Memory and wine are intrinsically linked for me, and a bit like Proust’s madeleines, the aromas and flavors of certain wines can trigger remembrances of times past spent in vineyards or wineries. So it was with a sense of longing that I found myself in one of my local wine shops in Queens that features an impressive collection of Greek bottlings. I quickly searched out wines from one of the most remarkable wine regions I have ever visited: the Mantinia district in the center of Greece’s Peloponnesian Peninsula.
Because its vineyards are located upwards of 2,000 feet in altitude, Mantinia is a relatively cool grapegrowing region, with vines spreading across a majestic valley surrounded by impressive mountains that are steep, with broad scree-strewn summits. The best local grape here is Moschofilero, a white variety that makes wines that are aromatic, fresh-tasting and distinctive. One of the better producers here is Domaine Spiropoulos, and I quickly zeroed in on its 2007 Mantinia.
This wine features aromas of lemon blossom and chamomile and has flavors reminiscent of a mature German Riesling—there’s a strong minerally component to the grapefruit, lentil and crisp apple, all backed by a bracing acidity and firm structure. It was just the ticket to match with my dinner of pesto pasta, and as I savored the meal that evening, the flavors of the wine brought me back to the wild beauty of Mantinia. I rated the wine 88 points, non-blind.
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