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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Rioja - but not as we know it

A review of two less-mainstream Rioja styles from CVNE

Say "Rioja" and I first think of a red wine - the Tempranillo grape aged to vanilla-sweet mellowness in American oak barrels; however, it also comes in white and pink versions.

Cune Barrel Ferment Blanco 2011, £9.49, Waitrose, Tanners Wine Merchants, Christopher Piper Wines

A blend of Viura and Malvasia, golden sandy yellow.

Ripe citrus and orchard fruit, fresh clean acidity and some prominent but well-balanced toasty oak; also a touch of sherry-esque salinity.

All-round crowd-pleaser with no rough edges. Good.

A versatile food wine, match with roast white meat, pasta in creamy sauces or meaty white fish.

Cune Rosado 2012, RRP £9.49, Majestic, Ellie’s Cellar, Taylor’s Fine Wine, Partridge’s of Sloane Street

Varietal Tempranillo, crimson in the glass, aromas of red fruits and bubblegum on the nose.
More soft red fruits on the palate and clean acidity - entirely pleasant but a little bland.

I would happily serve this to guests at a summer garden party but am not convinced about the price; there are plenty of other equally good pinks at several pounds less than this.

A pleasant sipper - or match with light shellfish dishes or sushi.

Both wines provided for review.

Other related articles
The CWB Rioja-Off

CVNE - website
The Wine Society - website
Majestic - website
Waitrose - website

Friday, 23 August 2013

Two More Alsace Wines

A review of two Alsace wines - a traditional-method fizz and a Riesling-Pinot Gris blend.

Cremant d'Alsace NV, Comtes d'Isenbourg (around £14)

A Champagne-method fizz made from from Pinot Blanc; golden sandy yellow in the glass, yeasty leesiness on the nose.

Initially, it shows simple citrus and orchard fruit, but with some aeration a pleasing and more complex yeasty pungency develops with a persistence on the finish.

Good aperitif - or match with light shellfish dishes.

Black Tie 2011, Caves de Vignerons de Pfaffenheim (€10 ex cellar) 
Golden sandy yellow - Mosel-esque flavours of citrussy pineapple, ripe peach and apricot with a touch of honeyed beeswax and some sweet spice.

Good streak of fresh acidity and minerality.

Very enjoyable indeed. Good.

Match with slightly fuller dishes, such as salmon en croute, pork pie or tarte flambee.

Both wines provided for review.

Other related articles
Pinot Noir Rosé from Alsace
Le Clos du Château d’Isenbourg
Two Wines from Dopff & Irion

La Cave de Vignerons de Pfaffenheim - website

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Kefalonia - a Guide

Earlier this year, inspired by a tasting of Greek wines, I decided to take the CWB family on holiday to a Greek island.

Eschewing the prospect of being just another tourist in some large, beach-front hotel floating on a lilo in the pool by day and eating at identikit tavernas every night, I arranged for us to stay at a secluded, olive grove with just six bedrooms, a pool and breakfast on the terrace.

Ironically, despite studying classics at school, it was my first trip to Greece except for a very brief business trip to an anonymous suburb of Athens a few years ago.

So if like me, you are a Greek novice, here is a basic guide to visiting Kefalonia.

Gentilini Retreat, a 20ha olive grove in the hills above Argostoli, converted into six bed-and-breakfast bedrooms and a pool with a view of the mountains. You'll need a hire car to get around.

All the big name car hire companies are on the island, plus plenty of local ones, which tend to be cheaper, such as Pefanis. Book well in advance to get the best prices.

En Kefallinia in Lakithra serves organic traditional Greek food with refinement and elegance.

To Castro at St George's castle, the hilltop, former capital of the island just outside modern-day capital Argostoli, serves well-made home-cooked Greek food, with great views as well (the views at next-door Palatino are even better, the food less so).

Kiani Akte a seafood restaurant over the water in Argostoli; meat dishes can be a bit basic, but their fresh seafood is some of the best.

The island's native grape variety is Robola - citrussy and elegant with a minerally, white pepper finish. Pure white limestone soil makes for elegant wines, the best are from vineyards cooled by sea breezes or altitude.

The biggest producer is the Robola Co-operative, the best is Gentilini. Both do tours and cellar door sales.

Also look out for dry red Mavrodaphne (more commonly made sweet on Patras).

Mythos beer is strong, malty and crisp - it goes perfectly with a plate of pork souvlaki.

