Spend less, drink better

by Matt Walls
The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than bookstores. When it comes to wine we’re no different; most of what...
90

2011 Domaine Thymiopoulos, Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro, Naoussa

( £12.50, 13.5%, Oddbins )

Xinomvaro can be pretty toothsome stuff, even when the vines are young. But this combines the Nebbiolo-like tannnins and dryness with some sweet, supple red fruits. The overall effect is vey tasty indeed, with hints of rose petal, raspberry and wild strawberry set against a background of savoury, spicy tannins. Delicious at the price.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
88

2012 Semeli Wines, Feast, Moschofilero, Peloponnese

( £8.50, 12%, Oddbins )

It’s a pleasure to be recommending a bottle from Oddbins as my wine of the week once more! And what better way to start than something from Greece, long an Oddbins speciality? This is a musky, perfumed, dry white with hints of pear and rosepetal, crunchy acidity and a tangy, seafoood-friendly finish. A great introdcution to an indigenous grape variety. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Greece, White, Moschofilero
91

2012 Hatzidakis, Assyrtikos, Santorini

( £13.75, 13.5%, Oddbins )

if you’re flirting with Greek wines but haven’t consumated the relationship yet, this is the place to start. Sourced from the volcanic island of Santorini, it’s rich, spicy, yet unoaked, with plenty of weight, notes of pear and fresh hay and a thrilling backbone of stony acidity. Like a cross between a Chablis and a Rhône blend, but with a herbal, Mediterranean twist that is all its own.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
91

2010 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko

( £10.99, 13%, Waitrose )

Harry Hatzidakis makes some of the best whites on the volcanic holiday island of Santorini from the wonderful Assyrtiko grape. This is typically fresh and tangy, with a salty undertone, stony minerality and bright, lip-smacking acidity. The wine is shwowing really well right now after two years’ bottle age. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
90

2011 Monemvasia Kidonitsa, Laconia

( £11.50, 13%, Bowes Wine )

The Kidonitsa grape may be new to you (you’re not alone there), but don’t worry about that because it’s a great drink. Spritzy and slightly honeyed, with the texture of a Pinot Gris but an extra dimension of flavour. A touch of straw, some ginger spice, a whisper of thyme. You can almost smell the Med. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White, Other Whites
91

2010 Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro, Naoussa

( £10.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society, Theatre of Wine )

This is only the young vines version, but it gives you an idea of how classy Xinomavro can be as a grape. It’s part Nebbiolo, part Pinot Noir, part Nerello Mascalese, but also has a savoury note that is all its own. Scented red fruits, mid weight tannins, a whisper of oak and pine resin. Not many countries can deliver quality like this at just over a tenner.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
94

2009 Assyrtiko de Mylos, Santorini

( £25, 14.5%, Theatre of Wine )

There can’t be many more complex Greek whites than this old vine Assyrtiko from the volcanic island of Santorini. Rich and textured, wtih aged flavours of toast and honey underpinned by steely acidity. There’s a lovely undertone of Mediterreanean herbs here, a hint of sweetness and a long, minerally finish. Very complex stuff. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko