately are not. Top rank Bordeaux, Burgundy or mature Barolos...

Guerrilla winemakers

by Matt Walls
One wine, in one place, for one year only. It’s hard enough making wine in the same place each year, so as winemaking philosophies go it doesn’t get much more...
93

2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko, Santorini

( £14.95, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Winedirect )

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it’s grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
90

NV Tetramythos, Retsina

( £7.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

This is no ordinary, drink-it-on-holiday Retsina. It’s biodynamic, fermented in amphorae with wild yeasts and highly unusual. The pine resin notes are restrained and enjoyable, adding a Mediterranean herb like dimension to the pear, beeswax and honey fruit. The wines finishes tangy and dry. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White
90

2010 Seméli Reserve, Nemea

( £10.95, 14%, The Wine Society )

It’s not the easiest grape in the world to love (those tannins can be a little firm, like a Greek version of the Portuguese Baga grape) but Agiorgitiko is that country’s best variety. This is a very fruity example, but it’s still got backbone and acidity behind the chalky red cherry and pomegranate flavours. Make sure you eat this with robust food or cheese.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, Red, Agiorgitiko