About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Petite Sirah: Big Taste From A Little Grape!

Newcomers to the exploration of wine often make the mistake of assuming that Petite Sirah is similar to Syrah. While this little grape is a descendant of that renowned French grape, it is not a Syrah and is very different in taste and style.

A Frenchman, Dr. Francis Durif, first developed this grape by crossing two Rhone Valley natives, Peloursin and Syrah in an attempt to overcome some of the susceptibilities of the Syrah grape. It was (and, in many cases, still is) called Durif after its creator. Petite Sirah (Durif) is a very hearty leafy vine that produces clusters of small grapes (hence the Petite moniker). It is very mildew resistant but subject to gray rot. It notably survived the phylloxera pandemic of the late 1800’s.

It’s small fruit results in a very high skin to flesh ratio. As a result, any lengthy maceration produces a large amount of tannins and fairly high acidity in the wine. Wines produced from this grape are typically dark and inky and have lengthy aging capabilities. The grape, however, never came to favor in its native Rhone Valley, home of smooth, palpable reds based largely on Syrah and Grenache. In fact, Durif or Petite Sirah is virtually extinct today in France and is prohibited, by law, from being utilized in wine production.

That’s not the case in the U.S. and today more than two-thirds of the Petite Sirah produced worldwide comes from California. The grape there has had a lengthy history. It was one of the mainstays for producing sacramental wine, the only commercially produced wine allowed during Prohibition. It, along with Alicante Bouchet, was also utilized by home-brewers and bootleggers.
It was one of the favorite varietals for producing California raisins and, indeed, the hint of raisins, is one of the notes most sippers will identify in the California wines of this varietal. In 1960, Petite Sirah accounted for about 60% of the grapes grown in the Napa Valley. Its production peaked in 1976 and then fell to about 10% of its former levels by 1996. It has, however, had an increase in acreage planted in California every year since.

Petite Sirah’s ability to add color and depth make it useful as a blending grape and it can even sometimes be found in very small amounts as an additive to some California Pinot Noirs. Concannon and Fappianno were among the first California vintners to commercially produce Petite Sirah as a single varietal but today have been joined by scores of other winemakers. Most notable among these, and good sources of Petite Sirah wines for your exploration are Rosenblum and Bogle. The Bogle Petite Sirah has twice earned a “Best Buy” designation from Wine Spectator magazine. All of the above producers were among the developers of a wine advocacy trade group called “P.S. I Love You” and their website is a good source of information despite the fact that it has not been well maintained in the past couple of years.

There are also other good sources for Petite Sirah. Australia has now moved into second place worldwide in Petite Sirah and is utilizing the grape in some of its excellent ports. Australia narrowly surpasses Mexico, the world’s third largest producer. The overwhelming majority of Mexico’s Petite Sirah comes from a single source: L.A. Cetto (L.A. Cetto is also the world’s largest producer of Nebbiolo outside of Italy!). The Wine Guy would encourage you to sample their offering if you can find it.

Look for dark color, deep fruity tastes that include Blueberry, blackberry and plum and just a hint of peppery spice in the typical Petite Sirah. They are usually big, bold, jammy reds with a lot to offer and they pair particularly well with grilled game. One note of caution from The Wine Guy: Petite Sirahs are known for their ability to stain tooth enamel a colorful purple. Be prepared to brush after imbibing! Enjoy your exploration!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

Forgive The Wine Guy for skipping Roger’s Grapevine last week but I took some time to celebrate another milestone (my birthday) with a visit to my son. As I’ve mentioned before, he resides in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta. In what has become almost a ritual, our arrival there was followed with an excursion to two Castleberry Hill mainstays: The Wine Shoe and the Elliot Street Pub & Deli (see blog” The Wine Shoe…because it fits” from 8/26/09).

After exchanging greetings with Wine Shoe proprietor Shannon Wiley and the ever-present Baron, I selected a Domino de Taras Baltos Mencia to enjoy later in the evening. Since first having a Bierzo on the recommendation of Brent Karlich from Postino’s in Phoenix, Az. (see Bierzo, A Great Little Wine from Spain 12/30/09), The Wine Guy has become a great fan of this northwestern Spanish D.O. This dark ruby red beauty lived up to my expectations and it made a wonderful wine to celebrate completion of another year. It was only after my return that I discovered the Baltos has regularly earned very favorable ratings scoring 90 pts in consecutive vintages from Wine Spectator, International Wine Cellar and Wine Advocate and also landing a spot on the WS annual top 100 list. Nora & Shannon Wiley’s knack for always having great selections to choose from is one of the reasons I always try to visit The Wine Shoe when I’m in Atlanta.

