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Aristocracy Sauvignon Blanc 2005, Papaioannou Winery, Nemea, Greece

The Papaioannou (Παπαϊωάννου) Estate in the Nemea wine region of Peloponese exists since 1876 and is today one of the most respected wineries in Greece. It is reknown for its efforts to reconcile vines and soil, introducing the Terroir-thinking in Greece. It is also known for initiating biological winemaking in the country. The winery focuses on Greek Indigenous varieties like Agiorgitiko and Assyrtiko but also cultivates international varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon. Their most rewarded, thus most popular wines are made of Greek varieties though.
During our roadtrip through Nemea region we passed by Papaioannou estate but didn’t stop there. Instead I bought a bottle of Papaioannou Sauvignon Blanc (named “Aristocracy”) in a wine shop in Nemea and took it back home. After it rested some months in the fridge I thought it would be nice to taste a cool Sauvignon for savouring the last days of sunshine. And concerning Sauvignon Blanc, I have a special idea of how it must taste (or could taste depending on the region) – so I was pretty curious of how a Greek Sauvignon Blanc will taste.
Oh! Actually this wine isn’t 100% Sauvignon since there is some 15 % Malagousia, an indigenous variety known to be very aromatic with medium acidity. Anyhow, I poured a glass.
The colour is a light, cool yellow. The nose is extremely intense, with smell of white blossoms, honey, some herbs and maybe a hint of anise. After catching this very fragrant and flowery nose, one would take it as an indicator for a palate which is very much alike, with a fruity body. But the contrast between the nose and the taste couldn’t be bigger: on the palate, this wine appears bone-dry. No flowery touch, no hint of honey – just a mineral note and a crisp acidity.
I instantly felt betrayed by the nose. And my conclusion also came more than rapidly: this wine isn’t made to be drunk alone. It’s not a genius soloist but rather a team player. This wine needs food in order to taste pleasant. And not any kind of food but hot and spicy food, like Asian Food for example. The strong taste of Asian dishes might smooth out a bit the dryness and the acidity might become quite refreshing combined with some hot chilli.
But actually I doubt that my thesis I right because I have to admit that all in all I think that this is not my kind of wine. And I don’t think that I am someone who only likes perfectly balanced wines. But here the contrast is too immense. I would love to hear the opinion of someone who is into bone-dry wines though. Will he or she bear the honey-sweet and flowery nose?
In the end I’d like to mention again that this isn’t the only Papaioannou wine and for sure not one of their most popular. When I have the occasion I’d love to try their Agiorgitiko reds and Assyrtiko whites. I’m sure they’ll satisfy me more


Papaioannou’s organically grown vines

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Categories: Greece

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