Myrtos is beautiful and perhaps the most famous (it was used for a scene in Captain Corelli), but not necessarily the most accessible and has a strong rip tide.

Beaches with lots of golden sand and shallow water are plentiful; two of the best can be found at either end of the airport at either Ammes or Minies.

With much of the island destroyed by an earthquake in 1953 and only a few remains from classical antiquity, Kefalonia is a better place for relaxation than full-on sight-seeing.

The island's mountainous landscape and winding roads are perhaps its most interesting feature, so the drive can be as much of the trip as the destination.

St George's Castle is a ruined hilltop fortress that was formerly the island's capital (allow 1 hour, plus time for a meal).

For even more spectacular views, journey up to the highest point on the island, Mt Enos 1,682m high (allow 2 hours for the drive up and down - longer if you want to go for a walk at the top).

St Gerassimo Monastery - now rebuilt, it is incongruously both ancient and modern. It features the body of the eponymous saint in a glass case (allow 30 mins).

Robola Co-operative - next to the monastery, this is the largest wine producer on the island and specialises in the island's native grape, Robola. There is an opportunity to walk around the winery and taste some of the wines (allow 30 mins).

Melissani Lake - an underground lake some 20,000 years old whose roof fell in around 5,000 years ago. Nowadays accessed via a walkway cut through the rock in the 1960s. Allow 30 mins for the visit plus time to see the water flowing out into the sea at Karavomylos and time for a meal on the sea-front.

A short drive through Sami takes you up a hill to an ancient hilltop citadel - now mostly ruins but partly restored (allow 30 mins to walk up and take in the views, more if you have a picnic up there or want to explore).

Gentilini Winery - a few kilometres from the retreat, the winery is on a cliff edge with views across the sea to Lixouri. Allow an hour or more for a guided tour and tasting with owners Marianna and Petros or wine-maker Chris Carter.

Fiskardo - a pretty fishing village at the northern tip of the island, it was unaffected by the earthquake, but has inevitably become something of a tourist magnet (allow 2 hours to wander round, browse shops and have a coffee).

Assos - another hilltop castle set on a spur, but you'll need to walk the 2km up to this one. Allow an hour to wander round the beaches and harbour of Assos and a couple of hours to walk up to the castle.

The stars - with almost no street lights, the sky over Kefalonia is beautifully clear. Greeks tend to eat out after dark, when it is cooler and the wasps have gone home, and we would typically sit out for a while whenever we got back just listening to the cicadas and looking up at the sky.

For kids
If they tire of beaches and sandcastles, take them to:

Prokris - an outdoor playpark in Mazarakata open from around 7:30 in the evening. Adults can enjoy beer and, on Saturdays, souvlaki straight from the grill.

Ionian Sea Hotel and Waterpark - take the "Turkish Slipper" ferry from Argostoli to Lixouri, follow signs to Xi beach, then turn off to the water park, an outdoor swimming pool with 5 slides, plus sun loungers for those who just want to relax.

The ferry departs every half hour and takes half an hour - allow a whole day for the entire trip.

There's plenty more that we did not have time to do - but that's the point of a holiday; always leave something to come back to.

Other related articles
Greek Wines at Circle of Wine Writers
Greek Wines Under Different Lenses
Gentilini Tasting
Robola and Robola Co-operative

Links & addresses
Gentilini Retreat - website
Robola Co-operative - Omala, 28100, Kefalonia (no website)
Gentilini Winery - website
En Kafallinia -  address (no website)
Prokris - follow signs in Mazarakata (no website)
Ionian Sea Hotel and Waterpark - Lixouri, Kefalonia (no website)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

2012 Loeb Mosel En Primeur Tasting‏

A review of the Mosel En Primeur Tasting‏ with OW Loeb

It is said that life's too short for German wine labels. With their impenetrably labyrinthine names and hidden symbols (multiple stars and gold or extra-long foil closures) to indicate subtle nuances, they have a byzantine theological complexity of sacred knowledge known only to initiated insiders.

Welcome, then, to the Da Vinci Code of wines.

With around 60 wines lined up to sample and not enough time to try them all, I asked Jancis Robinson writer Julia Harding MW what I should try. Her view was that 2012 is a good vintage and consistency is generally high and gave me a few names whose wines had especially impressed.

All wines are varietal Riesling; code is Mosel (M), Saar (S), Ruwer (R).

