For regular Kitchn readers it will come as no surprise that this week's wine of the week is Greek - a delicious, enviably food-friendly and versatile red wine from the Semeli winery which is located in the Peloponnese region of Greece.
Made from 100% Agiorgitiko, this delicious and very refreshing red is packed with bright plummy and cherry-berry fruit, with hints of anise, dried herbs and a subtle earthy minerality. Medium-bodied, the tannins are supple, yet provide enough structure to frame the wine. Not terribly complex, but with sufficient flavor concentration that persists to a moderately long, savory finish.
At the table: The refreshing acidity in this wine makes it a natural and versatile food partner. It works well with a variety of red meats, roasted or grilled, or maybe something traditional like Greek Moussaka. We enjoyed it last week with a simple bowl of spaghetti Bolognese. It is also great with hard cheeses and cured or dried meats.
About the Peloponnese, the Agioritiko and Semeli.
The Peloponnese region is located in the west of Greece and has a long history and heritage of grape growing and winemaking. Even Homer referred to the region as Ampeloessa, meaning "full of vines". Today the region is known for wines of great diversity and complexity. It is quite a rugged, mountainous region with vineyards scattered along the hillsides and plateau, which benefit from the high altitudes and cool night temperatures to produce top quality grapes. The main wine designations are Nemea, Mantinia and Patras, though there is a lot of regional Peloponnese wine produced like this flavorful Semeli Agiorgitiko.
Agiorgitiko is an indigenous Greek grape variety. It is the main black variety grown in region. It is also known as St. George and considered one of Greece's noblest black varieties, making wines that are deeply colored, quite aromatic with refreshing acidity and soft, supple tannins.
Semeli is a boutique, artisan wine producer located near the town of Koutsi, one of the highly regarded 'crus' in the Nemea area. This Semeli Agiorgitiko wine underwent a fairly classic vinification process, but with about one third of the fruit fermented whole-bunch to enhance the wine's fruitiness and maintain freshness. It was aged about 12 months in French oak barrels before bottling.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
Previous Wine of the Week: 2011 Fritz Underground Winery Estate Rosé