Clark Foyster - Specialist Wine Importers - Greece

Our Wines

Greece

Estate Argyros , Santorini

The volcanic island of Santorini presents wine lovers with a fascinating environment to explore: rugged and spectacularly beautiful where dense, heavy black basalt and super-light, white porous pumice soils lie side by side. Arid and dramatically windy, the vines get their water from the morning dew that condenses inside the traditional basket shaped crown vines, designed to protect against the island's strong wind. The total absence of clay from the soil makes this a phylloxera-free island, and as a result many of the vines are 200, 300 years old. Really! All are ungrafted. Assyrtiko is the indigenous grape of Santorini with a marvellous ability to produce strong but vibrant, crisp, energetic and minerally wines. The Santorini Assyrtiko recently came away with the Regional Trophy and a Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2015; a well-deserved accolade.

Argyros Estate, founded in 1903 finally moved to a new purpose-built winery, just in time for the 2015 harvest. They had outgrown some years ago the old premises. They now enjoy temperature control, juice movement by gravity, new filtration equipment and more besides. The estate now owns 65 hectares of vineyards. Some of these are recently planted, but many are of an age rarely found anywhere else, and the grapes from these vineyards are used for the Estate wines. In addition purchased fruit is used to make up 50% of the Santorini Assyrtiko. The general principle is to make wines without new oak influence, though there is some oak evident on the Estate Oak Fermented wine. In addition, we have also been utterly seduced by the world-famous Vinsanto (one word please!). The Argyros versions are much be-medalled worldwide and ally the magnificent acidity of the Assyrtiko to the powerful sugar concentration of dried grapes. They spend 4, 12 or 20 years in barrel before bottling. During this time they concentrate and oxidise gently developing sensational layers of complexity.

White


Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
ARASS16B Santorini Assyrtiko 2016
129.50
ARASE16B Estate Argyros, Assyrtiko  2016
142.70
ARASE14M Estate Argyros, Assyrtiko  2014 magnum 305.50
ARAID15B Estate Argyros, Aidani 2015
124.70
ARASO14B Estate Argyros, Oak Fermented Assyrtiko  2014
134.60
Sweet



ARVIS10F Vinsanto, 4 Years Barrel aged 2009 50cl 196.00
ARVIS01F Vinsanto, 12 Years Barrel aged 2001 50cl 374.90
ARVIS92F Vinsanto, 20 Years Barrel aged 1992 50cl 440.10


Volcanic Slopes Vineyards, Santorini: 

In addition to the Estate Argyros wines, a new wine "Pure" was made first in 2013 and has recently been released . It's from a couple of parcels of contrasting soil types: pumice from Episcopi Gonia and basalt from Megalo Chori. Part was free run juice and part very gently pressed from whole bunches. The wine fermented in concrete and then spent 14 months on fine lees before bottling in July 2015. It's a complex, rich, but very nicely-balanced wine with probably a good potential to age.

White



Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
ARPUR13B Pure, Santorini Assyrtiko
2013
217.00


Estate Strofilia, Nemea

An attractive pair of Peloponnese wines from Strofilia (=wine press). Strofilia began life as a small wine producer in Attica in the mid-1980s and the company used the same name when it opened Athens' first wine bar. Today the company makes a range of wines from Northern Greece, Attica and the Peloponnese. Both wines below are produced in Asprokambos, at 800m above sea level in the Nemea region. This is the source of the red wine: 'Mountain Fish' which comes entirely from the Agiorgitiko variety (St George), one of Greece's two best known red varietals, and the style is a deep-coloured purple, with a supple, fruity, modern appeal. The wine has a relatively short maceration and is not oaked, making it a popular choice for many customers with its friendly tannins and fruity appeal. The white wine, named 'White Dot' follows another classic Peloponnese style, and uses the Moschofilero grape of Mantineia. It's cool-fermented to accentuate the aromatic quality of the Moschofilero (blended here with 20% Malagouzia) and bone dry, with a lively acidity. The two wines are attractively presented, with screw caps, and strike that sometimes elusive balance between being true to their region and terroir, but having a modern, attractive style and presentation.

White



Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
KSWDO17B White Dot
2017
80.60
Red




KSMFI16B Mountain Fish
2016
82.40


Domaine Zafeirakis, Tirnavos

Christos Zafeirakis' family have lived in Tirnavos, by the foothills of Mount Olympus in Central Greece. It's a dry region, but cooled by the breezes blowing down from the mountain. There is a high clay content to the soil mixed with flint and gravel.  Christos farms organically here 14 hectares of vineyards. He trained in Italy , in Piedmont and Tuscany, before returning to take over the family estate. He is best-known in Greece for his work resurrecting a wonderful grape variety; Limniona, and it is interest in this which first led us to visit him. It's a grape variety that produces quite gently textured reds. There's none of the bite and twang of Xinomavro, but rather a medium-bodied, herbal, almost pinot-esque quality.  We ought  to put it next to a St Laurent from Pittnaueer and see how it compares.  We will be hearing more about this variety in the future.

We also have a couple of his  Malagouzia whites from a grape variety which in 25 years has reached a high level of popularity in Greece having previously been almost forgotten. It's a dry but moderately aromatic white, a delicious, charming and versatile wine with or without food.

