The night I tried Petrus 2004…

There are a few moments in a winelover’s journey that have been long anticipated.

Like this one.

Like the moment of tasting, let alone drinking this magnificent and legendary wine.

And I did.


On the 27th January my colleagues and I celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Maisons Marques et Domaines. After a fabulous tasting of almost our entire portfolio with our customers and press, we invited our producers to join us at a truly fascinating celebratory dinner at Novikov in London. The restaurant is divided in 3 spaces; one of them is the beautiful Italian restaurant which has a traditional feel of Italian elegance and warmth.

The menu was incredible and we were properly spoiled as our producers generously offered their icon wines for the dinner. As you can see in the photo below, some tremendous wines were enjoyed!

The MMD 30th Anniversary Dinner

The fascinating wine line-up


Petrus 2004 decanted

Petrus 2004 in the decanter


30th MMD Anniversary Dinner at Novikov

Petrus 2004 was served with a Risotto with pigeon and winter black truffle.

I kept swirling the glass under my nose.  An abundance of dried herbs and truffles filled the glass.

This powerful yet silky Merlot from the famous Pomerol plateau has a deep ruby colour and a mesmerising nose full of sweet, juicy cherries harmoniously blended with earthy notes and aromas of dark chocolate and vanilla seeds. The mouthfeel is tannic and structured with precision. A plethora of aromas is developed in the mouth with these of cherries, truffle and chocolate being most prominent with a promise of an astonishing wine getting developed in the bottle and it will be even more exhilarating in the next decade.

A truly memorable evening with a range of iconic wines which have been shaping and keep developing the world of fine wine.

I feel very lucky and blessed!

Vinothec Compass, a Greenwich surprise 

Just after I started my new job as Brand Manager, I received an email by Douglas Blyde,a gastro-consultant & wine presenter. My day was made! He asked if I would be into golf, wine and food… I mean who can say no to that?

Food, wine, gardening, design and advertising bloggers made their way to Greenwich on a sunny August evening to visit the brand new restaurant, Vinothec Compass, and try a tasting menu called Terroir and Turf. The new restaurant was developed by Arnaud Compass, a self-confessed wine athlete who is Head of EU development for Robert Parker and Keith Lyons, a wine consultant and former head of wine at Waitrose Canary Wharf.

We were warmly greeted with a glass of the lively and expressive 2004 Pol Roger Champagne an quickly started chatting to each other. No one was handing business cards around; we asked for usernames on Twitter and Instagram to stay in touch. (Will business cards soon become obsolete?)

Pol Roger 2004 in Vinothec Compass

Pol Roger 2004 bubbles for welcome!

This sign though :)

And then it was golf time! The last time I held a golf club was in 2000 and I was in a mini-golf court in Germany, so I certainly do not qualify as a golf pro. We were tutored by 2 friendly instructors and then we all gave it a go, so much fun! Lots of people filled the courts very soon bringing their friends and children along. The place was buzzing and I would certainly go back…look at this view!

Golfing and Champagne equals happy times

How can grilled artichoke be so yummy??

Grilled, crispy and delicious chorizo, mmmm

While the sun was setting, we were invited back to the restaurant and we gathered around the kitchen. Head Chef Jordi Rovira Segovia and Sous Chef Daniel Rodriguez Navas  greeted everyone with an aromatic baby squid , tomato and coriander tapas kind of dish. For most people, coriander is a very popular herb but not for me. I am one of those unlucky few, whose genes related to smell and taste, make the taste of coriander to be perceived as soap; it can literally ruin any meal. BUT not this time. I am not sure if it was the Champagne, the golf or the beautiful sunset but the perfectly cooked dish went down very well especially with a glass of a 2012 Bulgarian Chardonnay from Chateau Burgozone. It was delightfully fruity and refreshing with citrus and mineral notes.

An open kitchen is what I look for at a restaurant!

Baby squid and a gorgeous Chardonnay from Bulgaria

Next dish on the menu was a smoked trout salad perfectly matched with a Vin Gris (white wine made from red grapes) all the way from Morocco. The 2013 Volubilia blend of Mourvedre and Tempranillo was elegantly fruity with notes of strawberry, watermelon and red cherries and on the palate was appetizingly fresh and vibrant.

