Brave new world
Of all the women in wine Irini Daskalaki continues to cut a towering figure. She has for over 20 years been ever present guiding superb vineyards and their boutique winery at Paliani in the foothills of Mt.Psiloritis(2,456m). She is now joined by her sensitive and thoughtful son Yannis, they do make a formidable partnership as their synergies in the reviewed wine prove.
Some of you may cringe that so called natural wines are popping up and down the country. Most are off my scale as they are at best an exercise in curiosity. A Roditis which tastes of cheese rind and cider vinegar is not something I enjoy, though it is my credo to stay open minded and taste all forms and shapes. Yet this worldwide trend now is producing some startling wines. Italy’s La Stoppa is nothing short of sensational and above all deeply satisfying. There is a different approach which is not the easy route using a broad selection of god forsaken grapes most of us would not really be aware of other then while scouring ampelography reference books or vine nursery catalogues. Closer to home, the efforts of Anatolikos Vineyards in Thrace amber wines have sent wake up shockwaves through this historic vineyard. There is no argument that a hand full can be good attaining heights which are enjoyable to the last drop while the overwhelming majority are work in progress.
On my recent visit to the invigorated cellar of Daskalakis amongst some impressive in the raw tank samples of Vidiano, Plyto and that fragrant jewel from Crete, Muscat of Spina sat rows of jars from a potter in Thrapsano which is the epicenter of large jar making in central Crete. Yannis Daskalakis has researched porosity, baking and other terracota details working close with his potter. Does Kotsifali mean anything to you? First all of how the name came about. Observant farmers noticed that the intelligent Kotsifi(crow) favourite was the sweet early maturing grape. In a very different landscape in the 11AD the same was noticed by Bordeaux farmers in the Gironde where a grape was the favourite of the Merlin(Kotsifi). No prize’s where Merlot got it’s name. This does not mean that they are the same grape or even closely related. Yet observant farmers in a very diverse places realized that it was in their respective region a useful blending softening component existed. What Kotsifali does invariably have is a spicy exotic florality making it the ideal candidate for a jar made rosé. Forget the electric neon light purple tinged pink wines made to add some fun to our table. This Grifos is serious articulate wine. Actually in the Grifos series a substiantial Vidiano, the reviewed Kotsifali and a raisin like dry viscous Liatiko are impressive in their own right. Nature chose which of three to first write up as it was the more open and expressive. Would you have ever thought that these with no added sulphur, jar fermented, precise, natural wines would need bottle ageing? If kept in the right storage conditions they will go on to suprise us. It is a brave new world and we are going to see more beauty etched in it.
Organic wine fermented in a 300 lt jar. Indigenous yeast. Bottled unfiltered, no added sulfites. Nomacork 100% recycable cork. In the glass colour is a merging of pink and amber. A mist of fine sediment. Complex botanic fragrance with spice and grapey notes. Vinous. Full bodied with tension and freshness through out its compelling viscous structure. Fruit flavoured yet savoury umami on the finish. The brilliant tannic grip points to more of a food wine than sipping. Very grown up, wholesome. Nothing quirky in this effort. The advent of ‘natural wines’ has helped unlock the unrealized Kotsifali potential. 2019-2023.