Circle of Wine Writers earlier this year, Konstantinos Lazarakis explained that he seemed to have one too many of all the wines he had brought and that he had no intention of carting them all the way back to Greece.
So we should all help ourselves to one each.
I had been impressed by all the Xinomavros and picked the first I could find which turned out to be a 2006 from Alpha Estate.
My original tasting note, along with all the others, can be found here.
Alpha Estate Xinomavro, 2006 - from ungrafted old vines grown on sand, this wine is unfiltered. The grapes are grown at altitude, which brings a freshness to the wine.
Although a 2006, it still feels youthful and primary; it is still a little closed initially but opens up over the course of a couple of days.
On the nose, there are aromas of red fruits, cherries and roasted spices.
The palate is fresh with more ripe cherry fruit, really fine tannins and a long savouriness. There are occasional hints of the herby gameyness I noted at the CWW tasting that will surely develop with further ageing.
For now, it feels extremely focused - pure ripe fruit and savouriness - and rather uncompromising; but there is a depth, elegance and sophistication behind a somewhat feisty exterior.
With aeration, it opens up more, so don't be afraid to decant or cellar for a further 5-10 years.
As Konstantinos noted, Xinomavro is a surly bitch of a grape, a mouthful of acidity and tannins - this, then, is Patti Smith: energetic, assertive and purposeful, feisty yet complex, darkly intriguing and beautiful.
I thought it would be interesting to compare this to another wine - also Greek, also a gift.
Gaia Agiorgitiko & Syrah, 2008 - from the Nemea region in the Peleponnese, the home of Agiorgitiko.
The name means St George and the style is ripe with lots of crowd pleasing fruit.
Dark purple in the glass, lots of aromas of red and black cherries, dark berry fruit, spice and a lick of oak.
Ripe with lots of crowd-pleasing fruit, floral aromas, soft tannins and some pepperiness; classy and appealing, but unchallenging, this is more Gwynneth Paltrow.
Other related articles
Greek Wines Under Different Lenses
Greek Wines at Circle of Wine Writers
Gentilini Wines, Kefalonia - Greece
Alpha Estate - website, twitter
Gaia Wines - website, twitter
Image credit - Patti Smith album http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c1/Because_the_Night_-_Patti_Smith_Group.jpg