Prices, unless stated otherwise, are for a case of 12 In Bond, so excluding VAT (20%) and duty (£22.81 per full 9 litre).


Sybille Kuntz Kabinett Trocken (M) £72 (6) fresh, mineral, floral, precise.

Sybille Kuntz Spaetlese Trocken (M) £96 (6) floral and perfumed, spicy and exotic yet fresh.

Qba & Kabinett

Schloss Lieser Qba (M) £85 fresh, mineral, lively-buzzy and pure

Schloss Lieser Kabinett (M) £95 richer, spicier, fuller and riper

Maximin Gruenhaeuser Bruderberg, von Schubert (R) £102 zesty lime nose, lime marmalade palate with ripeness and minerality

Wolfer Goldgrube Kabinett, Daniel Vollenweider (M) £108 rich, spicy; exotic, citrus and lime zest, peach texture. Very Good.

Rausch Kabinett, Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken (S) £120 ripe and zippy. Good.


Neiderberg Helden Spaetlese, Schloss Lieser (M) £65 (6) fresh citrus, zippy acidity and ripeness with some white pepper

Wolfer Goldgrube Spaetlese, Daniel Wollenweider (M) £75 (6) zippy and limey with ripe lime marmalade

Kroever Steffensberg Spaetlese, Daniel Wollenweider (M) £75 (6) citrus and mineral nose, peachy and weighty with fresh acidity, long. Very Good.

Rausch Spaetlese, Forstmeister Geltz Zillliken (S) £92 (6) peachy, apricotty and elegant, fresh and zippy, good structure


Rausch Auslese Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken (S) £160 (6) ripe with roasted peaches, freshness and honeyed bitterness and complexity. Good.


Schwarzhofberger Eiswein, von Hoevel (M) £294 (6 halves) floral, fresh and peachy, rich and ripe.

Eitelsbacher Karthaeuserhofberg Eiswein, Christoph Tyrell (R) £795 / £395 (6 / 6 halves) richer, fuller and more complex - quite incredible. Very Good Indeed.

Recommended Wine
As Julia noted, both quality and consistency are high here, but if you were to limit yourself to just one wine, it should be Daniel Wollenweider's Wolfer Goldgruber Kabinett at £108 for 12 bottles.

Other related articles
Loeb Mosel Masterclass
Mosel Tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants
Kirchengut Wolf in the Mosel Valley

Loeb - website

Monday, 19 August 2013

The CWB Rioja-Off

A tasting of two aged Riojas from CVNE.

Rioja is Spain's answer to Bordeaux - a big, ageworthy red that often spends extended time in oak before further aging in bottle.

Aged wines have a character that is quite different from anything else - whilst modern wines for early drinking emphasise fresh, primary fruit, aged wines have an elusive, secondary harmonious mellowness.

The grape of Rioja is Tempranillo whose bramble-and-cherry flavour profile is quite different from that of Bordeaux's Cabernet and Merlot, whilst the use of American oak emphasises vanilla sweetness.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2004, £26.99, Waitrose, Majestic, Wine Society, Berry Bros, D.Byrne, Tanners, Harrods
Purplish in the glass, faded around the rim and some brick-red tinge.

Nose of bramble fruit, red and black cherries spice and mintiness with aged gaminess.

Ripe fruit on the palate, aged leathery-farmyardy-gaminess with perfectly ripe, soft velvety tannins; good savoury length and persistence - harmonious.

Balances mellowness with vibrancy - distinguished but still energetic, like an elder statesman. Classic, textbook aged Rioja. Very Good Indeed.

Match with plain-roast red meat such as beef or venison.

Viña Real Reserva 2006, £17.49, Majestic, The Wine Society, Berry Bros & Rudd, D.Byrne, Wimbledon Wine Cellars, Harrods
Purple in the glass with just some fading around the rim.

Textbook nose of bramble fruit and cherries, with sweet vanilla spice and truffley undergrowth.

Well-balanced on the palate with good fruit, fresh acidity and ripe tannins with still a touch of firmness - there is more primary fruit here and less aged character - a classy wine, but not quite in the same league as the Imperial. Good.

Match with roast lamb or beef.

Recommended Wine
Both are good, both are priced above everyday drinking levels. However, the Imperial - older, mellower, less primary and more elusive - is somehow indefinably better.

And if you've never had a wine that is starting to be properly mature, it is as good a place to start as any and see what all the fuss is about.

