I find pottering around my wine cellar almost as therapeutic as cooking and gardening (which I don’t do anyway).
There’s something comforting and reassuring in the sight of these bottles, that promise many more days of delight in the future and the satisfaction of owning them right now. Maybe that kind of feeling was familiar to a sultan visiting his harem briefly, with no special business, and taking pleasure simply in watching his beauties. Apart from the joy of savouring the availability, known to every collector, here there’s also the possibility of surprise. Once in a while you come across a bottle which will make you say to yourself: “Where on earth did I get that from?”
That’s what happened to me the other day when I saw in the white corner 2009 Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia.
How often you see wines from Greece, and how often do you see them in your house? Was it someone’s extravagant gift? A souvenir from a trip? But after inspecting the bottle, I remembered its story. We discovered this wine with a colleague of mine last year and became so excited that we bought a case and split it between us. Yes, we definitely bought a case. I looked around trying to find the remaining bottles. But this was the last one I had.
This is by all means an unusual wine. Not only because it comes from Greece, that can challenge Italy’s title of the world’s cradle of wine. The word Malagousia refers to the grapes, and I bet it’ll be the first time you try any wine from this variety. Again, like Italy, Greece has so many grapes the names of which say nothing to a foreigner. Many of them are indigenous and can’t be seen anywhere else. Funnily enough, even Greek people not necessarily know many of them. I remember the feeling of despair when trying to choose a bottle of wine in a Greek wine shop I saw on the labels words that said nothing to me – bottle after bottle. Admitting defeat, I asked for advice – but the shopkeeper gave me a blank look instead of recommendation.
This lovely encounter with Greek wine happened in Thessaloniki. Domaine Gerovassiliou, where my Malagousia is made, is located not far away from the town, in a village Epanomi. The winery is owned by Vangelis Gerovassiliou who was born in Epanomi. Despite being local, Vangelis is very open-minded and likes to experiment with foreign grape varieties as well as with Greek ones. He was trained in Bordeaux and you can feel modern influence in his wines. Malagousia is an interesting example of trying to express the character of traditional Greek grape with keeping a modern customer in mind.
If you have ever dreamt of wine which would be a bit more steely and sharp than your Chardonnay and a bit less acidic than Sauvignon Blanc, you will like this one. The beauty of Malagousia is that you don’t know where to place it on your map of memories or expectations. It comes as a completely new, refreshing experience. This round, rich wine with flavours of citrus and crushed peach is a good companion to grilled fish, chicken and salads. Gerovassiliou recommends to try it with a traditional Greek dish, calamari. I’m happy to prove he’s right but will need another bottle for that – or probably half a case.
You can buy this wine from Laithwaite’s, although at time of publishing it is currently out of stock.