Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Tselepos Wines: Delicious Greek Wines, Indigenous Grapes

"The best kind of wine is that which is most pleasant to him who drinks it."
--Pliny the Elder

Do you enjoy Greek wines? I'm a huge fan of Greek wines and have previously provided my readers Ten Reasons To Drink Greek Wine. Thus, I was pleased to see several Greek wines at the recent  Boston Wine Expo, although I wished there had been many more.

Yiannis Distributing had a table at the Expo, showcasing five wines from Tselepos Wines, a family-owned business which has three wineries. Yiannis Tselepos is the the founder of Tselepos Wines, and studied oenology at the University of Dijon. He worked in several French wineries in the Burgundy region and eventually returned to Greece. In 1989, he founded Ktima Tselepos, located in the region of Tegea, Arcadia in the Peloponnese, concentrating on the Moschofilero grape.

In 2003, he purchased the Driopi Vineyard, a 50 year-old vineyard that constitutes about 8.5 hectares and is located in Koutsi, Nemea. He replanted 4 hectares, seeking to grow high-quality Agiorgitiko. In 2013, Tselepos founded the Canava Chrissou winery on Santorini, concentrating on AssyrtikoMoschofilero, Assyrtiko, and Agiorgitiko, two white grapes and one red, are native to Greece and can produce excellent wines. 

The Ktima Tselepos NV Amalia Brut is a sparkling wine, made in the Methode Traditionelle, from 100% Moschofilero. With an 11.7% ABV, I found this wine to be crisp and fresh, with tasty flavors of citrus, a hint of brioche, and subtle notes of honey. Fine bubbles, refreshing, and a pleasing finish. This bubbly would be nice paired with oysters.

The Ktima Tselepos NV Amalia Brut Rosé is also made in the Methode Traditionelle, but from 100% Agiorgitiko. It too was crisp and fresh, but with delicious and lush red fruit flavors and subtle savory notes. In addition, it had fine bubbles, was quite refreshing, and had a very pleasing finish. I would drink this all summer long, both with and without food. I preferred the Rosé, but that's simply my personal preference.

The 2021 Ktima Tselepos Mantinia, with an 11.7% ABV, is produced from 100% Moschofilero and fermented in stainless steel, aging a short time in the stainless as well to sit with the lees. It was aromatic, fresh, and bright, with clean flavors of lemon and citrus, with a touch of herbal notes and a bit of richness to the mouthfeel. Another excellent summer wine, either on its own or paired with seafood. 

The 2021 Tselepos Canova Chrissou, with a 13.59% ABV, was made from 100% Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini. This was also fermented in stainless steel, and had a complex and bright melange of flavors, including green apple, melon, and lemon, with great acidity, and a backbone of minerality. Another refreshing white wine that is a great choice for the summer and paired with seafood. Delicious and exciting.

The final wine was the 2017 Tselepos Nemea Driopi, with a 13.26% ABV, which was made from 100% Agiorgitiko. Agiorgitiko is the most planted red grape in Greece, and its name translates as "St. George's" grape, which might have been named after a village or chapel in Nemea. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and then matured for 8-10 months in large oak barrels, about 40% new oak. This wine tends more towards an easy drinking style, with big, bold black fruit flavors, especially ripe plum and black cherry, silky tannins, and hints of spice. You could drink this wine on its own or with everything from pizza to burgers. A nice summer choice. 

These wines are a great introduction to the wonders of Greek wines, and perfect for the upcoming summer. However, they would be appropriate year-round, especially as they are all food-friendly. Seek out the wines of Tselepos Wines and experience a taste of Greece. 

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