Mouthwatering smoked trout salad & a stunning Vin Gris from Morocco

It was great to see the response of the guests to the more “exotic” wine countries and how amazed they were with the quality of these wines; supremely surprised! Moving on the to the next dish, Keith poured out of the decanter the absolutely stunning Couvent des Jacobins 2005, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to accompany our suckling pig, piquillo. A classic and traditional mouthwatering pairing. A fantastic vintage full of red fruit, licorice and coffee notes with elegant oak hints and lovely, creamy texture.

Keith Lyon pouring a stunning Saint Emilion Grand Cru

THE suckling pig symphony

Three dishes done and three more to go! The cod confit was next on our dinner table, a beautiful dish even to look at! This was paired deliciously with a Montsant blend of Macabeu, Grenache Blancand Cartoixà (the local name for Xarel.lo). Montsant has a special place in my heart, as I have had some incredible Grenache Blanc wines from this region in the last couple of years. The Dido 2013 has delicate notes of lemon, grapefruit and jasmine and a mouthwatering finish and complimented the cod superbly.

Cod confit with Romesco sauce

Although we were encouraged to try our next dish, a juicy Longhorn Onglet, with the previous Spanish white wine,  Keith surprised me when he cracked open the outstanding Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro 2010 from Alpha Estate, Amyndeon, Greece! One of my personal favorite wines, which made a great impression to Jancis Robinson, who made the following comments on it:
“I could see the hint of orange that Julia found on the nose but most impressive was its Nebbiolo-like transparency, light char (from the fruit character rather than oak), and the fact that it really builds on the finish into something impressively persistent. This is a very individual wine that shows Xinomavro’s distinction well. I’d drink it any time over the next five years or so and I’m sure it will continue to gain interest.”

My star of the evening, Greek Xinomavro by Alpha Estate

Longhorn Onglet paired heavenly with Xinomavro

Last but certainly not least was the Vinothec Cheesecake served in an espresso cup. I have to admit that one cup was not enough, so I made my way into a second one, oops! Arnaud poured the last night of the evening, the incredibly impressive Sainte Lucie Rivesaltes 1971! This delicious sweet wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Maccabeu and Tourbat. What a fantastic treat! On the nose, it is delightfully aromatic with notes of almonds, walnuts and candied fruit. On the palate there is some interesting salinity with notes of coffee and cacao.

The Vinothec Chessecake with an older than me Riversaltes  Arnaud Compas in action!

This was an unforgettable dinner and I got to meet many interesting bloggers and had the chance to put my golf skills into the test ;) I am definitely going back and can’t wait to see how their wine list develops as Arnaud and Keith have a greta vision and have put together a great wine selection!

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The Greek Larder launches the first official London Greek Wine Festival in London


I think it was July when I first read on Twitter that Theodore Kyriakou, founder of the Real Greek and The Greek Larder is launching the first London Greek Wine Festival. This was the event that I simply couldn’t miss in participating in any way. I got in touch immediately and in August I had a long chat with Theodore who explained the concept and the schedule of the event. It will take place in the elegant Battlebridge Room at King’s Place overlooking Regents Canal basin. When Theodore showed me the room, I understood why he was so excited with the specific location – tall windows around the room allow lots of natural light brightening up the space and the canal view is gorgeous.

There are going to be 130 Greek wines for the visitors to taste and lots of the producers are going to attend the festival. It will be an unmissable experience for all winelovers and for all the wine drinkers who would like to develop their palate and learn more about the wines of one the most ancient wine countries in the world!

Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding are the Ambassadors of the Festival and the news just fill me with extreme joy and anticipation!

Jancis is a huge lover and supporter of Greek wines and as she says, “…is thrilled to be lucky enough to be able to bring that love and understanding to life for visitors. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll learn a huge amount through this showcase of the very best wines from one of the world’s most distinctive wine-producing countries.

The Greek Larder will also run a Meze Bar throughout the weekend, serving up exquisite small Greek plates plus cheese, charcuterie, select wines by the glass as well as some fabulous Retsina cocktails. The fair will run between 11am -5pm on the Saturday 3rd October and between 11am-4pm on the Sunday 4th October.

