Christos Kokkalis doesn’t need to be introduced anymore. Well, at least not in Germany where the Greek once lived and worked as a pharmacist. When he started his ambitious wine venture in the Peloponese region of Greece. Germany most naturally became his primary market for selling his wines. For those who do not live in Germany: Kokkalis started his winery in the 1990’s with the goal of creating a high-end Cabernet-Sauvignon from Greece that could rival the best French growths. His wine named Trilogia first came out in 1997 and soon earned lots of praise from the press and the wine-scene. His second wine Movia is a cuvée of Cabernet and Agiorgitiko, a Greek varietal. As a third wine, Kokkalis now produces a 100% Syrah.
This fairytale-like success-story also attracted my attention and in the last years I have had his wines on several occasions and was always more than happy (here a TN of 2006 Movia). But then there was a bottle of 2008 Trilogia that had to compete in a blind tasting with various bottles from France. And our judgement was that against all these magnificent Terroir-wines it didn’t perform so well. My friend who was my whitness even said something like “this is New World trying to be Old World” and he meant that the wine had some kind of generic quality to it. Of course, I also knew that by popping a 2008 vintage, I was probably committing some kind of infanticide – just for putting our verdict into the right perspective.
So far so good. Well, maybe not that good. A few weeks later then, I read my fellow blogger’s Barry’s post on Kokkalis’ Trilogia (with quite amusing anecdotes about his trips to Greece) and commented on it, reporting about my recent experience. And what happened? Barry generously donated a bottle of his 2004 Trilogia so that I could reiterate my opinion, basing it on a more matured version of the wine.
Well, it then took a few months again (it ain’t a summer quaff) before I finally found the right occasion for popping it. That was a few days ago. A friend came over. A beautiful piece of beef was in the fridge. I did my culinary math and decided to uncork that Trilogia, now being able to perform solo and with a more appropriate level of maturity.
As usual the wine shows in the darkest fashion with an ink-like color and purple hue. Nose is without a sign of age, with very intense cassis fruit and the vanilla-notes which I found to be very much on the fore with the 2008 seem to be completely dissolved here. It probably just needs that much (100%) new oak to tame Greek Cabernet, I thought. On the palate the wine appears of great weight with still very present tannin, but coming in a smooth, fine grained form. Still lots of aging potential ahead! On the fruit side, there’s cassis in great abundance mixed with a touch of Mediterranean herbs and there’s also some kind of beefy core. In general, the wine leaves a very direct and linear impression, is not so much layered but rather compact and straightforward, shows great presence and a lengthy finish. It is in no way overripe, doesn’t appear to sweet on the fruit but rather sweet with tannin. There is a lot of Bordeaux-sense in this wine.
As you can tell from the tasting note, we enjoyed this wine very much. And it was especially a great match with a medium-rare American flank-steak. This wine is just made for accompanying beef!
Of course, one could ask how much sense it makes to grow this” international” varietal in a country that has many interesting autochton grapes, but the result definitely is a hallmark-wine, and this more matured version proves to be just delicious and showing many attributes of great Cabernets even if the Terroir character seems to be relatively little.
It became very clear that this wine needs its bottle aging. I believe you can apply the Bordeaux-rule 1 to 1: give it 10 years in the cellar and it’ll be great. I’ll definitely keep the 1 or 2 bottles I have in the cellar and wont open them before they reach that age. Meanwhile I might look out for some older vintages on the market. I am kind of tempted to put it in some kind of blind tasting again.
Thanks a lot for this bottle, Barry. As you can see we made good use of it!