A fantastic tasting: Boutari experimental wines
14 November 2015

What a tasting it was a couple of weeks ago in Athens, where we had a once in a life opportunity to taste experimental wines from Boutari going all the way back to 1988! Boutari is a legend for Greek wine and one of the biggest companies in the country owning 6 wineries and exporting all over the world.

What is spectacular about them and what is really something to admire is their focus and devotion to innovation. This is awesome and game changing in many aspects and for that Boutari deserves recognition if not applause. I would go for both…

We had the pleasure of having with us the Chief-oenologist Dr. Yiannis Voyiatzis employed by the company in 1984 and members of the Boutari family as well. The best part was that like 50 people were interested in tasting these beauties that are produced in small quantities like 250 bottles to max 5.000 bottles. Most of the wines are not available commercially although in times some were released always in very limited batches.  

The masterclass was organised in 4 flights: Flight 1 was the Aromatic varieties featuring the gorgeous Moschofilero, Flight 2 was the Naoussa Terroirs, Flight 3 a mixed bag and Flight 4 was the stickies.

Flight 1: Aromatic varieties

Moschofilero is a darling for Boutari and Voyiatzis. They know well this variety and it shows lovely in the diversity of styles produced. The sparkling Methode Traditionelle 2007 was singing, the No added Sulfur (NAS) was inviting and complex, while the Mavrofilero clone offered precision and purity of fruit. Voyiatzis and oenoligist Tzachristos commented on that trying to produce NAS wines is like going back to basics in winemaking and starting from zero.

Sparkling Moschofilero 2007 Methode Traditionnelle

(4 seasons vineyard in Arcadia at 650 m, 11% abv, 6.4 g/lt RS, TA 6.5 g/lt, 4.165 bottles produced). Consistent with my previous notes this is brilliant having developed lovely yeasty and autolytic complexity yet retaining the floral character of the variety. Delicate with excellent depth of fruit. 91/100

Moschofilero NAS No Added Sulfur 2014

(Milia vineyard in Arcadia at 650 m, 44 years old vines, 2.5 kilos/vine, TA 5.7 g/lt, 11.5% abv, 1500 bottles) Nutty with oxidative character but also fresh and leafy on palate with considerable body despite its low alcohol. Lovely wine for those seeking tha natural adventure. Try this one with a creamy pasta or risotto and let us know…88+/100

Mavrophilero clone 2014

Moschofilero presents considerable clonal variation with Asprofilero and Xanthofilero planted at just 1% while Mavrophilero which has deeper coloured berries seems to produce the best quality wines. This has a touch more alcohol 12% than the NAS and 4 g/lt TA but is very delicate and lean. Packed with bright acidity and grapefruit this is fine and delicious. 90/100

Gewurztraminer 2006

(Also from 4 seasons vineyard this has 11% abv, 1.9 g/lt rs and TA 5.5 g/lt. Just over 1.000 bottles). Smells sweet and honeyed and then you get all the spices and ginger. Fantastic complexity, rich and slightly bitter this was made for Asian cuisine and is a star. 91+/100

Flight 2: The Naoussa terroirs

Possibly the most interesting flight! In 2007 which was by the way a superb vintage for Naoussa, Boutari vinified under the same protocol (just one barrel) 30 different distinct Naoussa parcels, meaning that close to 260 bottles were produced for each. Together with Gregory we tasted 8 of them and selected 4 to present in the Masterclass. Those were 6, 7, 16 and 30; the tasting showed that 2 of them expressed the more intense personalities identified by the participants as the most complex as well. Parcels 6 and 30 were the most profound ones with parcel 7 being close enough.

I really hope that these beauties are released commercially shortly since they show what Naoussa terroir can deliver at its best.

Terroir 6-Polla Nera/Sekko

Ripe black fruit, dried tomato, mushrooms on the nose. Savoury and concentrated with very long finish this is drinking nicely now but can improve over the next 5 years. 92/100 (13.8% abv, Ph 3.56)

Terroir 7-Strantza

Fully developed with dried red fruit but also packed with firm structure. Does not have the complexity and the precision of parcels 6 and 30 yet it shows a nice effort. 88/100 (13.4%, Ph 3.54)

Terroir 16-Trilofos South

That was the most neutral and simple of the flight. Elegant but with tough tannins. 85/100 (12.9% abv, Ph 3.66)

Terroir 30-Trilofos North (Bas Karter)

Layered with a lot of the Xinomavro textbook tomato aromas that are quite highlighted. Leaner on the palate with a lot of finesse. Drink now over the next 3-5 years. 90+/100  (13.5% abv, Ph 3.75)


Flight 3: The others

Syrah 2014 NAS

From the Attica vineyard and Roxani Matsa as a vine-grower this is slightly reductive at first but blossoms nicely after 10 minutes. Blackberries, spice, leather on the nose with velvety texture on the palate and fairly long finish. Peppery and very nice. 88+/100

Rapsani varieties 2000

Interestingly including a 25% of Syrah together with the classics Xinomavro, Stavroto and Krassato. Past its best with dominant oak and fading fruit. 

Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Xinomavro 1994

From the Kozani area in western Macedonia this wine drinks nicely at this moment. Smoky with nice interplay of dried tomatoes and ripe plum combining a savoury character with high level of ripeness. Silky like a hug on the palate. 89/100

Flight 4: The stickies

Late Harvest Moschofilero 2013

14% abv and just over 100 g/lt residual sugar this is a winner. Floral, zesty and spicy with nice balance, not cloying at all. Smooth. 89/100

Liatiko 1997

Sundried Liatiko from Skalani, Crete this has around 120 g/lt residual sugar and is very fine and elegant with impeccable balance. Earthy and evolved, finishes quite long. 92/100

Vinsanto red 1992

With Mandilaria in the blend this 1992 beauty is intriguing with solid tannins. Rich and layered with 170 g/lt residual sugar it does make a statement. Lovely. 93/100

Vinsanto 1988

A rare treat for the end produced in below 2.000 bottles and matured in oak for 12 years. Lifted nose, raisins, coffee, chocolate. Concentrated, smooth on the palate with long lasting finish. Classic! 94/100 

More photos coming up


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