Malagousia 'Kalogeri', Domaine Papagiannakos, Attiki, Greece 2017

Malagousia bottle (2).jpg
Malagousia bottle (2).jpg

Malagousia 'Kalogeri', Domaine Papagiannakos, Attiki, Greece 2017


If you are sceptical about Greek wine, it’s a little bit ironic, because scepticism is a word that has its roots in ancient Greece, as indeed does irony, which makes this sentence a bit meta, which also happens to be Greek... [Enough! - Ed.]. The Greeks have been making wine for nearly 3,000 years, which constitutes an awful lot of empirical tinkering, so any scepticism is surely a reflection of our misunderstanding (retsina has a lot to answer for) rather than their aptitude for making high quality wines.

This dainty, crisp and mineral white is a great testament to the zippy and refreshing whites being made from indigenous varieties throughout the Aegean. It is made from the Malagousia grape, which has its own heroic odyssey to tell, having faced almost certain extinction back in the 1970s (it is thought that its susceptibility to rot made it unpopular with growers). It was rescued from the brink by Professor Logothetis of Thessaloniki University, who collected the few remaining vines from mountain villages outside Athens and planted them in his experimental vineyard in Porto Carras. Its qualities quickly caught the attention of the renowned winemaker, Vangelis Gerovassiliou, who started producing varietal Malagousia wines that struck a chord with wine-lovers both locally and abroad and there are now over 300 hectares planted all over Greece.

When you think about that, it’s really quite amazing. Grape varieties have a unique aromatic fingerprint all of their own and if it weren’t for the efforts of those two men, the effects of those singular and irreplaceable flavour molecules on our tastebuds would have been lost to the Universe forever (if you’re not sure what forever feels like, ask Sting’s wife). 

So I’m not only recommending this because it’s a delightful wine, full of breezy springtime aromas of lime blossom and crunchy green grapes, but it’s also an opportunity to taste something that we nearly lost for all time. A Dodo pulled back from the void. 

So what is it like? The colour looks fresh and inviting, a bright silvery shimmer with green inflections. Clearly unoaked. Lemon, lime and white flowers on the nose, suggesting early-picked grapes. Crisp, zesty and thoroughly refreshing on the palate with classic Malagousia notes of peach and jasmine as well as lime, green apple and grapefruit. Very Greek, in the best sense, with a zippy fruitiness underpinned by a tight mineral grip. If you want a thirst-quenching white wine, and would like a change from Sauvignon Blanc or dry Riesling, then this is a great alternative.  Serve it ice-cold with a plate of calamari (of course!). 12.5% alc. Drink now-2020.

Critical acclaim (on previous vintage):

Jancis (Tamlyn Currin): “Elderflower, lime zest and stone scented. Salty, zesty and lots of lime. Super-refreshing. A Margarita substitute for those who don’t like tequila! Long finish. Drink 2017-2019.” 16.5 points & 'Good Value'

Andreas Larsson (who? voted the world’s best sommelier, that’s who!): “Pure nose, fresh. I like the purity of fruit here. We have a notion of fresh grapes. Feels like a very traditional variety with that grapy profile. In addition, we have some ripe pear, with lemon and lime notes. Good grip on the palate. Medium weight it has no oak, high level of acidity. Very fresh with notes of those freshly crushed grapes, lemon and lime. Quite long on the finish. Very zesty and clean. Modern vinification. Nicely made. A style that I think is most attractive to drink quite as young as possible."

Customer comments:

"The Papagiannakos is superb!" - Mr. D.M.

The wine is very nice ! many thanks for drawing it to my attention....I look forward to more!" - Mrs. L.M.

"It's fabulous! I need to order some more please." - Mr. G.S. 

"Have tried the Malagousia - excellent" - Mr. A.M. 

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