Both wines provided for review.
Other related articles
Aged red wines: Wines of A Certain Age, Haut-Brion vertical, Crus Bourgeois vertical
Other CWB comparative tastings: Pinot-off, Wine in Threes

CVNE - website
The Wine Society - website
Majestic - website
Waitrose - website

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Record-breaking Crisps

Dedication, dedication
Dedication, that's what you need
If you wanna be the best
If you wanna beat the rest
Oh-oh dedication's what you need;
If you wanna be a record break-er, Oooooh

"Record Breakers" theme tune, sung by Roy Castle

More than just humble slices of freshly-cut potato deep fried, Corker's Crisps are set to do what every '70s child wanted even more than to win a Blue Peter badge and that's become a record-breaker.

This September they will  unveil the world’s largest packet of crisps beating the Guinness World Record with a packet weighing 1 tonne - and what's more, it's all in a good cause.

MD, Rod Garnham explains: We are always looking for a challenge and with this one we’ve got a great incentive; we’re raising money for the Liam Fairhurst Foundation – a fantastic local charity for children suffering from terminal cancer.

After the press launch on Friday 13th September at Corkers HQ near Ely, there will be a family funfair day on Saturday 14th September from 10am to 5pm, where the public will be able to see the pack and enjoy some local food. "We planned it just as the kids go back to school to give them all something to look forward to! We guarantee they’ll have a great day full of fantastic local food, fun and games as well as entertainment on a humungous scale!"

Other related articles
Rock 'n' Roll Crisps in Space

Corkers Crisps - website, twitter

Friday, 16 August 2013

Loeb Mosel Masterclass

A masterclass of Mosel Rieslings with Brough Gurney-Randall of Loeb

An enthusiasm for Riesling is said to be the sign of a true wine geek - and whilst Pinot is expensively unreliable and top Bordeaux commands astronomical prices, unfashionable German Riesling can offer world-class, age-worthy wines at relative bargain prices.

Mosel Rieslings have a unique combination of sweet-sharpness, deftness and purity with subtle variation from vineyard to vineyard and year to year.

Light and approachable yet elegantly sophisticated, they can age for years or decades and only get more interesting with time.

In musical terms, they are the Josef Haydn of the wine world - classical, elegant, refined and nuanced, yet always easy on the ear.

2009 Sybille Kuntz Dry Estate Riesling (Mosel) £13.72 fresh, mineral with white pepper aromas, lively and crisp with a dry, mineral finish

2009 Schloss Lieser Feinherb Thomas Haag (Mosel) £13.02 very pale, dieselly nose, crisp and mineral but with balanced citrus and apricot fruit

2008 Maximin Gruenhaeuser Abtsberg Kabinett (Ruwer) £18.02 sandy pale straw, flinty minerality, ripe tropical citrus, dried pineapple pieces, weighty yet fresh

2009 Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett JJ Pruem (Mosel) £20.02 pale in the glass, yet weighty on the palate; oily texture with freshness, pure and elegant, balanced and poised. Good.

2010 Rausch Kabinett Forstmeister Zilliken (Saar) £19.92 golden yellow, dieselly nose, lots of ripe citrus, with a honeyed, peachy texture.

2010 Scharzhofberger Spaetlese Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt (Saar) £19.92 sandy yellow, flinty mineral nose, lively buzzy citrus acidity and intensity, spice and perfumey white flowers. Good.

2007 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spaetlese, JJ Pruem (Mosel) £30.12 pale yellow, mineral nose, ripe apricot and peach cut through with fresh acidity, long and complex palate with a mineral persistence. Elegance more than power.

2006 Wolfer Goldgrube Spaetlese, Daniel Vollenweider (Mosel) n/a dark sandy yellow, minerally diesel nose, full of ripe zingy sweet citrus, but fades too soon.

2004 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, JJ Pruem (Mosel) £35.02 pale in the glass, complex petrolly nose with citrus, mineral and, unusually, a hint of neoprene. Has a well-balanced richness held in check by crisp freshness - vivaceous with good length. Good.

2003 Kanzemer Hoerecker Auslese Von Hoevel (Saar) £28.62 from a hot dry vintage, a darker yellow and from a warmer year; more aged character on the nose. Tropical citrus and very rich on the palate, waxy, peachy marzipan texture and honeyed character.

