2002 Kourtaki Dry White Wine (Crete)
Mild lemon, chalk and grape stems--it tastes just like a dry white country wine from Crete SHOULD taste. Pass the olives, please.
2004 Gentilini, grape Rebolla, apellation Cephalonia
Perfumed nose of flowers, citrus, and minerals with a bit of tin can thrown in, tart entry and a lagging RS on the finish that made me prefer the Cretan above.
2001 Les Trois Domaines "Guerrouane Gris" (Morocco)An interloper I couldn't resist adding to the tasting, though I was wary of the vintage. Shouldn't have been, turns out: totally delightful dry wine here with a restrained essence of tangy ruby grapefruit, strawberry and a hint of spice. No oxidation or ill signs of age, and my favorite of the three chilled wines. 75% cinsault and 25% grenache.
2003 Alpha Estate, grape Zinomavro, appellation AlmyndeonThe darkest and purplest wine on the table. Black currant with sour black cherries. Roasted meat and some spice give it complexity. The fullest bodied wine on the table and the most expensive, both of which explain it getting the most votes from the group of 25, but not mine--I found it over-extracted. $35 at K&L Wines.
2003 Skouras Grand Cuvee, grape Agiorgitiko, appellation Nemea
Reddish purple color. Floral nose with big flavors a lot like a full-bodied, serious merlot. Will reward cellaring, and I liked it quite a bit. My second, group second. $25 at K&L.
2000 Kir-Yianni, grape Xinomavro, appellation Ramnista
My WOTN. It reminded me of a tannic Santa Barbara pinot--red fruit and green herbs and a minerally earthiness. Needs to shed more tannins to come into balance, but for my tastes this wine had the package of restraint and elegance. $23 at K&L.
2003 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge
No wine divided the group more than this one. Beguiling sweet light cherry fruit with a tinge of cinnamon--indeed, Musar lite--with a long, appealing finish, but marred IMO by a bit of VA that never blew off. Those who aren't VA-sensitive loved it, however, and it got a lot of second and third place votes. $17 locally.
2002 Boutari Naoussa, grape Zinomavro, appellation NaoussaWe included this wine because, though Boutari appears to be the Gallo of Greece, their wines are ubiquitous and unavoidable and of all their line, if you walk into a store in my area and ask for a Greek red, this is the one they'll have. I was surprised at how much I liked it: cherry, cranberry and oregano with a good acidic backbone. Of all the wines, the most balanced for current drinking. Group last, my co-third with the Musar. $12 around town.
2004 Skouras, grapes Cabernet Sauv and St. George (another name for Agiorgitko)K & L's tasting notes, plus the "you won't believe how good this is for just $9" of the staff I spoke to over the phone lied. It is NOT "anything but ordinary." It is NOT "deep red", and it does NOT "have hints of sweet oak on the nose." Though I'm no fan of "sweet oak on the nose", the huge VA on this one was suffocating and the wine rather herbaceous, as in underripe. Just dreadful. But--it actually got a few first place votes and finished ahead of the Boutari, which took last place, in group voting. $9 at K&L.