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Details for Agiorgitiko by Gaia

AppellationPDO Neméa


The southern part of mainland Greece is the many-fingered Peloponnese peninsula.  Its rugged terrain provides an abundance of different mesoclimates, allowing it to produce wines ranging from steely, mineral whites through firm reds to luscious late harvest stickies.
Neméa in the northeast is the most important appellation, producing notably fruity reds exclusively from the Agiorgitiko grape.  Their style depends very much on altitude: the fertile valley floors produce softer, low-acid wines to be drunk young; the middle slopes produce the richest, most ageworthy reds; and the highest slopes provide fruity rosés and increasingly elegant, almost cool-climate reds.
Patras in the north is largely devoted to white wine, with fine dry whites from the Roditis variety along with traditional, lusciously sweet Muscat and equally sweet red Mavrodaphne.
The high, cool Mantinia plateau in the south is planted mainly with the indigenous white Moschofilero, whose low-alcohol, high-acid wine is notably floral.  Both still and sparkling versions are made.
The southernmost finger of the peninsula is home to the new Monemvasia-Malvasia appellation, which aims to revive the famous sweet wines shipped in medieval times from the port of Monemvasia.

Gaia Wines

One of the top producers in Greece, Gaia was founded in 1994 as a Santorini winery producing white wines from the Assyrtiko grape.  Their Thalassitis white is regarded as a benchmark example of the variety, and has been joined by an oak-aged version and one fermented using wild yeasts.
In 1996 they acquired vineyards in Nemea where they built a winery to produce reds, largely from Agiorgitiko.  Their flagship Gaia Estate is one of the most prestigious reds in Greece but they also make some more affordable Agiorgitiko wines including a rosé and a blend with Syrah.

about this wine About this wine

This is the second wine we’ve featured from Gaia Estate.  Old hands among you may remember the excellent Gaia ‘S’ red, an oaked blend of Agiorgitiko and Syrah.  That wine was deliberately international in style, while this lightly-oaked red is rather more authentically Greek.  Made entirely from the local Agiorgitiko, it’s intended to display the pure characteristics of the variety and the Neméan terroir.
Gaia’s Neméan vineyards surround their state-of-the-art winery on the hillsides above the village of Koutsi, regarded as the best sub-zone of the Neméa PDO.  This Agiorgitiko was grown in steep (15%) west-facing vineyards between 450m and 650m altitude, providing good sun exposure but cool temperatures, especially at night.  The soil is chalky clay over limestone which drains very well.
This all serves to reduce yields and concentrate flavours in the grapes; Agiorgitiko is a vigorous variety whose yields must be restrained for best results.  It also tends towards low acidity, which is counteracted by the cool nights.  Yields are further reduced by strict pruning, including early leaf removal just after fruit-set to improve airflow around Agiorgitiko’s rot-prone bunches and to expose them to more sunshine.
At optimal ripeness the grapes were hand-picked and taken to the nearby winery, where they were fully destemmed and crushed before undergoing a cold soak at 10°C for 48 hours.  Cold soaking like this extracts colour and flavour from the skins while leaving hard tannins behind.  The must was then innoculated with cultured yeasts before being fermented for around two weeks at between 14°C and 26°C, with regular pumpovers and occasional punchdowns of the cap of skins.  This is on the cool side for reds, which again reduces tannin extraction while emphasising fruit flavours.
The wine was barrel-aged for 12 months, mostly in French oak but with a small proportion of American oak.  Only 10% of the barrels were new, so the effect was mostly to soften the tannins rather than to add any obvious oak character.  Before bottling the wine was cold stabilised at 4°C to force sediment and tartaric acid crystals to precipitate out.

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