Fri 2nd Oct: Festival launch night ‘Cyclades’ menu & live music, 7.30pm-11pm

Sat 3rd Oct: Wine Lovers’ Brunch & ‘Froutalia’ menu, 11am-1pm

Sat 3rd Oct: Sardines, Mackerel & Retsina pairings, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Sat 3rd Oct: Afternoon sweets & desert wine pairings 4pm-6pm

Sat 3rd Oct: Celebratory Festival supper & live music 7.30pm-11pm

Please find below the detailed schedule of the 2-day festival of Greek Wine in London:

Sat 3 Oct: Regional Tasting by Julia Harding 12noon-1.15pm

Sat 3 Oct: Athens to Vergina wine roads 2.30pm-3.45pm

Sat 3 Oct: Cheese, Charcuterie & Olives 3pm-4.30pm

Sat 3 Oct: Retsina in Cocktails 4pm-5pm


Sun 4 Oct: Variety Tasting by Julia Harding 12noon-1.15pm

Sun 4 Oct: Moschofilero & The Greek Larder meze 1.30pm-3.00pm

Sun 4 Oct: Cyclades to Crete wine island hopping 2.30pm-3.45pm

Battlebridge Room at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG – Wristband* Entry. Limited capacity for Talks & Fair so I would recommend booking online and in advance HERE

Knight Frank are kindly supporting the London Greek Wine Festival, and will also be offering complimentary tastings of select wines being exhibited at our producer’s Wine Fair. Saturday only 10am-4pm. Unit 9, Handyside Street & Gardens, London N1C 4AY. Tel 020 3764 8910

Pop-Up Wine Bar! Wimbledon Wines will be offering their Greek organic favourites by the glass, from their gorgeous vintage Citroen van parked in the newly landscaped open spaces just outside The Greek Larder. Sat & Sun 12noon-5pm. King’s Cross, Wharf Road, London N1C 4AS

Rotunda are the venue partners and will be open daily for small plates matched to our Greek wines, plus a ‘Farm Meats’ supper menu specially created for the Festival (booking advised). Its restaurant,bar & terrace is located within the Kings Place complex. 90 York Way, London N1 9AG. Tel 020 7014 2840

I am overly excited about next weekend and I literally cannot wait to meet you all and try some exquisite Greek wines with you! If you are joining us, please do use the hashtag #LondonGreekWineFestival when twitting or instagraming!

Follow the Greek Larder on:

Twitter: @thegreeklarder

or visit their website for more exciting news!

Moschofilero-Mantinia by Tselepos & Pan-Fried Mullets

Summer is (not) here (yet).

You see, I live in London where every sunny day is treated like a unicorn , especially in the warmer months. This year we don’t get them that often. As I was sitting cozily and watching the rain from the window yesterday, I had this well-known anticipation, this hint of excitement of the Summer feeling. Last year I didn’t even bother going to the beach but now all I can think of is the salty smell of the sea breeze, the splash of waves. The closest I can get to my wishes is this memory of a mesmerizing lunch in my garden in Greece: fried mullets and a chilled glass of Moschofilero-Mantinia by Tselepos.

Moschofilero Mantinia Tselepos great Britain

Cheers to Summer!

I love cooking but pan-frying is not my forte, so I let my mum do the honors, as her technique is unbeatable:

Light golden pan-fried mullets

  • Put flour, salt, pepper and some smoked paprika in a bowl and stir
  • Place the mullets in the mix and coat well
  • Heat up some olive oil in anon-stick frying pan and place the fish gently
  • Put the nicely coated fish in the frying-pan and cook for 5-8mins on each side
  • As soon as they get this lovely orange, lightly golden color, take them out and place them on absorbing paper to keep them nice and crispy on the outside

The choice of wine was quite easy for this Summery dish – I wanted a beautifully aromatic wine with a splash of freshness to make justice to the crispy first bit of the fish crust. Moschofilero from Mantinia was exactly what I needed. With an abundance of wild flowers, some grape-y sweet undertones and a charming wisp of white pepper, Moschofilero might remind you of an Argentinian Torrontés but with a more elegant and complex profile. Lots of citrus freshness in the mouth with a distinctive, appetizingly dry, mineral finish. At 12.0% alcohol, this is a great wine for Summer drinking!