1999 Eitelsbacher Karthaeuserhofberg No22 C Tyrell (Ruwer) £37.62 from a good, warm vintage, sandy yellow, complex aged nose, weighty on the palate with lively fresh lemon and pineapple fruit, good concentration and balance, surprisingly youthful still. Very Good.

Recommended wine

Given that prices here start at almost £15, we are immediately above everyday wine territory.

Yet the step-up in quality and complexity for the older wines makes the more expensive wines the better bargains - especially for the impatient or those with no storage facilities.

My top wine was the one from the last millennium - the 1999 Eitelsbacher Karthaeuserhofberg for its aged complexity.

Other related articles
Mosel Tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants
Kirchengut Wolf in the Mosel Valley

Loeb - website

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Robola of Kefalonia and Robola Co-operative‏

If the Greek island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea has a signature grape, it is Robola, for it is found almost nowhere else, despite various near-synonyms.

Despite its southerly latitude, Kefalonia is well-suited to grape-growing - the pure white limestone soil gives great elegance to the wines (and allows for ungrafted vines) whilst a combination of cooling sea breezes and altitude provide a respite from the sweltering heat of a Mediterranean summer.

At its most basic, Robola's characteristics are a a citrussy, grapefruit freshness with linear acidity and a minerally, white pepper finish; a relatively neutral grape, it shares some of the flavour characteristics of Gruener Veltliner or cool-climate Chardonnay.

More ambitious examples, from higher altitudes and older vines, show greater structure and complexity - and are sometimes aged in oak, which I'm not yet entirely convinced about.

Like Chardonnay and Gruener, Robola's relative neutrality and linear acidity makes for a very versatile food wine; at En Kefallinia, we found a half-litre of even the basic house Robola matched perfectly with dishes as varied as taramasalata, octopus, pork souvlaki and roasted vegetables.

The Robola co-operative on Kefalonia is based inland next to the St Gerasimos monastery. It represents 300 growers and produces wines from various grapes - but only Robola is exclusive to Kefalonia.

I tried three of their wines on a recent visit to the island.

Robola of Cephalonia 2012 Organic €6.10 - various vineyards, 800 - 1,000m citrus, grapefruit, aromatic, light and fresh, mineral

San Gerasimo €8.80 - single vineyard, 1,000m+ altitude, more aromatic and expressive white pepper, more elegant and nuanced, well-structured and mineral

Glykorogos €12.20 - a red dessert wine, overripe strawberries on the nose, hints of decaying aromas, fresh red cherry fruit acidity and strawberries, refreshing finish

Recommended Wine
My favourite of the three wines here was the San Gerasimo - the wines are imported by Salonica Wines.

Other related articles
Gentilini Tasting
Greek Wines at Circle of Wine Writers

Salonica Wines - website

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


I do a lodda work for charidee - but I like to keep it hush hush - Smashie, aka Mike Smash (played by Paul Whitehouse, pictured right), catchphrase

Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 40ft clipper - joke.

Prostate cancer kills around 11,000 men a year but, with early detection, can be eliminated completely.

Richard Evans, director of Dedicated Wines had a brush with prostate cancer two years ago but survived due to an early blood test.

Now he's taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race between London and Rio de Janeiro to increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for two charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Prostate Cancer UK.

Richard wants to get the message to all men that they need to ask their GPs for the simple blood test which establishes their PSA level which can then be monitored by testing at intervals throughout their lives.

Any radical changes can be an early warning sign, allowing early detection and early treatment of prostate cancer, meaning vastly improved cure and survival rates - I for one will be making an appointment with my doctor shortly.

For more information, or to make a donation, check out www.ricardoracestorio.com

And, gents of a certain age, don't forget to call your doctor.

Macmillan Cancer Support - website
Prostate Cancer UK - website
Clipper Round The World Yacht Race - website

Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/80/Smashie_and_Nicey.jpeg

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Gentilini Wines, Kefalonia - Greece

Kefalonia's Gentilini family, originally from Italy, traces its arrival on the Greek island back to the 1520s; several centuries later, in the early 20th century, the last Gentilini married a Kosmetatos and the name died out.

Marianna Kosmetatos, a direct descendent of the Gentilini-Kosmetatos line, is the current owner and manager of the Gentilini winery with husband Petros.

Both are returned expats of a sort - Marianna's father left the country after a coup and had his daughters educated in the UK, whilst Petros' family went to Australia.

Kefalonia, one of the largest and less overtly touristy Greek islands has a European, rather than Turkish, heritage that included civilised society, gilded furniture and balls but 7,000 years of history were destroyed by a huge earthquake in 1953.

