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What our expert thought of Alpha Estate, Malagouzia, 'Turtles Vineyard'




the tasting

The Tasting


Malagousia is an exceptionally pale grape, so although this wine has seen pre-fermentation skin contact it doesn’t look it, being a pale lemon colour.
 
But that skin contact does show up on the nose!  Intense white flower aromas of jasmine and camomile are first out of the glass, followed by a distinct creaminess (from lees-aging), lemony citrus and little herbal notes of mint and basil.  It smells like a lemon posset strewn with blossom and fresh herbs.  (Oh dear… I’m starting to sound like Jilly Goolden.)
 
Although very exotic and aromatic, that nose smells dry and the wine most certainly is, with zingy acidity (unusual for this grape) keeping things very fresh.  Despite that acidity and the moderate 12.5% alcohol, it’s quite weighty, with a stony, mouthfilling texture.  The intense flavours are mouthfilling too: white peach and apricot, backed by pithy lemon citrus and just a touch of tropical fruit.
 
White pepper appears on the spicy, slightly salty finish, along with an appealing sour note and a touch of chalky tannin.  It’s remarkably long, too.
 


Assessment


This wine manages to combine two styles of white that are almost never seen together.  On the one hand, it is exotically aromatic and intensely fruity, like a Gewürztraminer or an Albariño; on the other, it has the mouthfeel and minerality of classic food wines like Chablis, Muscadet or Soave.
 
That’s one of the most difficult balancing acts in wine, and this Malagouzia pulls it off brilliantly.  The last wine we drank that came close was the ‘Cutizzi’ Greco di Tufo, but that wasn’t nearly as aromatic.
 
If you’ve drunk Greek wine on holiday, you’ll know that much of it is still pretty rustic.  But the best producers like Alpha Estate are world class, and they’re generally the ones that get exported, allowing us to taste startlingly original wines like this at incredibly modest prices.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear pale lemon
Nose

Intensity pronounced

Aromas white floral (jasmine, camomile), lees (cream), citrus (lemon), fresh herbs (mint, basil). Slight initial reduction.

Development youthful
Palate

Sweetness fully dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium+, weighty for 12.5%

Intensity medium++

Flavours stone fruit (white peach, apricot), pithy citrus (lemon), mineral (stones), hint of tropical fruit (lychee)
Finish

Length long

Flavours as palate, spice (white pepper), mineral (chalk, salt), appealing sour/bitter hint
Other notes
Unoaked. Combines exotic aromas & stony minerality. Great use of skin contact (aromas, chalky finish) and lees-aging (creamy nose, stony texture).


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