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October 24, 2014 Wine Pick of the Week

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Ambelones Dry White Wine Greece Picmonkey

2005 Ambelones,

Dry White Wine of Koropi


Domaine Vassiliou

Koropi, Greece

Alcohol: 12%

Suggested Retail: 8 Euros (about $10)


“This week's selection is a wine the publisher enjoyed when attending Kerasma, an international food, wine and spirits conference in Greece in 2006. Unfortunately, no tasting notes from the visit to the winery could be found. His recollection is that the five or six wines tasted that day were all pretty good and modestly-priced. The winery's website indicates the current release of this wine, the 2013 vintage, is made from Savatiano (80%) and Roditis (20%), grapes unknown in the United States. The winery describes it as showing, 'Summerfruit on the nose, nectarines and apricot. Rich concentration of fruit on the palate. Pineapple throughout to intense lemon on the finish.' This description sounds about like what he remembers of this wine, but after all these years, how could he be sure?

“He returned to California with a bottle of the 2005 Ambelones, probably planning to pour it at some Greek dinner he hoped to have. Such a meal never came off and it wasn't until this week that he remembered this wine. So he took the bottle to a gathering of pals who were going to be doing some heavy snacking while watching game three of the World Series. Most cast a very dubious eye at this unfamiliar and quite old white wine. Besides, Bob (the host) had opened several nice bottles of red. The cork crumbled when the corkscrew went into the Ambelones—not a promising beginning. A glass was poured. The color was more-or-less a golden shade—surely darker than when the wine was young, but at least it wasn't brown. No off odors were detected, but there wasn't much aroma at all. Time can rob a wine of its youth in various ways. Certainly this wine had changed, but it didn't really seem oxidized or spoiled in any way. What aroma and flavor remained did seem to have some of that nectarine character. There seemed a little Riesling-like minerality, too. The 2005 Ambelones might not have been the best wine tasted this week, but it was the most interesting experience. George Vassiliou's wines are not distributed in the U.S. so revisiting that taste of a current release anytime soon is unlikely. The publisher's friend Phil was asked to read the notes from the back label. Though of Greek ancestry, this apparently was beyond his powers. He did taste the Ambelones, though, and said it really wasn't too bad. In fact, he was seen pouring himself a second glass later in the evening.”

Food Affinity: “The winery recommends pairing with fresh salmon or sea urchin.”

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