Of more interest to would-be winemakers is that the island is cooled by winds from the north and is composed almost entirely of pure white limestone which reaches over 1,600m at its highest point.
The island has three PDOs - for Robola, sweet Mavrodaphne and sweet Muscat.

The Gentilini winery is just 30 years old and dates from when father Kosmetatos returned from a self-imposed exile - a man with artistic tendencies, he designed and built a house on a cliff edge with 180-degree panoramic views.

Behind it stands the vineyard, winery and tasting area. Early plantings of Chardonnay were not a great success and the focus of the vineyard is, increasingly, indigenous varieties including Mavrodaphne (made dry) and Tsaoussi.

The winery - all organic and gravity-fed (easily done on the steep hillsides) - also buys in grapes from growers both on the island and from the mainland, around 40 tons annually to make a range of red, white and rose wines of increasing quality and complexity.

Each year a number of experimental wines are made - last year was a late-harvest dessert wines, this year, with a new winemaker arrived most recently from the UK's sparkling wine industry, they are trying out a traditional-method fizz based on early-picked grapes (which, as seen below, was still fermenting when we visited).
I first tried Gentilini's Classic Robola at a presentation of Greek wines by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW for the Circle of Wine Writers earlier this year. Staying at the Gentilini Retreat - a 20ha olive grove with rooms and a pool, run by sister Eleni Kosmetatos - I was invited down to the winery for a tasting by Marianna.

With lots of temperature-controlled stainless steel and small oak barrels, quality is high - and this is reflected in the prices which start in double figures for the entry-levels wines and will push, or possibly hit, three figures for magnums of the top Reserve red.

The whites have a minerality and precise purity that reminds me somewhat of Austria much further to the north; the reds, from traditionally-sweet Mavrodaphne and fulsome, bosomy Agiorgitiko have a more crowd-pleasing fruit-forward softness, but with plenty of stuffing, too.

All wines are 2012 in bottle, except where noted, and we accompanied the tasting with some Gentilini olive oil and local graviera cheese, the name apparently taken from Gruyere.

Notes - the entry-level Gentilini wine, often sold as unlabelled house-wine by local restaurants; good, straightforward and pleasant; fresh and citrussy.

Aspro - Tsaoussi, Muscat and SB blend; low in alcohol and acidity, Tsaoussi is not a great grape for making wine and needs the support of the other grapes here. Nonetheless, the result is crisp, toastiness, white flowers, persistence, aromatic herbs.

Classic Robola - 50/50 whole bunch (for elegance) and de-stemmed (for fruit); flinty, mineral nose; crisp and mineral, persistence - incredible freshness, grown at over 500m on pebbles over limestone (tank fermented). Good.

Cellar Selection Robola - 20% barrel fermented (2 weeks plus 1 month lees stirring) harvested 2 weeks later - bigger, fuller, more texture and depth, touch of oaky toastiness on the finish, maybe needs some time for the new oak to settle down.. Good.

Rose - Moschofilero & Agiorgitiko blend (red, white & pink berries); cranberry red, bubblegum nose & red fruits (but no carbonic maceration) very crisp & mineral, quite tannic - needs food (not at all a provencal rose).

Unique Blend Red - Agiorgitiko (plus some Syrah); soft and fruit-forward, bramble with pepperiness

Eclipse 2011 - chocolatey, spicey, leathery liquorice and gaminess, fresh acidity, ripe bramble fruit, depth and persistence, minerality. Good.

Eclipse 2012 (barrel sample) more concentrated than the 2011. Very Good.

Eclipse Reserve 2012 (barrel sample) another step up again. Very Good Indeed.

Syrah 2009 - some Mavrodaphne (18m in barrel) minty, spicy, dark fruit, complex nose - soft velvety texture, pepperiness, dense structure and concentrated firmness, ripe tannins, muscular. Good.

Dessert wine (283 half-bottles made as an experiment, air-dried SB & Muscat) 12% alcohol, peachy nectarine, roasted skins, fresh acidity, savouriness and depth -  more intense than elegant. Not made commercially - which is a pity. Good.

The Robola is imported into the UK by Eclectic Wines of London SW6 3RA (mary@eclecticwines.com).

Other related articles
Greek Wines Under Different Lenses
Greek Wines at the Circle of Wine Writers

Gentilini Winery - website
Gentilini Retreat - website