White


Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
ZIMAL17B Malagouzia 2017
95.10
ZIMAN16B Malagouzia Natura 2016
126.20

Rosé





ZILIP17B Limniona Rosé 2017
97.30

Red





ZILIM15B Limniona Red 2015
128.30


Oenops Wines, Drama

Nikos Karatzas is the face behind 'Oenops' (= 'wine face'). He studied in Bordeaux then became chief winemaker at Pavlidis winery, before setting up his own project  in 2015.  He is another member of the new generation, proud of Greece's terroirs and indigenous varieties. This is the  focus of his new project, and it costs him 50,000 km per year, touring the country and looking for interesting projects. So he is probably best described as a micro-négociant , working in partnership with growers who share his ideas.

He works from an old pie factory just outside Drama in Eastern Macedonia, which he has filled with concrete tanks, some stainless steel, some oak and some amphoras. Now his own boss, he is clearly adoring the freedom to experiment, and his eyes shine with excitement about what he believes he will be able to create in the future.  But already it's a great start. Like Zafeirakis, he's another lover of Limniona , and this year's bottlings have also brought us unsulphured  Xinomavro from Naoussa and a Vidiano from Crete, fermented part in steel, part in oak and part in amphora. As well as these small experimental projects, there is the Apla (=simple) range. White is a blend of Malagouzia, Assyrtiko and Roditis (with a tiny dollop of 100 year old Muscat from Samos!) and Apla red is a Xinomavro, Limniona, Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

White


Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
ENPLW17B Apla White 2017
108.20
ENVID16B Vidiano 2016
130.40
Red



ENPLR16B Apla Red 2016
113.90
ENLIM16B Limniona 2016
140.70


Naoussa

Naoussa and its vineyards lie in the Northern Greek province of Macedonia. Tiny amounts of white and rosé are produced, but it is essentially a red wine region, thanks to the presence of a magnificent - but challenging - grape variety: Xinomavro. Comparisons are made with Nebbiolo, but might equally be drawn with Baga or Blaufränkisch.  It's a high acid grape, and needs barrel-ageing and oxygen, but with age it develops savoury, spicy, dry stewed fruit character. There are other pretenders to the crown, but for most it rules as Greece's most noble red variety, and is best-known in its home vineyards around Naoussa, sharing the landscape with apple, pear, cherry and peach orchards.

Diamantakos, Mantemi, Naoussa

George Diamantakos is a young man who has taken over the estate's 4 ha from his father. He is a great ambassador for the region, generous to us on our visits, and to his other fellow producers in the town. The estate comprises essentially two vineyard parcels planted in 1979 and 1981, on a well-drained limestone and soft schistous soil, rich in magnesium. The family abandoned their previous activity as peach farmers to plant vines after excavations discovered that under the orchard lay the remains of the School of Aristotle, which Philip of Macedon set up for his son Alexander ("The Great").

George's father began bottling his own wines in 2000. The wines spend a year in barrel, mostly French barriques, with an increasing number of 500 litre barrels. 2011 is a lovely vintage, ripe and fruity, with some savoury, tomato paste and perhaps slightly tarry notes. Tannins are firm and dry behind the wines viscosity and richness. The excellent vintages of 2012 and 2013 will eventually complete a trio of excellent vintages, which, we hope will compensate for the absence of any red wine in the very tricky 2014 vintage.

In fact the only wine produced in 2014 was a tiny quantity of white wine from a local grape called "Preknadi", or 'Freckle-face' after the speckled skin of the grapes. It's fermented in stainless steel and has a slightly viognier-like character and perfume.

White


Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
DIPRE16B Preknadi 2016
128.40
DIPRE14B Preknadi 2014
119.80
Red



DINAO15B Naoussa 2015
138.20
DINAO15M Naoussa 2015 magnum 275.60
DINAO13B Naoussa 2013
138.20

Karydas, Ano Gastra, Naoussa

Petros Karydas has an even smaller estate: just 2.5 hectares of north-facing vines drifting over the hill top and down to overlook George Diamantakos' vines below. Vines here too were planted in early 1980s on a chalk and clay soil. This family too originated as apple growers, but Petros' father - an Olympic skier at Innsbruck in 1964 - began bottling in 1992. Grapes here are late-harvested, as the hill-top location delays ripening, and north winds can be strong. The wines here spend 24 months in barrel - all French barriques, with 40% of them new. This is a very simple operation. Petros' wines are highly sought after in Greece and abroad - especially in the USA, and our allocation is very small. But this is one of the very top estates of the region.

Red


Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
KANAO14B Naoussa 2014
138.50
KANAO14M Naoussa 2014 magnum 264.50

Foundis, Nea Stranza, Naoussa

Nikolaos Foundi began this small winery as a hobby in 1992 while serving as president of the Naoussa co-op, which he founded himself in 1982. But the family first planted vines here in the 1930s, shortly after their resettlement here from Eastern Thrace as a result of the Balkan Wars. They now have 5 hectares, and produce six different wines and two red Naoussa wines from Xinomavro. The style here is old-fashioned, in the best sense of the word, and the wines age very slowly. A 1996 Nikolaos opened for us last September was in beautiful condition. The wine we have chosen: "Naoussaia" comes from a blend of three different vineyards, mostly a sandy loam, and limestone. It spends 4 weeks on the skins before pressing and going into barrel - French oak - for a year. Nikolaos is clearly a senior figure in the Naoussa wine community, modest, but highly respected.

Red



Guide Retail Price per case of 6 (£)
FDNAO11B Naoussaia
2011
115.40
FDKTI08B Estate Foundi Xinomavro
2008
141.20

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