Greek Chic: The Wines of Domaine Katsaros

From, by Wanda Mann
Greek Chic: The Wines of Domaine Katsaros

  Domaine Katsaros vineyardimage courtesy of Cava Spiliadis

One of wine's most ethereal qualities is its ability to transport us to new places through our sense of taste. Greece remains on my travel wish list but I've been quite intrigued by the quality of Greek wines that are increasingly available in the United States. Sipping wine in New York City with second-generation winemaker Evripidis Katsaros of Domaine Katsaros, I was transported to Greece for a few hours. It also became abundantly clear that Greek winemakers have the talent and drive to shatter any preconceived notions that consumers may have about their wines.

Domaine katsaros father and son
Two generations of winemakers: Dr. Dimitrios Katsaros, founder of Domaine Katsaros and his son Evripidis.
image courtesy of Cava Spiliadis

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Olympus, Domaine Katsaros was officially founded in 1985 by Evripidis' father; Dr. Dimitrios Katsaros. However, the winery's roots can be traced back to 1979 when Dr. Katsaros planted a small patch of vines, near the house that he had built in Krania, to make wine for his family and friends. Evripidis inherited his father's passion for winemaking and supplemented his experience by venturing abroad to France - he studied Biology at Bordeaux University and earned viticultural and oenology degrees from Burgundy University in Dijon. Evripidis took over viticulture and production at Domaine Katsaros in 2012 and the winery adheres strictly to organic principles and has been certified organic in Greece (D.I.O) since 1998.

If you want to perk up your palate with a new grape varietal, sip a glass of Xinomavro (ksee-NOH-mah-vroh) - the signature red grape of northern Greece. The name means "acid black" and the grape's high acidity and rich tannins inspire many to describe Xinomavro as having a flavor profile similar to Barolo. Domaine Katsaros Valos 2014 PGI Krania ($25) is 100% Xinomavro and a lovely expression of the varietal. With lovely aromas of rose petals and red berries, Valos certainly does not smell like Barolo but the flavors of dried red fruit and a dash of herbaceousness show similar complexity. Very food-friendly, Valos is a great match with roasted meats, mushrooms, and aged cheeses. It even works well with brick-oven pizza laden with meat and mushrooms like the one we shared at Marta in NYC.

Domaine Katsaros

Proving that international varietals can also thrive in Greece, Domaine Katsaros Chardonnay 2013 PGI Krania ($34) also shows that Chardonnay does not have to be boring. Lively with tantalizing tropical flavors, a touch of cream and vanilla, and great minerality; this is a really delicious and sophisticated wine. Refreshing enough to sip as an apéritif but substantial enough to serve with grilled seafood and lobster. In addition to Chardonnay and Xinomavro, the Domaine Katsaros portfolio includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Are you ready to sip something new? Give Greece a chance with the wines of Domaine Katsaros!

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