Moschofilero makes fish and wine pairing far too easy!

Have you tried this indigenous Greek grape before? Hope you’ll try this delicious combo and let me know how you liked it, when you do!

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Winemaker: Evangelia Palivou

In my series of Young Winemakers and Wine Professionals of Greece, I  introduce this interesting and inspiring group of people, who are moving Greek wine forward and spread their passion around the world.

Today, I am very happy to have Evangelia Palivou of Palivos Estate on the blog; enjoy!

Evangalia Palivou of Palivou Estate

Evangelia Palivou

How much impact did it have on deciding to study winemaking, while growing up next to one of Greece’s most successful winemakers? How old were you when you decided to follow this path?

When you grow up in a family business, it’s not necessary to be pressed to follow this job. I was only 3 years old when my parents decided to make wine for a living and 5 years old when the winery was founded. I love this job and I feel it as a part of myself! My parents did their best to transfer and nourish me the passion for wine! I don’t really remember if I ever wanted to do something else in my life!

Take me through your wine studies and your experience in the European vineyards.

Firstly, when me and my family decided to leave for studies abroad, our first choice was Australia. My mother feared though that due to the distance, we would not see each other for a long time, so this still remains a life dream and we chose France. In the beginning it was so difficult for me; my French was only entry level, I had to adapt to a totally unknown country and at the time Greece was entering the crisis. What came next was a series of unprecedented new experiences, new knowledge and winemaking methods and of course new people! I tried to act like a sponge and absorb everything new that I watched or listened to.

Which are the main similarities and differences between the Greek & the French nations in regards to wine culture?

The most definite similarity is the passion for the vineyards and the wine. In the viticulture front, the big difference is that French viticulturists consider the vine to be the winemaker itself! They have a completely different way to treat and manage it; they pay a lot of attention to it! I do value and embrace their attitude considering how the ‘’big wines’’ are being made. The first step is to think what kind of wine we would like to make, then (using our imagination) we smell and taste it. The next step is to make it in our vineyard and the last but not least is to make it in our winery. Another great difference is the collaborative nature of the French viticulturists relationship with the winemakers. The result of this collaboration could give very well made wines. Both of them and especially viticulturists help each other. In Greece, this relationship is still in progress but I hope it will become stronger as these two main forces are correlative. In regards to the consumer, we are really in an enfant stage. France is one of the first countries in wine consumption –  wine is their national product and almost everyone understands and appreciates it. In Greece, consumers have entered the wine world in a dynamic and proper way only in the last 20 years.

On the first day of my Masters’, Alain Carbonneau, our Viticulture professor, told me that Aghiorghitiko can be the new Merlot, referring to Merlot’s popularity. Which are Aghiorghitiko’s advantages and disadvantages in its development in the international market?

Aghiorghitiko is an enchanting grape that awakens the senses with its elegance and freshness, its aromatic intensity on the nose and palate. This red variety is often characterized as multidynamic because of the wide range of wine styles it can produce; from fresh rosé to rich sweet wines. However, the most well known wine styles are fresh red, dry red (tank fermentation) and aged red (at least one year of barrel aging). It is not so famous and well-branded as Merlot yet. I am optimistic that through  the collective attempts of ‘’serious’’ winemakers of Nemea combined with the collective work of Cooperative of Nemea winemakers (ΣΟΝ),  the Union of Winemakers and Viticulturists of Peloponnese and of other unions, we will achieve our ultimate goal: to establish Aghiorghitiko as an international variety. The problem is that we were late to promote it and make attempts for it.

There is a strong trend in the wine world for more consumer friendly labels that you seem to have spotted and implemented. What are your personality characteristics that you want to introduce to them and make them stand out?

We design the labels according to the character and the personality of our wines. But I am really glad that we approach the new consumers. I would like to try and experiment – fortunately my parents are young and open minded enough – so we move on together based on their knowledge and their experience. The wines that I love are the red ones. I adore their body with tannins, their color, their aromas. I would like the wines that I will produce to be modern and express the microclimate of the region of origin. But I strongly believe that if someone captures their own soul into the wine, then it will automatically bcomee distinguished and differentiated from the rest. A grand red wine needs its special terroir, soul, fantasy and passion!

