Friday, November 10, 2017

2014 Ktima Katsaros Valos: The Threshold of Acid-Black

There are three wine grapes that begin with "X," including Xarello (indigenous to Spain), Xinomavro (indigenous to Greece) and Xynisteri (indigenous to Cyprus). Have you tasted wines produced from these grapes? I've been fortunate to taste wines made from all three of these grapes and I'm here today to highlight one of those wines, a Greek wine made of 100% Xinomavro.

Cava Spiliadis is an importer of Greeks wines which were personally curated by George Spiliadis, the son of Milos restaurateur Costas Spiliadis. They represent a number of Greek wineries and I recently received several media samples from their portfolio. I've long been a passionate advocate for the wines of Greece, and some of the reasons for my passion can be found in Ten Reasons To Drink Greek Wine

This week, I'm reviewing four Greek wines from the Cava Spiliadis portfolio, each worthy of your attention, each compelling for different reasons. All four of the wines are red, and would be great for the fall and winter, ideal for holiday parties and feasts. Previously this week, I reviewed the 2013 Ktima Gerovassiliou Avaton, an intriguing red blend that uses the ancient Limnio grape, and the 2011 Ktima Biblia Chora Biblinos, a tasty wine made from a mystery grape.

Ktima Katsaros is a small, family-run winery that is located on the slopes of Mount Olympus,at an altitude of about 750 meters above sea level, in the region of Krania. Mount Olympus is the highest mountain and Greece and once was thought to be the home of the Greek gods. The winery was established in 1985, and its organic vineyards encompass about 20 acres. Their current winemaker, Evripidis Katsaros, began working at the family estate in 2007, and brings with him experience from having worked at two different French wineries.

The 2014 Ktima Katsaros Valos ($25) is produced from 100% Xinomavro, a grape whose name translates as "acid-black." In addition, the term "Valos" toughly translates as "threshold." Xinomavro likely originated in the Náoussa region, in northern Greece, and is the second most planted red grape in Greece. The grape is most often compared to Nebbiolo, and tends to possess strong tannins and high acidity, meaning it also can age very well. As the wine ages, it starts to lose its red fruit flavors and begins to acquire savory notes, especially tomato and olive. I've tasted numerous Xinomavro wines, and have been impressed with their diversity, taste and complexity.

The Valos is fermented in stainless steel, matured in new French barriques for 9 months, and has a 13.5% ABV. Only about 4000 bottles of this wine were produced. With an inky dark red color, it has a pleasant nose of red cherry with light spice notes. On the palate, there are cherry notes, as well as hints of ripe plum, accompanied by some savory elements, especially herbal notes which are most evident on the finish. The tannins are well integrated, the finish is long and satisfying, and the wine is simply delicious. This is a wine that would go well with duck, wild boar, pork loin or even a steak though you could probably enjoy this with a pizza too.

Opt for the X, the X in Xinomavro.

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