Moschopolis 18 Mavrotragano Syrah 2016
An exciting find
Greek wine has pushed the quality posts and keeps reinventing itself. Yet on my beat there was an era when consultants were frowned upon. Stefanos Koundouras, Vasilis Marinos and Gregory Vrettos who cut his teeth in New Zealand are some of the many stellar names who’s know-how and ethos won the day. One of the early stalwarts include Georgios Germanis. In addition to his successful consultancy, he established with his family the Moschopolis vineyards and winery.
I knew of the achievements of the Greek merchant classes of Trieste, Alexandria Egypt, and the Black Sea during Tsarist Russia. Moschopolis though not as grand, was new to me, today it lies in southeastern Albania. Greek was the lingua franca and even boasted a printer in 1742. Historians dubbed it as the new Athens. It is from here that Georgios Germanis ancestors fled to Greek Macedonia. They are not new to viticulture as Grandfather Tondi Germanis(1913-2004) who was a Montpellier trained agronomist managed to catalog over a six-year period over 42 grape varieties in what was then known as Northern Epirus. Also new to me is the location of this new venture. 27 Klms northwest of Thessaloniki at Monopigado lies their vineyards with a spectacular view of usually snow-covered Mt.Olympos. In the cellar they are giving it a go with several approaches using amphora and low sulfur doses at bottling. It was the Mavrotragano Syrah blend that caught my attention as the vines age(18) and low yields potentially could illuminate a clue from this relative unknown region. The wordy label covers 5 subjects and bucks the trend of the in fashion minimalist approach. Even resveratrol rides again with it’s good for the ticker properties, I actually have not seen it on a label before though it has been written up extensively. Not a fan of the feral like qualities of Mavrotragano especially the angular expression of Santorini. Yet there are indications from other near by islands like Tinos or on the mainland like Drama, and now this blend from central Macedonia, that things are looking up. The choice of the French knight coming to the rescue in adding a softer juicy side is inspired. My shortlist of ‘new’ blends to be reviewed in these pages is more than encouraging – as beyond the element of suprise there are some genuine contenders such as this exciting find.
Dry farmed at 500m altitude red soil with high stone content. 18 months in 2-3 year use casks. 4,800 unfiltered 750ml bottles. Diam 10 cork. Dark. Rich and aromatic with forward pyritic nose. Opening up to whiffs of leather. Exotic nuanced delicate spice on the savoury palate. Compact and integrated. Seamless oak. Black cherries and plum on the harmonious finish. Not reductive as both grapes can be. No signs that it check in at 15% ABV. Suprising elegance. A distinctive wine with intense fruit concentration and polished tannin. Approachable with enough of everything in balance to age gracefully. 2019-2027