Greek Wine Girl: Notes from the Greek Wine World

Greek Wine Girl Nicole Andersen has been busy living the ‘crazy’ wine life. Find out what’s new in the wine world, and why she’s loving this Greek winery right now.


 

Greek Wine Girl is back!

It’s me, Greek Wine Girl, and I’m back from my wine chaos and finally back to smacking keys to convey my message of Greek Wine love.

I can’t speak of anything in the Greek wine world without taking a moment to talk about Haridimos Hatzidakis. Our sympathies to Hazdidakis family — and to the entire Greek wine world. If you haven’t heard, in the early weeks of August, Haridimos left this world suddenly, to journey on to the next. It was way too early for all of us who have admired his wines, certainly much too early for his children and his wife who will dearly miss him — and have his work to finish. However, it was his time, and I ‘m sure the angels will be drinking much better wine now with his presence. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity, just one year ago, to spend time with him at his winery and break bread. Santorini will no doubt feel a void from his absence, I will always store those memories in my heart, and reminders will always linger when his wines are poured. To your next journey, Haridimos. May your impression be left in Heaven as it was left with all of us here. I raise my glass to you. Cheers! Memory Eternal.

 

Greek Wine Girl photo of Haridimos Hatzidakis in his wine cellar
I snapped this photo of Haridimos Hatzidakis last year in Santorini, as he showed me his wine cellar. RIP. IMAGE: Greek Wine Girl 

 

Greek wine on the road

Over the last several months the glasses have been continuously filled as more visitors arrived. Greek wines were on tour for weeks, from the U.S., to Canada, to Australia and beyond. The track shoes are on and these wineries are all in the race to get their wines in the hands of consumers’ and sommeliers’. While some wines are already here in the States and others are trying to be here, Greek wines are growing in force. While not all are home runs, there are plenty that are hard-hitting and worthy of the best wine lists in the world.

 

Promoting Greek wine

After a roller coaster year for me, I’ve gained some traction as a Greek Wine Ambassador, assisting Greek wineries with market visits and dinners. While I’ve tried many Greek wines over the years I’ve always had my OG’s (Original Group) — the core of wineries which for years I’ve held in my heart like family. I’ve pounded a lot of pavement and logged and thousands of miles to promote them. While they remain some of my favorites, I’ve been recently introduced to more wineries whose wines I’ve just enjoyed just as much. In these months I’ve gained miles and weight, as usual, and grown very fond of many of these wines.

 

Greek Wine Girl features Tsililis Winery
Greek Wine Girl Nicole Andersen is buzzing right now about Tsililis wines.  Read on to learn more.

 

The Greek winery I’m buzzing about         

My curiosity lights turned on about this winery several years back, for two reasons — their mini sparkling wines with this amazing black and white packaging (which has since been changed but is still delightful), and for tsipouro. These truly impressed me, so I was really excited when I learned I would be working with Tsilili.

Let me just clarify something quickly – I never have enough time – and space – to add all the things I want to talk about in one article. I’ve recently worked with 10 Greek wineries, all with a million wonderful things I want to share with you. However, Tsilili is the winner of this article because I want to highlight Meteora, home to Tsilili, where in this mystical and magical place, they do what they love – make people happy through a glass.

My first introduction to Tsilili was in May, when Winemaker Ioanna Tsilili conducted the tour with Wines of Greece. She’s an artsy and eclectic young woman with a style and look you won’t forget; she’s not only stunning, but also quite eloquent. Then in July, Kostas Tsilili visited Chicago. This kind and humble man is the founder and creator of Tsilili Estate, and he’s the brain child of their spirits. His estate has now become a family business.

The Tsilili family has the most incredible view and an amazing place to rest their heads at night — under the skies of Meteora. It’s a place you’ll never forget. The view is epic, with rock formations like you’ve never seen. The pictures look fake, and it’s surreal to be there. This land is also rich in history. Making wine here is likely not an easy task but, wow, what a sight to behold every day.

 

Meteora wine

Meteora is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) location in the wine world. Meteora translates to “middle of the sky.” The formation of immense pillars, is a sight that will be forever emblazoned in your mind. It’s one of the most mountainous regions in Greece. With its vertical cliff views, and immense pillars, it encompasses the lands on the river of Penurious. Zoned vineyards must be planted from 150-800 meters. It’s most known for one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox Monasteries — it’s just 2nd in importance to Mount Athos. At the foothills of the rocks of Meteora you will find a prehistoric cave, Theopetra. Scientists discovered the first traces of human presence in Greece along with other things, however the most significant were traces of grape seeds from the Middle Paleolithic era. This provides the proof that ancient existence of this place is rich in vine to wine. 


The Meteora region is known for several varieties, including Assyrtiko, Batiki, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Debina, Malagousia, Roditis, Syrah, Xinomavro, and Zalovitiko.

 

Meteora Greek Wines are a PGI
Meteora is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) for Greek wine. Recent studies show that this stunning landscape has been producing wine since the Middle Paleolithic era.

 

Theopetra

The wines of Theopetra are some of the best labels I’ve seen out of Greece thus far. With Ioanna behind that, I don’t expect anything less. On one of my trips to Greece, I was introduced to these wines when on one hot summer’s night, I indulged my curiosity and tasted her white wine. This blend of Assyrtiko and Malagousia was lovely. Incidentally, the Chicago market is also very excited about these wines, and we hope to find them here very soon, otherwise I envision a suitcase-full on my upcoming travels.

 

Robert Parkers approved

Here’s some really exciting news about these wines. The wines of Theopetra from Tsilili did very well this year with Robert Parkers Wine Advocate, which is known as the world’s most trustworthy authority. All 6 wines received 90 points or more.

Let’s see what they had to say about these wines.

 

Theopetra Estate PGI Meteora – Malagousia Assyrtiko blend

Organic and fresh wine with stunning aromas of pineapple, peaches, biscuits, and hints of fresh mint. On the palate is acidity is crisp and refreshing with around body where the fruity freshness awakens the tastebuds and the long clean herbal finish is lovely to DRINK THE ENTIRE BOTTLE ALONE.

Robert Parkers Wine Advocate – 92 points

 

Theopetra Estate PGI Meteora – Syrah – Limniona- Cabernet Sauvignon

This organic wine gets 12 months in a mix of French and American oak giving its deep ruby red color. It’s full of fruity aromas like plums, sour cherries, blackberries, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, and the sweetness of chocolate as well. The palate strikes with a round and full body hitting a velvet playground of tannins. The red and black fruits, and sweet and spice with a long and complex finish, are a grand slam Ménage a trois from Theopetra estate.

Robert Parkers Wine advocate – 90 points  

 

Stay tuned for more Greek wine news

I promise I won’t take so long next time to bring you the latest from the Greek wine world. There are so many great Greek wines to drink, and so many great stories to tell. Until then, cheers!

Learn more about Tsilili wines their website and on Facebook


More from Greek Wine Girl:

Don’t Be Too Quick to Write-off Retsina

Notes from the Vine: Spreading the Word about Greek Wine

Greece and Her Wine – Part I


 

Nicole Andersen
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Nicole Andersen

Nicole Andersen, a.k.a. Greek Wine Girl, is a sommelier, and a 17-year veteran of the restaurant business. In 2010, she began burning the midnight oil, studying wine. In this capacity, she was introduced to the world of Greece and her wines. The quest to study them and a great passion for Greece and Greek wine was born.
Nicole Andersen
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