The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 26 of 132

SAN FRAN INSIDER Mainstream and Anything but Mundane by Deborah Parker Wong F Matadorvino's Michael Hutchinson (left) and producer Rui Abecassis. inally, it's Greek wines that are making news. "We're definitely seeing traction with importers and distributors in the U.S., Greek wines are gaining ground," confirmed Sofia Perpera, the dynamic director of New Wines of Greece, which presented a comprehensive tasting of current releases followed by a wine-paired luncheon at San Francisco's Prospect restaurant. "We're still going to be here making great wine regard- less of what happens with the euro." Several dozen members of the trade joined Perpera and guest of honor Stellios Boutaris, winemaker for KirYianni, whose 2001 Ramnista Xinomavro was a highlight, paired with a course of Storm Hill beef and smoked trumpet mushrooms. Greek wine exports are making wine an easy topic for discussion even in the face of the country's economic turmoil. Imports of Greek wines to China reached an all-time high at 2 million euros in 2011 and are achieving a mainstream level of interest here in the U.S. Venerable importer Hiram Simon, whose portfolio includes producers Kir Yianni and Tselepos, elaborated on Perpera's position. "As the cradle of European civilization and the origin of winegrowing in Europe, Greek wine culture goes back for millennia. The wines are going to be here to tell their story long after the current economic crisis is over." Focused tasters at the New Wines of Greece tasting at Prospect. Simon points to the unique character of wines produced in the most mountainous country in Europe, "Terroir has a tremendous bearing on the nature of the wines many of which are made in tiny quantities. There will always be an export market for these wines and producers working at a top level of quality will find it easier to survive." Of those tasted, notable wines included Tselepos Amalia Brut NV Moschofilero, Gaia 2010 Wild Ferment Assyrtiko, Mercouri Foloi 2011 Rhoditis, Brintzikis 2011 Agricultura, a lively blend of Trincadeira and Touriga Nacional produced in Alentejo. Tinaktorogos, Domaine Foisvos Pandrosos 2011 Muscat Blend, Kir Yianni Akakies 2011 Xinomavro, Panantonis Meden Agan 2009 Agiorgitiko, Nemeion Estate Hgemon Sovereign 2004 Agiorgitiko, and dessert wines including Parparoussis 2006 Muscat of Rio Patras and a 2003 Mavrodaphne. At the much anticipated Wines of Portugal tasting held at Terra Gallery, producer Rui Abecassis of Obrigado, Vinhos Portugal introduced his second lifestyle brand Agricultura, a lively blend of Trincadeira and Touriga Nacional produced in Alentejo. The branding was inspired by the children's tale of the ant and the grasshopper by French author Jean de La Fontaine. Abecassis, who launched Vera, a stytlish Vinho Verde in 2011, in conjunction with his business partner Bruce Schneider and iconic Portuguese winemaker Luis Duarte, added a rosé to that label this year as well. Abecassis's portfolio is imported and distributed by Matadorvino. 26 / the tasting panel / july 2012 PHOTO: GEORGE ATHANAS PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG

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