Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes


2015 Gentilini Robola, Cephalonia

£14, 13%, Oddbins

Best known as the setting for Louis de Bernières' novel, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Cephalonia also makes some very tasty wines from indigenous Greek grapes. This tangy, bright, wild herb-scented white, made from Robola, will delight lovers of fiction and non-fiction alike. 





2013 Gerovassiliou, Malagousia Single Vineyard, Epanomi, Greece 2013, Epanomi

£16.99, 13.5%, Wine Rack

We have Vangelis Gerovassiliou to thank for rescuing the Malagousia grape from obscurity in the 1970s. This comes from his oldest plantings and it's typically rich, textured and scented, with grapey, musky aromas, flavours of stone fruit and orange peel and a ripe, satisfying finish. At its best with spicy food. 





2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko , Santorini

£14.95, 13%, www.winedirect.co.uk; noel Young Wines; Corks & Cases

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it's grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95. 





2012 Thymiopolous Jeunes Vignes , Naoussa

£12.50, 13.5%, Oddbins

Oddbins pioneered Greeek wines in the UK and continues to do a great job of promoting its individual, invariably good value wines. Try this pale, complex Xynomavro, which tastes like a cross between a red Burgundy and a Barolo. The tannins need food to show at their best.





NV Tetramythos, Retsina

£7.95, 13%, The Wine Society

This is no ordinary, drink-it-on-holiday Retsina. It's biodynamic, fermented in amphorae with wild yeasts and highly unusual. The pine resin notes are restrained and enjoyable, adding a Mediterranean herb like dimension to the pear, beeswax and honey fruit. The wines finishes tangy and dry. 





2010 Seméli Reserve, Nemea

£10.95, 14%, The Wine Society

It's not the easiest grape in the world to love (those tannins can be a little firm, like a Greek version of the Portuguese Baga grape) but Agiorgitiko is that country's best variety. This is a very fruity example, but it's still got backbone and acidity behind the chalky red cherry and pomegranate flavours. Make sure you eat this with robust food or cheese.





2012 Tikves Smederevka Rkaciteli, Macedonia

£6.99, 12%, Marks & Spencer

Its' great to see a UK supermarket taking a punt on a Macedonian wine made from indigenous grapes (to be strictly accurate, Rkaciteli originated in Georgia, but Smederevka is a local staple). This is a white that has maintained acidity in warm conditions, a little like Assyrtiko in Greece, and it's deliciosuly crisp and refreshing, with notes of fennel, lemon peel and a bitter twist that's reminiscent of Italy. 





2011 Domaine Thymiopoulos, Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro, Naoussa

£12.50, 13.5%, Oddbins

Xinomvaro can be pretty toothsome stuff, even when the vines are young. But this combines the Nebbiolo-like tannnins and dryness with some sweet, supple red fruits. The overall effect is vey tasty indeed, with hints of rose petal, raspberry and wild strawberry set against a background of savoury, spicy tannins. Delicious at the price.





2012 Thymiopoulos Winery, Atma Malagouzia/Roditis , Central Greece

£10, 12%, Oddbins

Greek white varieties deserve to be better appreciated, partly because theu retain acidity and pefume in a warm climate. This is a case in point: aromatic, lime-scented and surprisingly light, with good, sappy acidity and undertones of summer flowers.





2012 Hatzidakis, Assyrtikos, Santorini

£13.75, 13.5%, Oddbins

if you're flirting with Greek wines but haven't consumated the relationship yet, this is the place to start. Sourced from the volcanic island of Santorini, it's rich, spicy, yet unoaked, with plenty of weight, notes of pear and fresh hay and a thrilling backbone of stony acidity. Like a cross between a Chablis and a Rhône blend, but with a herbal, Mediterranean twist that is all its own.