Monday, 21 June 2010

Argentina vs Greece Part II Malbec vs Agiorgitiko

Nobody does Malbec like the Argentinians.

Nobody but the Greeks does Agiorgitiko.

Frustrated that people - myself included - always think first of Retsina when Greek wine is mentioned, independent Greek wine specialists Yamas Wines' Nick Kontarines has put up a Peleponnese Agiorgitiko to take on the might of Malbec from the South American specialists. Brave man.

Because Malbec is delicious. And it is so consistent. It's often deep purple red, intense, highly aromatic and plummy fruitful.  Despite it's powerful pack of alcohol, frequently up to 14%, it's much too temptingly drinkable, especially with barbecue charred and blackened red meat. Watch out. Argento and Graffigna each create reliable versions in several ranges at prices to suit most pockets.

Somewhat fittingly, Agiorgitiko is almost in a different ball game. Also known as St. George, the grape often offers little acidity and tannin so produces wines that are best young; light to medium bodied, soft in the mouth with spiced plum fruit and dark berries, short finish, typically midweight alcohol.

Nick's candidate is from Gaia Wines. Notios 2008 is a 100% Agiorgitiko from the premium Nemea vineyards. You get a blast of young red fruit aromas then immediate green plums, with supersoft tannins and a lovely warm feel on the palate, as the 13.5% alcohol settles on the tongue. Deliciously different and a most welcome introduction to an alternative wine choice, especially to partner Mediterranean foods.

Worth discovering and worth sharing, an easy drinking Old World alternative to regional French wines and quite a contrast to generic New World varietals. 

Does it beat the Malbec? It's like apples and pears isn't it? Both fruits, impossible to compare but a change is always better than a rest.


  1. Am still in a New World wine frenzy, trying to get my lips on everything I couldn't find in Italy for 9 months; I just found Terrazas de Los Andes Afincado Malbecs (03 & 04) and thinking I better get to drinking them...

  2. I'll take the Malbecs 3-0. The team that is...


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