The subsequent visit to Elliott street resulted in another of my favorite things: satisfying a growing hunger by pairing a well brewed La Fin du Monde (yes, The Wine Guy also enjoys an occasional good beer!) with the wondrous roasted turkey and bleu cheese sandwich the guys at Elliot Street call “The Dirty Bird”. Good food, good wine, good times with family and getting to wear green (yes, The Wine Guy was born on St. Patrick’s Day!)…it was a good birthday, indeed.
One of my presents was a subsequent excursion hosted by my son to visit wineries in Lumpkin County, North Georgia on Saturday. (see photo of The Wine Guy birthday celebrants at one of the vineyards).

Georgia has an interesting wine history. It’s founder, James Oglethorpe, wanted to build the economy of his colony on the production of fine silk and fine wines. Toward that end, he initiated the planting of many Mulberry trees as well as European wine grapes. Alas, silkworms did not take either to the variety of the selected trees nor the Georgia climate. The imported vines did not fair well either, succumbing to plant disease and insect pests. Georgia’s agricultural mainstays had to be shifted to rice and indigo. They later became cotton, fruit and peanuts. Wine production also managed to redevelop later, but was based largely on the native muscadine grape. In the 1800’s new agriculture techniques, including the utilization of grafting, cloning and hybrids overcame the difficulties Oglethorpe had in growing European varietals in Georgia. In 1890 a large number of Hungarian refugees established multiple vineyards near Bremen and by 1900, Georgia ranked 6th in U.S. wine production. The highly restrictive Georgia Prohibition Act of 1907, however, virtually wiped out all wine production in the state for more than half a century.

The modern Georgia wine industry restarted itself in the 1970’s and 80’s. However, it was almost entirely based on fruit wines and the muscadine grape. Other varietals only gained some commercial inroads after the establishment of the Chateau Elan Resort and Winery in Hazelton in the 1980’s. Today, Georgia remains number one in the production of muscadine wines but there are now over 5-dozen vineyards and wineries producing a broader variety of wines. The Three Sisters Vineyards became Lumpkin County’s first in 1996 and since then a plethora of vineyards and wineries have continued to open in the region. The north Georgia mountain area is becoming renown for wine tourism and will be a wine producing area to watch in the coming decade.

Our Saturday excursion occurred during a Wine Tour weekend event and I heartily recommend taking advantage of the multiple winery tour passes available if you elect to visit the area during such events. They typically offer select tastings of 2-3 wines plus food at multiple wineries and are a great way to get an overall view of what the region has to offer. As we have visited the area before and were only stopping at two select wineries, we opted to do the standard wine tasting. This offered the opportunity to approach the wines I wanted to sample that weren’t on the tour selections. Here’s a recap of The Wine Guy’s favorites from our visit:

Frogtown Cellars:
This family-run winery has a great venue and is located directly adjacent to aforementioned Three Sisters Vineyards. Local native Nettie assisted us in a tasting that covered most of Frogtown’s whites and reds. The whites were fair but tended to be slightly off balance showing a tendency to be either acidic or hot. Their first impressive effort came with a saignee style rose’ blend.

Frogtown Vineaux Rose’:
This is a light, dry, crisp rose’ blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese that has nice well-balanced fruit overtones.

Frogtown Touché:
This is one of this winery's best reds. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Tannat. It has aromatic notes of both red and black fruit with some spicy hints and just a light note of moist tobacco on the nose. There is a nice lingering finish you won’t find in a lot of the fruitier Georgia wines.

Frogtown Shotgun – First Reload:
I’m not sure (wished I had asked) but suspect the First Reload designation comes from the fact that Cabernet Franc and Touriga Nacional of one vintage are blended into a Tannat of a different vintage. In any case, it produces a soft, yet full-flavored wine that expresses great aromas and good dark fruit flavors.