Social media have started changing and re-shaping the producer-consumer relationship but there are still many Greek estates that haven’t dared to be present on social media platforms. We have already seen you active on Facebook – are you going to be on Instagram or Twitter any time soon? To what extend do you think that an estate’s social media presence can assist to their success?

We live in a digital era. Most wine drinkers are aware of the use of internet. The generation gap starts from 5 to approximately 75 years old and maybe more (hahaha). Therefore, sometimes being constantly online is also difficult for me (when I was young, we used to play games in the streets and cycle for many hours). Social media have replaced the media in a more evolving way and if you manage to use them properly, they will help you. They are tools of our work; a post can reach hundreds of people in some seconds in all over the world. I believe that they help our work to be more easily recognized. I already have two accounts on Instagram and Twitter but honestly I prefer Facebook because it’s more widely known if you consider the amount of its users compared to the other two social media.

You are part of the new Greek Wine wave – how do you think that communication and marketing need to be developed on a national and international level? Is there something that you’d wish to see changing?

I constantly watch new people entering dynamically the wine world, which makes me really happy because the Greek wine culture will change as well. Nowadays, the younger generation has the opportunity to travel all around the world, meet new people, exchange ideas and opinions and get introduced to new things. This will lead to open-minded people who will transform the competition among older generations to a healthy contest for younger winemakers and professionals, so that we will achieve the best for Greek wine on a national level and not only separately for each PDO zone. However, the voice of one person will probably not be heard but the sound of many will be loud!

Your desert island wine:

If you consider Peloponnese as an island, I would say that that my desert island wine would be an Aghiorghitiko from dried grapes. It can get unbelievably evolved  in the barrels and it only becomes better with time. When you hopefully come to Greece, I will wait for you at our winery to taste ‘’Ηλίον Τέχνη’’ (the art of the sun) which is a luscious straw wine, made by 100% Agiorgitiko grapes, aged in barrels since 1997. Otherwise I would choose a Vinsanto of our Santorini island!

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A hidden Greek treasure in London – Maltby & Greek

Yannos Hadjiioannou

Yannos Hadjiioannou

The day I met Yannos was really cold and humid. We agreed to meet in a little coffee shop on a Sunday morning  in the heart of London. When I arrived I looked around and thought that I got there first. So, I sat next to the coffee machine, waiting for my coffee, without realizing that the gentleman behind me, sitting by the window, was reading a Greek book. Not just any book, but one written by a very familiar “wine” name: George Kokotos, called Tzia-Thermia.  Yannos Hadjiioannou shouted my name and it was then that I realized that my interviewee got to our meeting spot before me.

Few non-natives may feel confidant enough to say that they actually understand how the British Market works and what is needed to understand the Londoner consumer. But Yannos has been living in London for 20 years. He did take me by surprise when I said that I‘ve been staying here for almost 4 years now and he replied: “Oh, so you’re quite fresh!” He came to Great Britain to study Economics and then started working on a bank’s trading floor for many years, when he realized that his true passion was to open a specialist Greek food and wine deli. To build on the brand and notion of “Greece”. The idea of wining & dining hadn’t left him since 2007, when his Italian friend opened a traditional deli. He was observing the Italians crowded in the shop to find the smells and tastes associated with their idea of Home.

To read the full article please click here to visit MONOPOL, a new wine magazine!

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PS. This post was first published on MONOPOL 

Spring Wine: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – oh, you dazzling Kiwi!

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - Michelle Richardson & Mt Beautiful wines

Smells like Spring Spirit!

March has finally arrived and boy, how gorgeous was London on this fine Sunday morning! I was actually woken up by the constant tweeting of a little bird, which made me think that life is great and that Spring must be just around the corner! I literally suffer during Winter and i just can’t wait to smell the blooming flowers and the warm breeze.


