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What our expert thought of Gerovassiliou, Estate White Malagousia/Assyrtiko




the tasting

The Tasting


Although this wine’s colour is a slightly less than medium lemon, that’s still deeper than I would expect from these two exceptionally pale varieties.  That depth of colour hints at the skin contact it underwent before fermentation.
 
The Malagousia shows on the floral nose, which combines jasmine with fresh herb scents of basil and mint.  But there’s stony citrus here too ‐ grapefruit zest ‐ and a suggestion of sea air, both of which are probably from the Assyrtiko.  It’s a delightfully summery combination, and reminds me of whites from inland Galicia like the lemony Treixadura that we drank last October.
 
Assyrtiko really shows its hand on the palate, which features zingy acidity and intense citrus flavours of grapefruit and ripe lemons, along with some Cox’s apples.  At first the unoaked freshness makes it seem just medium-bodied but then it really builds in the mouth, developing a stony intensity that you feel as much as taste.
 
That mineral weight continues into the firm finish, which is stony and appetizingly sour, with some warming peppery spice.  Although there’s no bitterness there’s some slightly drying tannins here to offset the mouthwatering acidity.


Assessment


Assyrtiko hails from the island of Santorini, and although this wine is from mainland Greece it still tastes volcanic, as if I’d been licking lemon juice off pumice stone.  Yet that austerity is beautifully counterbalanced by the summer-scented floral nose, courtesy of the aromatic Malagousia.  Most blends arrive at some middle ground that doesn’t actually taste of the components, but I can taste both grapes in this.
 
I can also taste the effects of skilful winemaking.  Skin contact and lees aging are tricky techniques to combine, but Vangelis Gerovassiliou has employed both to great effect here.  Skin contact has boosted the aromas and added texture to the finish, while lees aging has filled out the stony, backloaded palate and contributed those little seaspray hints to the nose.
 
This is a brilliantly balanced white that proves that the whole really can be greater than the sum of the parts.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear medium- lemon
Nose

Intensity medium+

Aromas floral (jasmine), stony citrus (grapefruit zest), fresh herbs (basil, mint), mineral (sea air)

Development developing
Palate

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium++, backloaded

Intensity medium+

Flavours pithy citrus (grapefruit, ripe lemon), orchard fruit (Cox’s apple), mineral (stones)
Finish

Length medium+

Flavours spice (white pepper), mineral (stones), appetizing sour hint, not bitter but slightly drying despite acidity
Other notes
Unoaked. Can taste both grapes! Clever use of skin contact (aromas, firm finish) and lees-aging (seaspray nose, stony texture).


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