Blackstock Vineyards Winery: (see photo with Justin, Blackstock’s tasting steward)
Just down the road from Frogtown is a winery that is one of The Wine Guy’s favorites in Georgia. (see earlier blog: “A Winery Treat in North Georgia” 7/109) Due to the wine tour activities in another part of the building I didn’t get to visit with winemaker David Harris but enjoyed the service offered by Justin who first got “bit” by the wine bug working in tasting rooms in Florida. Among the best tastes of the day were:

Blackstock Viognier:
Viognier is not uncommon in North Georgia but this is the first I found worthy of remembrance. A bright golden yellow appearance is followed by light floral hints, then good stone fruit and a solid finish.

Blackstone Rocking Chair Rose’:
This is a nice and solid rose’ of Mourvedre. It seems that many rose’s fair well in this region.

Blackstock /Sangiovese Rose’:
Both Frogtown and Blackstock make a Sangiovese and A Sangiovese Rose’. As a long time lover of Italian wines, I just can’t get excited about the type of Sangiovese I find in Georgia but am thusly surprised at the light flavorful goodness of the Sangiovese Rose’s there. Something about the terrior (could it be the Georgia clay??) that seems to make the regular Sangiovese musty on the palate is somehow complimentary to the rose.

Blackstock ACE Family Reserve:
Named for the first initials of the three Harris children, this full-flavored, age-able red wine remains one of Blackstock’s flagship brands.

Blackstock Touriga Dulce:

Touriga Nacional is the Touriga varietal here and if I’m not mistaken David was the first to grow it in Georgia. He does the sweeter version but Frogtown also utilizes the grape in their drier Shotgun blend. It seems to do well in this region.

Georgia wineries wrote the book on fruity Muscadine wines and most of their other varietals tend to follow a more fruit forward style but a good deal of diversity is being shown (and appreciated) in other wines. I like that the growers and winemakers here are turning to such varietals as Touriga and Tannat in order to find grapes that offer a signature taste and style to dry Georgia wines. I hope you have a chance to enjoy them and the opportunity to visit what surely is to become a developing wine region.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Try a Wine Trivia Quiz!

Though retired, The Wine Guy works part-time at wine retailing. It’s fun and keeps me in contact with a lot of elements of the wine-trade, most importantly, the consuming public. I regularly run into customers asking for help in hosting wine parties, tasting events and wine-club gatherings.

One of the most fun-filled activities at such gatherings is conducting a wine trivia quiz. Simply divide your guests into teams, hand out some preprinted quiz sheets and offer a prize (a bottle of wine to share) to the team with the most points. Your quiz should offer both puzzlers and easy to answer questions. It should also stimulate conversation and discussion about wine. Feel free to make up your own, or simply use The Wine Guy’s sample trivia quiz I’ve included as part of today’s blog..

Try taking the test yourself before looking at the answers below….I hope you have fun with it!

1. Which still red wine doesn’t like to be blended with others?
A. Malbec B. Sangiovese C. Pinot Noir D. Tempranillo

2. What wine producing country also is the largest producer of the olive oil?
A. Greece B. France C. Spain D. Italy

3. Which American President built a wine cellar under the White House and bought more than 20,000 bottles of European wine?
A. John Kennedy B. John Quincy Adams C. Thomas Jefferson D. Ronald Reagan

4. The vintage date on a bottle of wine refers to the year:
A. the wine was bottled. B. the grapes were harvested. C. the wine was released.
D. when the wine can be first consumed.

5. Zinfandel came into prominence in California and is often called California’s grape but it originated in Croatia. What European grape varietal is almost genetically identical to Zinfandel?
A. Tempranillo B. Trebbiano C. Primativo D.Negromaro

6. A Standard bottle of wine is 750ml, but wine comes in many sizes of bottles. Which is a correct name for a different size bottle of wine?
A. Magnum B. Jeroboam C. Piccolo D. All of these

7. Who sang and popularized the song “That Little Old Winemaker, Me”?
A. Tom T. Hall B. Dean Martin C. Roger Miller D. Robert Mondavi

8. Which President had wine at the White House poured from napkin-draped bottles in order to hide the fact that he preferred French to American made wines?
A. Lyndon Johnson B. Richard Nixon C. Bill Clinton D. George W. Bush

9. The oldest winery in North America still producing wine today is located:
A. in Florida B. in Mexico C. in Texas D. in Canada

10. Pinotage from South Africa is made from a hybrid grape that resulted from crossing Pinot Noir with:
A. Syrah B. Meritage C. Cinsault D. Grenache

11. Which of the following is NOT a popular wine grape in South America?
A. Torrontes B. Podkum C. Bonarda D. Carmenere

12. What is the most common blending grape utilized for Syrah based wines from the Northern Rhone Valley in France?
A. Grenache B. Viognier C. Mourvedre D. Malbec

13. A “punt” refers to:
A. the headstock from an oak wine barrel. B. the straw basket covering some flasks of Chianti.
C. the indentation in the bottom of some wine bottles D. a kick when you’re fourth and long in football.

