During ProWein 2014, quite a big amount of #winelover community members gathered at the Tsantali stand for a unique tasting of 20 years of RAPSANI wine.
Luiz Alberto did his very best to get a big and representative bunch of ‘his’ #winelover community members, but more people came at the last moment than was expected.
No problem for Tsantali area marketing and export manager Christos Bitzios, there was enough wine for all of us. The room on the stand was not exactly calculated for the big affluence, but it didn’t affect our pleasure.
The whole tasting was guided and commented by our friend, colleague and fellow #winelover Ted Lelekas, Greek wine & food expert and … lover!
My visit to the Greek area during ProWein 2014 was really educative, pleasant and fascinating. After the great tasting at the stand of Artemis Karamolegos (Santorini), my friend, fellow #winelover and specialist of Greek wines & food, Ted Lelekas, whispered gently in my ear: “Would you like to taste one of the very best Retsina wines I ever tasted?” Well, of course I couldn’t refuse, surely because if was at the other side of the path. From Santorini to … Thessaloniki.
To be fully honest, among the more than hundred times I did have to taste retsina, there were maybe 2 or 3 moments where I really did enjoy it! What is retsina? Retsina is a typical anachronistic Greek speciality, wine flavoured with Aleppo pine resin. There are more stories about the origin of this emblematic wine. According to some people, the old Greek seemed to consider it as a necessary evil to seal the wine amphorae with a pine-resin-impregnated cloth to avoid the deteriorating influence of oxygen on the wine during transport and storage. That practice worked safely but also strongly flavoured the wine with resin smell and taste. When the Romans started to replace amphorae with barrels, there was no oenological need any more for the use of resin. However, says the story, the consumers were used to the flavour and the style had to be continued. Another story says that the Greek were so upset about the Roman conquest of Greece and their huge and wild thirst for wine, that they actually added extra resin to their wine to disgust the ‘barbarians’ from Rome and save the Greek wine store… True or not, I have no clue. Fact is that the strong harsh resin smell and taste was not really popular among the Western visitors for centuries. The modern retsina is produced by adding little pieces of Aleppo pine resin to the must during fermentation. The taste is not as strong as it has been in the past, but still many Retsina wines are not likely to please the palate of unaware Western consumers. Retsina is protected by a specific appellation regarding the traditional character of it. I still remember the awful smell and taste of some retsina wines I tasted some 30 years ago, especially the at that time omnipresent Kourtakis wines… It was said to be a good disinfectant for some ‘questionable Greek ‘taverna’ and their not always safe food… A few glasses of Ouzo and retsina could avoid an accelerated peristaltic movement in your belly and a 24 hours travellers’ disease free run to the toilet bowl. There surely was a part of truth in this…
However, there were also some ‘good’ retsina wines. What is good retsina? Well, it starts with a good basic wine! There is no secret about it. The better the wine and the lower the resin smell and taste, the better the result. Balance is the key; a good wine with a ‘touch’ of resin has its charm, especially combined with typical Greek food.
It was great to visit the Greek area during ProWein 2014. Unfortunately, I had not enough time to taste all I wanted to (especially Gaia and Ktima Biblia Chora were too busy – which is a very good sign – when I tried to taste their fabulous wines). However, what I did taste before and after the big #winelover #rapsanilover vertical tasting at the Tsantali stand, was all incredibly fascinating. I was selling Greek wines in 1984-85, the quality was not bad, some wines were already very good, but what has been achieved in the past decade is absolutely incredible! The all-round quality has been explosively increasing, especially regarding the freshness and purity of the wines, but also the genuineness of terroir-driven wines revisited with modern technology. I was a big fan of Greek wines, now I am definitely a fully convinced #Greekwinelover…
I have always been in love with assyrtiko wines from Santorini. Of course every real #winelover will now about Sigalas wines, a very well-known wine producer on Santorini Island. Once, very spectacular, but the last wines I tasted in the past years gave me the impression that the quality of the wines was getting inversely proportional with the increasing media coverage. I was delighted to taste wines from a – for me – unknown smaller winery: ARTEMIS KARAMOLEGOS. Together with my highly appreciated fellow #winelover Ted Lelekas (may be the very best ambassador ever of the Greek wines & gastronomy) I had the opportunity and pleasure to taste 9 wines, presented and commented by Export Manager Dimitris Kekas.
Picture courtesy of Harmonia By Foodrinco
Düsseldorf was during 4 days (including Saturday Off tastings!) the international wine and spirits capital of the world. The ProWein wine & spirits fair from 23 to 25 March counted 4,830 exhibitors from 47 countries and more than 48,000 international visitors from international wholesale, retail and specialist retail, experts from the CHR/Horeca and press.
The event attracted more visitors from both Germany and abroad: 48,000 visitors, 7% more than 2013 (45,168). One third of the visitors was for the first time at ProWein. Not only the number of European visitors increased; there were also twice as much visitors from China and Hong Kong as in 2013. Visitors and exhibitors were very satisfied about this fantastic international trade event. All are looking forward to the next editions of ProWein, to be held in Düsseldorf from 15 to 17 March 2015 and 13 to 15 March 2016.
Just before the fantastic CHILEAN WINES ON TOUR tasting in the Netherlands, I received 12 bottles of wines from Chile, allowing me to (re)discover the wines of one of my favourite wineries there, VIÑA MAQUIS and their sister winery CALCU. Tasting such high quality wines is always a pleasure. The charming Marcela Molina, commercial manager of the company was pleased to send me those samples. Some of them were already tasted during ProWein 2013 (see here) but it is good to have a second opinion of a wine, this time in quite moments, at home.
A BIT OF MAGIC: CALCU WINES
Why ‘magic’, not only because the wines are very well made, but also because of the name ‘CALCU’, meaning… MAGICIAN in Mapudungun (Mapuche language).