“Wake up its a beautiful morning,
Feel the sun shining for your eyes.
Wake up its so beautiful,
For what could be the very last time.”, The Boo Radleys

Now that I got this off my chest, let’s go back to the original post. One of the reasons I love Spring so much is that the temperature is perfect now to enjoy more fruity/floral and generally more playful wines. One of the wines I particularly enjoy sipping on warmer March afternoons is  Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand! I think this is a brilliant wine to try if you’re looking for a dry, fruity and surely refreshing one. It is a very easy-going and easy-drinking wine – it’s almost difficult to find someone who doesn’t like it. Much like Kelly Taylor from 90210.

What I find particularly interesting about NZSB (let’s just make it shorter) is that it’s one of these types of wine that has pretty much created a frenzy and has a dedicated following. It’s just so widely available and generally fairly priced. But the main reason is that it’s quite appealing and quite expressive with a varied fruit and vegetal spectrum depending on which region it comes from.

Marlborough is the NZSB kingdom, this is where the magic started. Due to the warmer and milder growing conditions, the wine bouquet is full of ripe gooseberry, juicy melon and sweet nectarine aromas with a rather appealing freshness on the palate!

Heading a bit more to the South over to North Canterbury , you find that their SB, which grows under cooler conditions is showing different aromas and flavours. You will be surprised how the aromas of juicy nectarine and melon are replaced by green peppers, tomato stalks (no joke, every time I make a tomato salad I think of Sauvignon Blanc), fresh cut grass and interestingly, passion fruit! It’s really fresh and mouthwatering making it the ideal pair for seafood and shellfish, yumm!!

For your reading pleasure and only *crossing fingers behind the back*, I tasted two lovely wines from the 2 regions mentioned and each of those adds an intriguing twist to the more classic-like profile of the wine.

Michelle Richardson SB: This is a truly explosive Marlborough SB. Staying true to its roots, it delivers a fascinating bouquet of gooseberry and ripe melon aromas followed by bell pepper hints and just a breeze of fresh-cut grass. Really pure fruit and very fresh on the palate. I imagine myself sipping it on a warm Spring afternoon on a terrace with a smile on my face.

Some extra info: 20% of this wine was fermented by wild yeasts. You know the yeast you buy at the shop for baking bread; that one is called commercial yeast, because you can purchase it. Wild yeast, however, lives in the winery environment and and it can start the fermentation of the grape must. It make the mouthfeel more silky and adds texture.

Mt Beautiful SB, North Canterbury: This is not your typical Marlborough SB. Zesty notes and fresh passion fruit aromas dominate the nose along with tomato stalks hints.  Very crisp and lively on the palate with a nice, mouthwatering minerality coming from stony/steely flavors. Really refreshing and discretely aromatic. Anytime, anywhere – very drinkable!

Some extra info: The owners want to introduce a new style of NZSB by focusing on the fruit purity and toning down the vegetal notes. The vines are planted on the northern side of the vineyard, so they can benefit from cooler temperatures.

Just to add that both wines, as many NZ wines, are closed with a screw-cap which makes them great “fridge wines”, ie. you can pop them in the fridge and keep enjoying them for the next 3-4 days! Let me know if you like Sauvignon Blanc from NZ and what are some of your favorites?

Follow on Bloglovin Note: Both wines were tasted at a Quality Check Tasting at the company I work for. I am only featuring them on the blog because I think that they are good representations of the warmer and cooler climate NZSB and I also like them a lot!

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Xinomavro in London: It needs a hero!

Donald Edwards

Donald Edwards

If you’re in London, you should follow the Greek wine trail that leads to Peckham Bazaar in South London, the child of Donald Edwards, ex-sommelier, and chef John Gionleka. Fay Maschler, in last year’s November review of Peckham Bazaar in the Evening Standard wrote: “Peckham Bazaar has been described as serving the best Greek food in London — not exactly a hot competition —“and I should add that it’s pouring the best Greek wine in London, too.

I wanted to find out how Donald and his business partner John teamed up, how they came up with the delicious East Mediterranean recipes and their unique wine list. I met Donald in a Vermouth bar in Soho. He explained how Peckham Bazaar was born. Because no good story starts with someone eating a salad, he and John got really drunk on a March weekend (2013) and decided to set up a pop-up restaurant with a pan-Balkan style.

