The person who first got me interested in wine, back during my university days, was a certain Peter Wood. With his natural affability and extensive knowledge, he runs the St Andrews Wine Company. I always admired his way with words and now, laid up here in my sick bed, I have his voice in my head. You see, he once compared the frustration of not being able to taste wine whilst ill to being a prostitute wearing a chastity belt.
“I feel like a prostitute with a chastity belt on. Granted, a prostitute still may be able to do many elements of her chosen profession, whilst wearing such a garment, but ultimately if the lady of the night is unable to have sex, it defeats the purpose of hiring her! And when you are a wine retailer, or a blogger, and you have a cold, it is as if your talent is being restrained by a phlegm coated chastity belt. You can’t unleash the two senses that you need the most to try wines, and because of this all the other elements of my job are just pointless. Sure, I can waffle on about the colour of the wine, the legs and how clear it is, but bottom line, if you can’t sample the goods, opening the bottle is pointless.”
For over a week now, my sinuses have been on strike. Guillaume, my favourite cheesemonger at Androuet, put a really pungent Corsican washed-rind cheese in front of me yesterday, and I couldn’t smell a thing. The problem is that I really want to drink some wine. Not in the “she needs help” sense but because I derive a immense pleasure from tasting. I love having to work my senses.
I was passing by Greek specialists Mavrommatis the other day and popped in, hopeful that I might find something amidst their selection. I wanted an intensely aromatic grape variety that I might be able to appreciate despite .. the obvious!
Malagousia is an interesting grape variety and one that would be a worthy potential successor for Pinot Grigio.
As the story goes, the variety was on the point of extinction until the 1970s when Dr. Vassilis Logothetis and Evangelos Gerovassiliou, at the time working for the Porto Carras winery, realised its potential and set in place an extensive replanting programme. It is particularly found in the Macedonia region, especially around Thessaloniki (conveniently enough where the Porto Carras and Ktima Gerovassiliou are situated.)
Gerovassilou is a Bordeaux-trained œnologue and this comes across in his rather classic style of wine. I like that he’s been able to apply those techniques to local varieties. His winery comprises 33ha and is surrounded by the sea on three sides.
So here comes this (rather brief) tasting note — underwritten by not-so-delicate hints of Tesco Finest’s eucalyptus vapour rub — of Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagousia Single Vineyard 2013, 13.5%
Visually, it’s clear, crisp, and green-tinted gold colour.
On the nose, there’s fruit, flowers and spice. At first, I’m hit by peach and canteloupe melon. It’s floral too. Bright carnations. On a lower level, there’s vanilla musk, freshly cut red bell pepper juice and some peppery basil plant aromatics coming through.*
Later, I get a full frontal of canned peaches in syrup. The mouth is short and fatty. The acidity comes later. There may have been a hint of salinity but it also might just have been phelgm… 😉
It’s a very pleasant wine. I feel there was skin-contact and probably some oak barrel ageing. Floral, fragrant and a certain crowd-pleaser.
* I know it’s cheating… but I kept aside a third of the bottle for when my sinuses had cleared!
Further reading: Malagousia on the Fringe Wine Blog.