14. “Soave” is which of the following:
A. an Italian red wine B. an Italian white wine C. an Italian sparkling wine
D. an Italian wine toasting expression

15. Which grape is considered to be the mostly widely grown grape in the world?
A. Chardonnay B. Merlot C. Grenache D. Cabernet Sauvignon

Always have at least one tiebreaker question that counts only if teams are tied after the quiz is scored. Here’s a great, fun tiebreaker:

Which French appellation has a law that forbids the landing of flying saucers in the region’s vineyards?
A. Bordeaux B. Cotes du Rhone C. Burgundy D. Chateauneuf du Pape

Now for the answers:

1. The answer is C. Pinot Noir. This grape has a lot of expressions in still red wine but doesn’t play (sic blend) well with other red grapes. There is a notable exception….Give extra credit to any team that points out that when peeled to make a white wine, Pinot Noir is often blended with others in making sparkling wines.

2. The answer is D. Spain    They do well at both!  (author's note:  I got called on this one after the quiz had been up almost two years!!! I originally had Greece which at one time actually grew the most olives but even that was incorrect at the time of posting because I was referencing info that was over a decade old at the time...poor research and my bad!)

3. The answer is C. Thomas Jefferson. He grew grapes and made wine on his Virginia estate but he loved the French wines, a hangover (no pun intended) from his days as Ambassador to France from the Continental Congress.

4. The answer is B. when the grapes were harvested. A non-vintage wine will include grapes from multiple harvests. That occurs frequently in ports and sparkling wines but some others, as well.

5. The answer is C. Primativo. It is a virtual genetic twin and has many of the same characteristics. However the terroir and wine making in Italy results in a somewhat different but thoroughly enjoyable wine.

6. The answer is D. All of these. Magnums are 1.5 ltr, Jeroboams range 3 to 4.5 ltr and Piccolo is used in Italy to describe 187.5 ml bottles.

7. The answer is B. Dean Martin. Mrs. Wine Guy has the song on one of her Dean Martin albums.

8. The answer is B. Richard Nixon. Lyndon Johnson was the first President to have only American made wines served at the White House. Nixon didn’t want to publicly overthrow the practice but he loved French wines. He didn’t get the nickname “Tricky Dick” Nixon for nothing, did he?

9. The answer is B. Mexico. The winery is called Casa Madero and production there dates to the late 1590’s. They make a very respectable Merlot and a Merlot-Nebbiolo blend that The Wine Guy enjoys.

10. The answer is C. Cinsault. This grape was called Hermitage in South Africa thus the name Pinotage to the newly created varietal.

11. The answer is B. Podkum. Podkum is a grape varietal developed to grow in the tropical lowlands of Thailand, a country that has a rising wine industry and is one of the leaders in “New Latitude” wines.

12. The answer is B. Viognier. Grenache and Mourvedre are commonly blended in Syrah but mostly in wines from the Southern Rhone Valley (it’s o.k. to throw one or two trick questions). Viognier is one of the few white grapes that behaves well when blended with reds and even the Australians are utilizing it as a blending finisher in their Shirazes.

13. The answer is C. the indentation in the bottom of some bottles of wine. (Also found in the bottom of many decanters) It is thought by some to be a tradition holdover from the days of glass blown bottles and by others to be utilized in trapping sediment. Sommeliers and waiters love it as a great place to put their thumb for one-handed pouring and twisting of a bottle of wine.

14. The answer is B. an Italian white wine. This wine hails from the Veneto region of Italy and Gargangea is the informing grape. It’s dry, crisp, and meant to be drunk very young. It has sometimes been almost lacking in flavor but recent expressions with care to some good blending and moderate use of oak have produced some excellent value priced wines.

15. The answer is C. Grenache. Cabernet Sauvignon is the world’s most consumed varietal but Grenache is grown in more places and appears in the greatest number of wines. It finds its way into a lot of wines as a blending and finishing grape. It finds its best expression as a dominant or single grape in many of the wines from Spain.