Fiona Becket wrote in her Peckham Bazaar’s review: “The wine list is brilliant – quirky, adventurous, full of rare treats from Greece and elsewhere in the Eastern Med (so massively on-trend).” They list about 8 different Xinomavro labels. Eight. I am fascinated. Donald believes in the uniqueness of Xinomavro and that it’s a very expressive grape, quite distinctive -unlike Agiorgitiko-, that pairs very interestingly with food. With a few Greek restaurants opening up lately in London, Peckham Bazaar prides itself to be the only one with such an interesting list of indigenous grape varieties, with Xinomavro being in the spotlight.

What frustrates Donald though, is that “winemakers throw international varieties in the blend.” He insists that we need more 100% Xinomavro labels. He explains that it’s such a unique and distinctive grape and more wine drinkers should get properly introduced to it.

How does Donald get his customers to try Xinomavro?

To read the full article please click here to visit MONOPOLE, a new wine magazine!

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PS. This post was first published on MONOPOLE 

A blend of two vintages – NOHMA by Palivou Estate

My birthday this year could be described as an extravaganza of different feelings. There’s definitely a difference between “growing up and growing old” and the wine we cracked open on my birthday fully embraced this saying.

Extremely happy to have my parents visiting me, I decided that we should toast with something special indeed. It might took me something more than 2 seconds to spot NOHMA by Palivou Estate on my wine rack, which I had been keeping for around 2 years, after it was kindly sent to me, and it is exactly the type of wine that makes you wait for a special occasion before you pull out the cork.

The first time I tasted this magnificient blend of not just grape varieties but also vintages (!!!) was at the Annual Peloponnesian Wine Tasting 2011 (?) at Electra Palace, organised by Wineplus and Maria Netsika. At this great event I met Evangelia Palivou, the daughter of George Palyvos, one of the leading winemakers in Greece. Evaggelia, who is also an enologist, guided me through their portfolio and at the end of an interesting discussion about the growing appeal of Greek wine in the UK, she said: “I have something special for you to try” and there it was…the NOHMA 2005-2006. NOHMA translates to “meaning” in English.

NOHMA is made from grapes grown in a private, biodynamic vineyard in ancient Nemea, Peloponnese and is a blend of 60% Agiorgitiko 2006, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and 17% Syrah 2005. The international varieties wait patiently for 12 months in new oak barrels (225L) for the Agiorgitiko to get vinified. The final blend spends another 12 months in French oak barrels before bottling.


Brand new cheese board and NOHMA


NOHMA 2005-2006 in all its glory

After I poured the wine in our glasses, there was literally a 10s pause and if you know me this doesn’t happen very often. Its colour is deep ruby and dense. Long legs develop on the glass and are nicely structured. Incredible aromas of sweet prune and dried fig were coming out of my glass, while I was gently swirling it. It felt that each circle released a new mix of notes. After the sweet notes of black dried fruit, I was intrigued by the gentle oak notes and smokey hints. A great mix of spices makes the nose quite memorable:  vanilla, clove, a touch of cinnamon and cardamon  with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper all wrapped up in a blackcurrant leaf. What I found fascinating was that blend was quite harmonious and yet each individual variety unfolded its unique personality. On the palate, you can feel a rich mouthfeel of aromas reminiscent of the nose and the warmth of the alcohol well integrated with the wine. Very concentrated and powerful. At 14,5% v/v, you might expect it to leave a burning sensation but this is not the case. Many complain about red wine drying out their mouth and this what tannins do to your tongue. But NOHMA is quite smooth and velvety.

As you can see on the photos above, it went down really well with a variety of cheeses (Austrian smoked chesse, Stilton, Port Salut) and charcouterie (German Salami and liver pâté) but it would certainly be my Christmas wine of choice, as it would go amazingly well with roasted wild boar, grilled ribs and stews. As I am not going to be home for Christmas this year, I shall toast with this little gem on New Year’s Eve!

You can purchase NOHMA from Palivou Estate here:*

What are you drinking with your Christmas Dinner? Let me know your suggestions!

(I defy you to find another blend of two vintages, hehe!)

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