A Legendary Greek Wine: Tselepos “kokkinomylos” Merlot 2005

Be honest! Did you ever got the feeling that Miles (actor Paul Giammati) was just over reacting whenever he was talking about Merlot, in “Sideways” movie? Is it possible to hate so much this wonderful grape?

Well not me, so here are some words for a legendary Greek Wine: Tselepos “Kokkinomylos” vineyard, Merlot from 2005 vintage.A legendary Greek Red Wine: Tselepos Kokkinomylos Merlot 2005

Mr. Tselepos is a much respected winemaker in Greece, and he is of Cypriot origin. The winery was established back in 1989, at the PDO region of Mantinia in Peloponissos. This region is mostly known for the indigenous variety of Moschofilero, and the winery is a pioneer in it’s vinification. The total vineyard area cultivated is 60 he.

Today’s wine, comes from the privately owned vineyard at Kokkinomylos in Tegea, located on a hillside with a north-west orientation and clay-rocky soil, at an altitude of 780 meters. Low yields and late harvesting are the key factors in it’s vinification approach. 2005 vintage gave 15.900 bottles, after a 25 days extraction and 15 months in new oak barrels.Deep ruby color, flirting with garnet. Did i mess it up? OK stay with a tired ruby. Fully developed, complex nose of medium intensity, presenting tons of black and – oddly – red ripe cherries, plums (see bellow why those notes linked perfectly with food) sweet spice (cinnamon & cloves) and well integrated oak, mostly with smoke and less vanilla. Some ink and earthy notes were also present complementing ideally it’s good complexity.

Mouth of medium acidity, and many excellent velvety tannins. If i had to vote for wine’s best part, tannins are what i go for! Body is something less than full (medium +) and flavor intensity just high enough to make you twirl it in your mouth again and again. Long lasting full of red fruit and spices, and  bit sweet.

The spicy aromatic character of the wine, makes it ideal for eastern, equally spicy, meat dishes. My choice were beef rolls stuffed with onions, carrots, garlic, coriander, fresh basil, sweet plums (key ingredient as the wine presented it’s notes clearly) and cumin, slowly simmered in tomato sauce.

Drink now. It has potential for a few years more, but won’t benefit much.

Grape: Merlot 100%

Alcohol: 13,5%

Retail price in Greece: about 25 euros / 35$

Score: 89

Value for money: Very Good

Winery website: http://www.tselepos.gr/

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