“Attica”
“…a less famous grape variety”
“winner of the Sommelier Wine Awards”

…… what picture do these words draw when they are put together? I have to admit, it took me a long time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, before I finally got enchanted by the charms of this wine.

Attica
Mesogeia, located in East Attica, Greece, is the place where this wine was made. For some, it is better known as the area surrounding parts of Athens. Compared to wine-producing regions such as Santorini or Crete, this area is on the south edge of continental Greece, where the micro climate for grape growth is definitely different from that on those islands. Thanks to the dry and long summers during the grape growing season, grape varieties that are cultivated in the area have to be resistant to heat and drought. Since 1979, this region has had its own geographical indication of origin, which is recognised as a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) nowadays. One of the most well-known wines from this area is the famous Retsina, which is frequently regarded as the signature wine of Greece by many.

Roditis
Yes, we just mentioned Retsina. In many occasions the grape variety Roditis is added to Savatiano to produce a blended white wine to make Retsina. Perhaps this is the reason why the name Roditis is less well-known. What is even uncommon to see, is Roditis being used solely to produce a dry white wine. And indeed, the Aoton Roditis 2015 was in fact made in only 3,000 bottles.

Sommelier Wine Award Gold
In 2018, the 2015 Aoton Roditis won a gold prize in the UK-based Sommelier Wine Awards competition. It was described as to have a similar style to Chenin Blanc, in the way that this wine stands out for its full body and rich texture.

In the glass, this wine shows a beautiful, clear, bright and medium-to-deep gold colour, demonstrating its well-developed maturation stage. With a high viscosity, it already starts to indicate an inviting oily-ish texture. By gently swirling the glass, it releases a distinctive spicy aroma, a mixture dominated by cumin and touches of clove and aniseed. Following that, are the gradually opened notes of ripe apple and honey, which also announce the wine as being well-matured. There was clearly no trace of oak barrel. On the palate, the wine is dry, with high acidity, full body and rich texture. There are complex flavours of roasted pineapple, subtle melon and honey, together with the smoky and flinty tastes that developed from the cumin and clove aromas. Without the use of oak barrel, this wine has a citrusy finish.

The wine is ready for drink, or can age for another 2-3 years. It is best served in a globe-shape glass, like the ones you would use for an oaked Burgundy white wine, with a temperature of around 12-13°C. While some sommeliers suggest to have it with a vegetable risotto, this wine can also be an excellent pairing to fresh salmon and sea urchins. If you’d like to eat like a Greek, have the wine with a youthful graviera cheese besides fava dip and red onion; if you are a fan of Japanese food, go bold and try it with sashimi.

Order the 2015 Aoton Roditis here!

by Celine

References:
https:// www.sommelierwineawards.com/winners/winners-2018
https:// aoton.gr


2016 Markou Kleftes Savatiano Sulphur Free, 12.5%

How much do we know about natural wine? In the April issue of Decanter magazine last year, the rise of natural wines was brought to the attention of wine consumers. The ‘trend’ of drinking natural wine is gradually becoming a matter of lifestyle for many enthusiastic wine lovers.

So, what exactly is the natural wine? How different is it from the wines we are used to drinking? According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, what we call natural wine is a relative rather than an absolute term. It differentiates these types of wine according to the winemaking processes (or philosophies). Typically, the grapes are grown by small-scale, independent producers, they are harvested by hand from sustainable, organic, or biodynamic vineyards. The wine is fermented without any extra yeasts (meaning only the natural yeasts existing on the grapes are used) or additives, and little or no sulfites are added for refining. This definition, unfortunately, indicates that the term “natural wine” is quite vague and we have to uncover in what specific ways a bottle of such wine is indeed “natural”.

The 2016 Kleftes from Markou Vineyards, is a sulfur dioxide (SO2) free wine made from grapes grown in organic vineyards in the Koropi area of Attica, Greece. The name “Kleftes” in Greek is also the name for dandelion seeds, which carry your thoughts and dreams to the loved ones and present hope, dream, and the uncertainty of a new journey. If you have read our earlier wine review about Shinopefko Retsina in this blog, you will find that this wine is made with the same grape variety, from the same region as the retsina. In this case, what can we expect from a sulphite free wine to taste differently?

Normally, sulfur dioxide in winemaking is necessary to preserve the wine from oxidation and to refine the wine by preventing bacteria and unwanted yeasts. This is the same element as you may find in dried fruits from supermarkets. Without sulphite, Kleftes is obviously more oxidised and displays more characteristics of oxidation. In the glass, it shows a slightly hazy yet bright gold colour with a lemon rim. On the nose, the wine has moderate aromas led by cooked apple, ripe pear and citrus flowers. Swirl the glass gently, it may also reveal some notes of roasted nuts and honey. There is no hint of the oak barrel. On the palate, it is dry, with crisp acidity, light body  and relatively low alcohol level. The flavour intensity is high, dominated by tastes of grape fruit, citrus flowers and crushed apple, accompanied by a long finish.

The wine is best drunk around 8-10 °C, which is about 5-10 minutes after being taken out from the fridge. Because it is sulphite free, it is not an ideal wine for aging. To prevent the oxidation, my suggestion is to consume this wine as soon as possible. It is a good wine to pair with food such as fried fish pie, green salad, or risotto with asparagus and parmesan cheese. An amazing pairing with wild capers, fava and bread.

Click here to buy the Markou Kleftes Savatiano!

by Celine

References: Oxford Companion to Wine


People often wonder what Greek food is all about. For us here at Oliveology, and for most Greeks maybe, it’s about two things. Greek food is about simplicity. Dishes usually use few ingredients. This is why one should be very careful when selecting these ingredients. When there are only onions, fava and olive oil in a dish, these better be some damn good fava (split yellow peas; not to be confused with fava beans).

The other thing is about simplicity in the cooking method. With a few exceptions recipes don’t usually require spending hours in complex preparations or involve elaborate steps in the cooking process. However, cooking takes a long time. Why is that? Well, we Greeks associate cooking for a long time with care. The food needs to spend a good time in the oven or hob. It needs to become soft and mellow. You need to keep an eye on it, show your care.

This recipe we have for you this week combines both these elements. It only has three main ingredients. Fava, olive oil, onions. You may add some thyme, and of course salt and pepper. Having this solid base, then you can really let yourself be creative with what you pair it with. Caramelise some onions. Chop some raw red onions for an extra kick. Add salty juicy capers. Try different oils. Definitely lemon juice. How about truffle oil even? There are many things you can do with fava. We like onions, capers and lemon. But it’s really up to you.

400g fava (yellow split peas)
200ml olive oil 
2 medium onions, finely grated
salt
fresh thyme (optional)
lemon (to taste)
capers (to taste)
red onions (to taste)

Rinse the fava under running cold water, until water runs clear. Place the fava in a large saucepan and add cold water. The volume of water you add must be approximately the same as the volume of fava. Bring to the boil, removing any white foam as the fava heats up. Once your fava starts boiling, lower the heat to the lowest possible setting. Add the onions and olive oil, thyme if you are using. Salt to taste but bear in mind, the flavours will concentrate. You can add more salt later.  Let the fava cook at very low heat, until it looks like mashed potatoes, stirring occasionally. Yes, fava magically breaks down into mush. If needed add a bit more water as you go along.

Serve with olive oil and lemon juice, capers and raw onions.