Speaking to The Drinks Business recently, George Skouras, founder of Domaine Skouras and the godfather of quality wine production in Greece, said he thought that Greek wines were now “very competitive”, but that the next step was to produce an “icon wine”, in order further to build the country’s reputation.
He went on to explain that, while there's been a revolution in quality of Greek wines over the last 30 years, Greece was yet to produce a wine that could propel the country into the limelight of international markets, in the manner of the Super Tuscan estates of Italy, or the trophy wines of California, Chile and Argentina.
An icon is born:
With the 2013 release of La Tour Melas, Greek wine now has its icon - a breathtakingly rich, full-flavoured and opulent red, fashioned in the style of top quality Pomerol, from Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines sourced originally from Bordeaux and planted 10 years ago on Kyros Melas' estate in Achinos, Greece.
As Melas' vines have matured in the vineyard, each vintage of La Tour Melas has been increasingly intense and complex, culminating in last year's 2012 release, which stole the show at a number of client tastings, where it easily held its own against far more widely acclaimed and expensive Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux and Super Tuscan wines.
Our tasting from barrel of the 2013 clearly demonstrated that the bar has been raised once again. With even greater layers of velvety fruit, earth, spices and mocha character and structure that will guarantee excellent ageing prospects - the 2013 La Tour Melas absolutely deserves to be poured alongside icon wines such as Tignanello, Sena, Opus One and Petrus.
Growing an icon wine in Greece:
Producing an icon wine in Greece has absolutely been part of Kyros Melas' ambition for his estate from day one. Speaking with us about how he came to be involved in wine, he recounted a 'road to Damascus' moment he experienced in Switzerland in the late 1990s:
"I was enjoying a fabulous old bottle of Lafleur over dinner in Geneva with an old friend, when he said that he thought it was such a pity that, with thousands of years of winemaking tradition in Greece, the country couldn't produce anything of the quality of the bottle we were enjoying that evening.
"It was at that moment that I made the decision, that producing an equal to that bottle of Lafleur in Greece was exactly what I was going to do."
As with his formula for success in his business life, Melas surrounded himself with excellence; he began by importing top quality Merlot and Cabernet Franc vines in 2001 from a contact in Bordeaux and recruited a fabulously talented young French winemaker and a highly experienced Greek-Argentine viticulturist to look after the vineyard. Fifteen years of fully organic and biodynamic viticulture and a huge amount of hard work later - and an icon was born.
While the 2013 vintage has now sold out, our shipment of the 2014 is due to arrive in London around late September / early October 2016. With the vintage looking even more promising than the 2013, we can't wait to taste the newest icon of Greek wine with you then.