Tuesday, November 2, 2021

2017 Sarris Vineyards "V for Vostilidi": A Compelling Greek White Wine

Krasi, an excellent Greek restaurant in Boston, has the second-largest Greek wine list in the country, under the supervision of Wine Director Evan Turner. The wine list is filled with a diverse selection of intriguing and delicious Greek wines, from all parts of Greece and of all different types, from Sparkling Wines to Dessert wines. Check out my Ten Reasons To Drink Greek Wine for more inspiration for why you should go to Krasi and sample their extensive Greek wine selection. 

On my own recent dinner at Krasi, I checked out a small supplementary list of their wines which they had chosen to highlight. I ordered a couple glasses of the 2017 Sarris Vineyards "V for Vostilidi" ($15/glass, $57/bottle), which Evan's description for the wine simply stated, "Drinking this makes politics bearable. So does taking Molly but we can't say that." I'd never tasted a wine made from the Vostilidi grape before so I decided to try it. And it was wonderful, complex and alluring, and I'm going to buy a case from a local wine shop so I can have the wine at home. 

The Sarris Winery is located in the south-west part of Kefalonia. the largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea. The winery was established by Panos Sarris, who began working as a server in restaurants, before eventually returning to Kefalonia to set up his own place, a pool side café bar called Preview. In 2004, he moved the restaurant to the Avithos beach, and he's also the author of a cook book, “Tastes of Kefalonia.” The winery is now located about 300 meters away from his restaurant. 

During all these years, his interest in wine developed, leading to him becoming a Master Sommelier in 2008, and producing his first wine in 2012 on a farm that formerly belonged to his family. He has about 2.2 acres of Robola vines, another indigenous white grape, and a small amount of other grapes. Most of his vines are 40 years old, with some as old as 60 years. The soils are poor, stony limestone,  at an altitude of about 2600 feet. When producing his wines, they are foot-trodden, fermented using wild yeast, and aged in neutral oak barrels. 

Vostilidi, also known as Goustolidi, derives its name from the Greek avgoustolidi, which means "August’s jewel,"  referring to its early ripening, often in August. It's exact origins are unknown, although it has been documented as far back as the 16th century, and it likely at least a few hundred years older, maybe even going back to the ancient Greeks. The grape primarily grows on Kefalonia, with about 74 acres of vines, but can be found in limited quantity in other parts of Greece. 

The 2017 Sarris Vineyards "V for Vostilidi" (about $30 retail) is 100% Vostilidi, spontaneously fermented and aged for about 11 months in a neutral 2-ton Austrian oak barrel. The vines are organic, although not certified, and the wine has a 13.2% ABV.  The color of the wine reminded me more of an orange wine than the usual white wine. On the nose, I found an appealing blend of fruit notes, from apricot to peach, with a tinge of honey. And on my palate, it provided a complex and intriguing melange of flavors, including peach, apricot, vanilla, sweet orange and sesame! I don't recall the last wine that ever brought to mind sesame seeds but I loved that aspect of the wine. Good acidity, some minerality, firm tannins, plenty of umami, and a touch of floral notes. So much going on in each sip and the finish was lengthy and very satisfying. Highly recommended!

The wine went well with our initial Meze, including the Octopus Mortadella, Greek cheese, Taramsolata, and Trahano Kroketes. We enjoyed the wine so much that we ordered a second glass, before later ordering a bottle of red for the rest of our dinner. I now want to try more wines made from Vostilidi, as well as buy some of the Sarris for my home cellar. 

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