Greek wine has been slow to capture the attention of wine drinkers in the US, with its array of indigenous varieties, admittedly not always the easiest to pronounce, and often small quantities available. But that has been changing over the past few decades, as producers have built their own confidence in the quality of the red varieties native to their country and drinkers have been able to learn more about them.
Located in Spata, in east-central Greece, on the peninsula of Attica, the Aoton winery is now in its fourth generation of winemaking. The family winery historically served as the site of the community’s local press for grapes from the surrounding vineyards. The oenologist Sotiris Gkinishas been reviving the 10-hectare family vineyard, producing low-yielding, high-quality fruit. The climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild winters, and the vineyards are farmed organically.
This wine is made of 80% Mandilaria and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. One of Greece’s most important red varieties, Mandilaria makes incredibly dark-hued wines that tend to be high in tannin and acidity, but moderate in aromatics and alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon helps balance Mandilaria, adding a broader range of aromatics and body. The grapes are destemmed and macerated in stainless steel tanks, and fermentation is initiated by native yeasts. The wine is aged for ten months on its fine lees, with bâtonnage. The result here is a full-bodied, fruit-forward wine, with aromas of red and black fruits and Mediterranean herbs. Try it with hearty Greek fare such as fassolada or soutzoukakia, or with roasted or grilled meats.
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