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Winner Details

 Greece

2019 GOLD: 4      SILVER: 9      BRONZE: 2      COMMENDED: 6
2018 GOLD: 3      SILVER: 4      BRONZE: 3      COMMENDED: 10

Our tasters on the Sommelier Wine Awards tend to be a fairly conservative lot. Not closed-minded, but certainly not prone to wild displays of excitement.

So when they start throwing around words like ‘amazing’ and ‘fantastic’ and talk about booking their summer holidays on the basis of what they’ve just tasted, you know that something seriously good has just occurred.

From a small (and, frankly, slow start) Greece has grown to be one of our more eagerly awaited categories, particularly for the whites.
But this year, both red and white wines received a rapturous reception at the first round of judging, which (and this doesn’t always happen) then translated into a raft of top medals in the second round of tasting, too.

In such an overwhelmingly positive category, it seems invidious to pick out a star, but there’s no avoiding the amazing performance by Alpha Estate. Three Golds (average price around £10) is a superlative effort.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The whites tend to be towards the good side of vegetal, with sage and chlorophyll, and with a smoky gunpowder minerality. A couple today were outstanding, with food friendliness, and great value for money.’ Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan

‘Incredible! Fantastic in terms of value. Some more fruity and approachable, at the top level very complex and rich. But very well-made wines. Nearby countries should follow the Greek lead!’ Carlos Ferreira, team leader

‘The whites were amazing! I found these extremely well balanced, and very fresh. Most were very aromatic, with acidity, lots of lemony flavours and minerality. For those prices what they’re delivering is really good.’ Tomasz Kuszneruk, Pavilion Wine

‘Greece is coming out of the house wines category into the more premium end, and they’re doing great stuff. Our red flight was fantastic.’ James Fryer, Woodhead 17

‘One advantage Greece has is that it’s competitive when it comes to price, and its reputation has been building well in the last couple years.’ Melody Wong, The Mandrake

‘I’m going to definitely go to Greece for my next holiday!’ Jim Bass, Scarlet Hotel

Award winners

Found 21 wines

Greece

Anatolikos Vineyards, M Fine Mavroudi 2016, Thrace, Greece

Gold medal winner

This ‘big, powerful wine’, according to James Fryer of Woodhead 17, earned its place on the Gold List with ‘earthy purple fruit and oak spice, with some intense acidity and well-integrated oak, as well as some velvet tannins, and some mint on the finish’. Team leader Jade Koch identified it as ‘international in style, versatile and very well integrated, with purple plum and violet notes’, while fellow team leader Nigel Lister described it as ‘tight, concentrated and elegant’.

£19.00 Southern Wine Roads

Alpha Estate, Ecosystem, Single Block, Aghia Kiriaki, Assyrtiko 2017, Amyndeon, Macedonia, Greece

Gold medal winner

With its ‘great intensity and poise’, a Gold medal was inevitable here, with Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan enjoying its ‘pepper and bright floral character, with juicy, ripe, fresh fruit and a zesty, floral finish’. Describing it as ‘a really serious wine’, Quentin Loisel of Restaurant Sat Bains spoke of ‘salty seaweed, kombu and iodine, with a fresh, light, umami finish’, while Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club found ‘herbal and stone fruit aromas, with zest and ginger complexity on the palate’.

£14.00 Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Maltby & Greek

Alpha Estate, Malagouzia, Single Vineyard Turtles 2018, Florina, Greece

Gold medal winner

From its ‘lovely fresh floral nose, with candied pear and apple’ to its ‘delicious refreshing palate, with flowers, a bit of tropical acidity, and a long chalky finish’, according to team leader Hamish Anderson, this had all the characteristics of a Gold winner. 67 Pall Mall’s Beatrice Bessi praised its ‘layers of salty and smoky character’, while team leader Charlie Young enjoyed ‘a tropical palate that remains fairly rich on the finish, with some flaky almonds’.

£8.50 Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Maltby & Greek

Alpha Estate, Xinomavro, Single Vineyard Hedgehog 2016, Amyndeon, Macedonia, Greece

Gold medal winner

As judges awarded this a well-deserved Gold, Clément Loubeyre of The Cross Kenilworth described ‘red fruit and spicy, peppery aromas, with lovely cherry, kirsch notes on the palate’, while James Fryer of Woodhead 17 found it ‘Pinot-esque, with strawberry jam, dry morello cherries and dusty spice, along with some mint and eucalyptus’. ‘Crisp, with a savoury element and a refreshing backbone – a great game-bird option when the grouse season starts,’ thought Tobias Gorn of Boisdale Restaurants.