Extra Credit Question:
The answer is D. Chateauneuf du Pape. The law was passed in 1954 during the beginning of the UFO craze. To the best of my knowledge, there’s never been an arrest made.

Hope you had fun with the quiz. If you use it at an event at your house, drop a line to rogerthewineguy@gmail.com and let me know how your guests enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Greek Wines - Worthy of A Celebration!

March is here again and it’s always one of The Wine Guy’s favorite months. March marks the beginning of spring, absolutely the best time of the year, especially in the desert southwest. It also marks a couple of important historical events that are significant wine sipping occasions for Mrs. Wine Guy and myself. The first is my birthday and the second is Greek Independence Day (they’re about a week apart).

Enjoying wine on one’s birthday is self-explanatory but the significance of Greek Independence Day as a wine-sipping event may require a little more explanation. It was on the Greek island of Santorini at a small cooperative winery (Santo Wines) near the villages of Megalochori and Pyrgos that The Wine Guy had a simple, unpretentious regional white wine that became one of my most memorable wine tasting events.

The wine was Santo Meltemi (now called Ageri…. see wine label above), a blend of locally grown Assrytiko, Athiri and Aidani. It was a crisp, fresh and aromatic semi-dry white wine that was soft and gentle on the palate with some subtle bursts of robust flavor that provided a great accent to the fruit, cheese and nut plate I shared at the time with Mrs. Wine Guy. It was that simple, yet delightful wine that really became the seed for what later developed into my wondrous exploration into the many facets of enjoying wine. It taught me to always appreciate whatever the particular wine in hand has to offer. That experience led me down the road to learn more, seek certification, to change work into wine related fields and led ultimately to this blog and all I enjoyed about wine today. In short, it was a seminal moment and Greek Independence Day each March becomes a time each year to savor that beginning and reflect upon what the little nation of Greece has to offer in terms of wine exploration.

Greek Independence Day celebrates the raising of the banner of independence by the Bishop of Patras on the Feast of Annunciation in 1821 and the ultimate gaining of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1829. While modern Greece is a younger nation than ours (50+ years younger), theirs is an old civilization and in 2007, an archeologist uncovered evidence of wine production dating back almost 6500 years ago. Under the 400 year Ottoman domination, that wine tradition virtually disappeared and its return was marked by cheap wines highly prone to oxidation (with the exception of Greek Retsina). The Greeks have over 300 varieties of indigenous grapes largely unfamiliar to the rest of the wine world and that has also contributed to its lack of discovery and appreciation worldwide. That is slowly changing.

High taxes keep per capita wine consumption in Greece lower than most of Europe (about half that of France and Italy). Roughly 90% of today’s production is limited to regional table wines and exports rank in the single digits of total production. About 2/3rds of their exports are limited to Greek restaurants so even finding the number of good Greek wines that do exist can be a challenge for the consumer.

Here is some information that may help in your exploration:

The most utilized white grape varieties are:
Moschofilero: a gray-skinned white grape that produces wines with floral aromas and stone fruit tastes with spicy hints. It is the most popular white grape varietal. It is the dominant white varietal in the Peloponnese.
Assyrtiko: a white grape that is very terroir driven. It produces crisp, earthy, mineral-toned wines with a moderately high acid content. It is the dominant white varietal in the Cyclades Islands.
Aidani: this very old varietal is predominantly found in the Cyclades. It produces very aromatic juice with medium body, alcohol and acid content is mainly used as a blending and balancing grape.
Athiri: As it name implies, this grape originated in Santorini, although it is commonly found from Macedonia on the mainland to the island of Rhodes where it is a dominantly used varietal. It is thin-skinned and produces a sweet and fruity essence that is low in alcohol content making it suitable on its own or as a blending grape.
Savatiano: Found mostly on the mainland, particularly in the Attica region near Athens, this grape is drought-resistant and produces elegant, well-balanced wines with floral aromas and suggestions of citrus fruits. It is almost always the informing grape in Greek Retsina.

The most utilized red grape varietals are:

Xinamavro: This is the dominant red in Macedonia and produces wines with very rich tannins, complex aromas and flavors that often linger on a velvety finish. The wines produced with this as the informing grape have very good potential for ageing and development. Its name means acid black and it is sometimes referred to as the Greek Malbec because of its appearance. Its flavor profile, however, can be quite different.

