A mythological wine tasting with Georgós Nu Wines
“Come. Taste my wines and experience the glory of Greece.” So said Georgós Zanganas, company founder of Georgós Nu Wines. And so our small group of wine lovers gathered in San Francisco to listen to the myths and taste the wines made from grapes organically grown and fermented in Greece on family land. We dined on complimentary bites accompanied by tastings of his five premium varietals, each symbolically named for iconic Greek islands and gods. I was fascinated with the homage given to the gods of Georgós homeland as much as I savored the uniquely palatable tastings.
We began our tasting odyssey with the fresh and delicious 2016 Ios Aphrodite’s Kiss. Its crisp lingering taste was a great start.The wine honors both the tiny Mediterranean Cycladic island of Ios and the Greek goddess of love, pleasure and beauty. Hints of apple and peach make this unoaked vintage a perfect pairing with salad and greens.
“Fermented in Greece. Perfected in Sonoma,” Georgós explained.Thus the wines themselves come from a hybrid of premium Sonoma and Greek grapes. “Once the wines reach our shores, they are blended, finished and bottled at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Sonoma Valley where I collaborate with award-winning Winemaker Robert Rex.”
Aphrodite’s Kiss was followed by the 2016 Sophia’s Smile with a tip of the glass to Santorini. A 2016 dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with notes of lemon and apple, its citrusy nose and slight acidity amply complimented our seafood bites. This I would try it at home with grilled wild salmon and soon found myself lusting after a stash of Georgós wines for my personal collection. “In Santorini, you’ll find century-old roots on the vines,” Georgós said. “Grape growers weave the vines into a basket-like shape to provide shelter from winds and sunlight. Handpicked and triple sorted at their mountain top home, the grapes have been completely organic for centuries”
From Santorini, our mythological island hopping brought us to Ithaka, setting for Homer’s Odyssey and the story of King Odysseus. Thus, this spicy Cabernet, named “Ithaka Penelope’s Spell,” honors Odysseus’ faithful wife, who was also the daughter of Icarus. A bouquet of blackberry and currant with a light hint of leather, this vintage boasts extended barrel aging. Its depth and balance gives evidence that, like its namesake, Penelope, it would age beautifully. Gentle and well balanced, the 2014 Ithaka Penelope’s Spell Super Cab makes an excellent pairing with prime rib.
With our mythological wine tasting well under way, Georgós’ next offering lured us to the enchanted island of Mykonos. Here, the wisdom and great soul of Hercules is honored in the 2013 Mykonos Pinot Noir. According
to Georgós’ website, if you want to know how a Greek Pinot Noir style varietal should taste, this is the wine for you. Like all Georgós Super-Premium Greek Wines, this wine is handcrafted with low sulfites and 100% non-GMO grapes. In Greece, this varietal from 476 A.D is still known as the ‘Wine of Hercules” from its legacy as a palace favorite of King Agamemnon who led the Greek forces during the Trojan War.
Light and delicate, the nose is reminiscent of a strawberry patch with a hint of allspice. Long, mellow tannins lead to a lingering finish. I can see that Mykonos 2013 would pair well with a wide variety of foods complimenting, for instance, ham or chicken but still contrasting with higher acid foods like tomato sauced pasta. Georgós also recommends serving it slightly chilled in the summer, similar to a white wine.
No mention of Greek mythology would be complete without including the Sirens, those beguiling but dangerous beauties whose seductive music and voices enchanted sailors with their sultriness. Were they an apparition, an imaginary ode to loved ones left behind on distant shores or myths conjured up by storytellers of old? Georgós pays tribute to them and to the ancient Greek island of Corfu with his 2014 Super Cab blend titled Corfu “Siren’s Lure.” Georgós 2014 Cabernet blend is aged a year in the barrel where Cabernet Sauvignon forms the base, Cabernet Franc gives life, Malbec adds allure and Merlot adds enchantment. Made cleanly from triple hand sorted fruit, Corfu Siren’s Lure is extra smooth with lots of structure allowing for a very long life.
In the wake of the evening’s events, the tasting of unique and delicious blends coupled with tales of temptresses and titans told by a loquacious wine-loving raconteur, I found myself imagining yet another legendary Greek. Although Zorba wasn’t present in the flesh, I felt his spirit cast its glow around our sated group of wine lovers. and knew we would have his blessing. Look for Georgós Nu Wines at Whole Foods Markets and on the web at https://www.georgoswine.com/
For more on Santorini see: An Island in Time: Santorini