£10.25 Hallgarten & Novum Wines, Maltby & Greek

Gerovassiliou, Malagousia 2018, Macedonia, Greece

Silver medal winner

‘A grassy, and intense nose’ presented itself to team leader Charlie Young, who thought it was ‘fairly pleasant on the palate, until the end when the acidity really comes into its own’.

£14.36 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Gerovassiliou, Viognier, Epanomi 2018, Macedonia, Greece

Silver medal winner

Beatrice Bessi of 67 Pall Mall described this as ‘an aromatic wine with a lot of yellow flowers, punctuated with essences of orange peel and saffron’.

£15.35 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Biblia Chora, Estate White, Sauvignon Blanc/Assyrtiko 2018, Macedonia, Greece

Silver medal winner

Team leader Charlie Young waxed lyrical about this Silver medal-winning wine’s ‘clean and simple fruit aromas, spiky intensity and lots of mineral flavours’, summing it up as ‘young but full of energy’.

£15.92 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Monemvasia Winery, Monemvasia Red 2009, Laconia, Greece

Silver medal winner

This opened with ‘toasted oak, leather and some spicy aromas’, according to team leader Carlos Ferreira, and was followed by ‘a beautiful, long and fresh palate, with more smoky leather, lots of cherry fruit, and very good balance’.

£13.98 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Kir Yianni, Paranga Red 2017, Macedonia, Greece

Silver medal winner

For team leader Carlos Ferreira this had ‘leather, black pepper, mushroom and pine notes, with good balance’, while Scarlet Hotel’s Jim Bass found it ‘fruit-forward and approachable, with notes of red cherry, black pepper and smoke, with some soft, silky tannins’, making it ‘a great-value pub wine’.

£8.50 Enotria&Coe

Kir Yianni, Kali Riza, Xinomavro, Vieilles Vignes 2016, Macedonia, Greece

Silver medal winner

‘Morello cherries with some leather, and the slightest hint of green pepper, leading to dried cherry fruits and some chewy tannins on the palate,’ described James Fryer of Woodhead 17, while team leader Carlos Ferreira thought the combination ‘a good option for red meat dishes’.

£12.00 Enotria&Coe

Strofilia, White Dot, Moschofilero/Malagousia 2018, Peloponnese, Greece

Silver medal winner

Team leader Charlie Young loved the ‘sweetly aromatic nose’ and was charmed by this Silver medal-winning wine’s ‘dry aromas on the palate’. He summed it up as ‘clean, decent and pure’.

£7.86 Matthew Clark

Papagiannakos, Savatiano 2018, Attica, Greece

Silver medal winner

This had ‘a ripe nose of concentrated apple and a bit of ginger’, according to Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan, who went on to describe the wine’s ‘fresh acidity, full mineral flavours yet mellow and light on the finish’.

£9.30 Boutinot

Papagiannakos, Assyrtiko 2018, Attica, Greece

Silver medal winner

Jose Luis Hernandez of Hakkasan particularly liked this wine for it's ‘hint of brioche, stone fruits and floral notes’, and was captivated by its ‘mineral intensity, high acidity and fresh floral/herb length’.

£10.75 Boutinot

Avantis Estate, Agios Chronos 2014, Evia, Greece

Bronze medal winner

‘A ferrous nose, with some green capsicum notes too, leading to velvet tannins and some oak spice on the palate, as well as some black and purple fruits, leading to a minty finish,’ said Woodhead 17’s James Fryer.

£15.16 Amathus

Kir Yianni, Paranga White 2017, Macedonia, Greece

Bronze medal winner

Beatrice Bessi of 67 Pall Mall described ‘orchard fruits’ and ‘peachy characters with a distinctive fresh salty aftertaste’ in this Bronze medal-winning wine.

£8.50 Enotria&Coe

Idaia Winery, Ocean, Thrapshathiri 2017, Crete, Greece

Commended medal winner

Avantis Estate, Dolphins Santorini 2018, Evia, Greece

Commended medal winner

£12.89 Amathus

Domaine Glinavos, Primus-Zitsa 2017, Epirus, Greece

Commended medal winner

Strofilia, Mountain Fish, Agiorgitiko 2017, Peloponnese, Greece

Commended medal winner

£7.86 Matthew Clark

Alpha Estate, Ecosytem, Reserve, Vieilles Vignes, Single Block, Barba Yannis, Xinomavro 2015, Amyndeon, Macedonia, Greece

Commended medal winner

Papagiannakos, Kalogeri Malagouzia 2018, Attica, Greece

Commended medal winner

£10.40 Boutinot

 

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