Agiorghitiko: If Greece has a noble grape of its own, this is it. Named for St. George, this deep red grape shows aromatic complexity, very balanced acidity and tannins that are quite soft. Its wines are capable, as well, of extraordinary ageing capabilities.

Mauvrodaphne: Its name means, “black laurel” and this dark wonder is found principally in the Peloponnese and on Rhodes. It is utilized in some dry reds but rises to renown when blended with other grapes and utilized as a rich, aromatic dessert wine of the same name.

Here’s a list of some of the producers to look for as you explore Greek wines:

Boutari: This is the oldest family name today in Greek winemaking and their largest exporter. They have extended their vineyards and wineries throughout the country.

Skouras: This Peloponnese producer trained in winemaking in burgundy and it shows in his wines.

Sigalas: This Santorini producer began in 1994 and his white wines are some of the islands best. He is dedicated to organic grape production and also is renown for his dedication to historical restoration on the island. His vineyards and winery are near the peninsular village of Oia, which has great sunsets and wonderful seafood restaurants.

Alpha: two Greek partners in the late 90’s founded this Macedonian producer. They studied winemaking in Bordeaux and are growing some international grape varietals and blending them with the great varietals from Greece. Their Mavrodaphne/Montepulciano blend is truly unique!

Here is a short hit list of some specific recommendations:

Boutari Retsina: Try it once and decide! This wine is principally Savatino blended with Assrytiko and/or Rhoditis and then flavored with pine resin which imparts a sharply unique taste you may love or decide you’ll never want to have again. The tradition behind Retsina dates back to early Greece when wine was stored in earthenware vessels sealed with pine tar to prevent oxidation. The absorption of resin from the seal flavored the wine and also acted as a preservative allowing shipment (Greeks were probably the earliest world-wide exporters of wine). If you’re trying it for the first time, serve it well chilled to start.

Boutari Naoussa: This is today’s oldest continuous produced bottled wine in Greece, dating back to the late 1800’s. A nicely complex wine, it has great aromas and a good body may even yield hints of ripe olives and dried tomatoes. It is one of the world’s best wines to pair with lamb.

Alpha Estate: This is the Macedonian producer’s flagship red wine and is a combination of Syrah, Xinamavro and Merlot aged in American oak. A younger vintage may reveal some wood tannins so a little extra decanting may be order. If you love the depth and complexity of this wine, a few bottles for ageing in the cellar would be in order, as it will definitely improve with age.

Boutari Moschofilero: This is the number seller in Greece. Floral aromas, stone fruit with a semi-dry crispness makes this beauty a good light aperitif or a great wine with light fare such as salads, fruit and seafood.

Skouras Nemea: Soft tannins, an aromatic complexity and some bright fruit led one of my wine friends to dub Nemea as “Pinot Noir on steroids”. Not a very technical description but it may be appropriate. It’s a good wine, friendly with a wide range of food and has a nice finish.

Achaia Clauss Mavrodaphne: A Bavarian once scoured Greece to discover just the right spot to become a wine grower and winemaker. After falling in love with this grape and region he found it in, Achaia Clauss was born. It’s a deep rich, sweet beauty of a dessert wine. If you enjoy this wine also try St. John’s Commanderia which wasn’t on the list (it’s from Cyprus, which technically isn’t Greece) but the grapes are Greek in origin and its almost the twin of a dessert wine made on the island of Rhodes that’s much harder to find.

Finally, you probably won’t find this outside the European Union but if you do email The Wine Guy and let me know where (rogerthewineguy@gmail.com). It’s the wine mentioned in the opening story and I would welcome the opportunity to approach it again.

Santo Ageri: This wine comes from a grower's co-operative winery near the villages of Megacholori and Pyrgos. It is a blend of Santorini’s three principal white grapes: Assrytiko, Athiri and Aidani. It's a semi-dry white wine that’s crisp and refreshing with a unique undertone that comes from the island’s volcanic soil. The name Ageri refers to light breezes. Its name at the time I first tasted it was Meltemi, which refers to the seasonal winds that occur in the Cyclades. These can sometimes be quite gusty and have been known to disrupt both airline and ferry schedules to the island so the name change was probably very appropriate.

As always, I hope you found today's blog informative and hope you get the opportunity to enjoy some wine from Greece.