LA TOUR MELAS - WORLD-CLASS REDS AND ROSÉS FROM A PIONEER OF MODERN GREEK WINEMAKING
FRIDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2023 | BY ZOE HODGE, PRIVATE CLIENT SALES
Kyros Melas wasn't kidding when he wagered that his homeland of Greece could produce a "First Growth" bottle better than the Bordeaux he was being served at a dinner party in Zurich some twenty years ago. He left the dinner with a new ambition and began planting the vineyard of La Tour Melas in the year 2000.
He chose a site near the village of Achinos in Central Greece, where sloping terraces face north-east towards the Gulf of Evia. The effect of cooling sea breezes, along with analysis of the soil, made this an ideal location to produce a stunning range of rosés and reds.
La Tour Melas' rosés in particular have gathered a strong following, and we are enormously pleased to import them into the UK, along with their impressive reds. Kyros set out to measure up against top Bordeaux, which he has done with his Cabernet Franc and Merlot blends. But the stand-out here is from a Greek variety, Agiorgitiko. The wine, Palies Rizes, comes from 100+ year old, ungrafted 'Franc de Pied' vines.
La Tour Melas represents everything that is exciting and delicious in Greek winemaking at the moment. Indeed, these wines are not just some of the best in Greece; they have become benchmarks for the premier wine regions around the globe.
A combination of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Greek variety Agiorgitiko. More extended skin contact and the use of saignée method (a portion taken from a red wine ferment in its early stages) give this rosé more body. Notes of wild strawberry, raspberry, peach and jasmine.
£18.50 per bottle
IDYLLE D’ACHINOS 2022
Agiorgitiko from old vines lends stronger concentration to this rosé. Saignée and direct pressing is used again, with a cool ferment and a minimum of 4 month lees ageing. A phenomenal pink to rival the best of that other celebrated French wine region, Provence. A delicious silky texture, delicate wild red berry fruits, hints of sea air and dried wild herbs.
£26.00 per bottle
CYRUS ONE 2021
The schist and marl limestone found in La Tour Melas' subsoil is ideal for the cultivation of low-yielding Cabernet Franc and Merlot vines. Cyrus One combines this fruit with Agiorgitiko from Nemea in the Peloponnese. Wild yeast is used in the fermentation and the wine is unfiltered, before undergoing 13 months of ageing in 225-400 litre French oak barrels. The quality of winemaking is all too apparent, with velvet tannins and plump mulberry, cassis and dark chocolate. Approachable yet classy and very, very moreish.
£32.50 per bottle
LA TOUR MELAS 2020
60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot, vinified in small parcels in open-top barrels. Again, wild yeasts, no fining, no filtration. 70% new French 225-litre oak barrels were used for 22 months. Intense aromas of cassis and liquorice with savoury notes of sage and thyme; notes of dark chocolate, graphite and fresh tobacco mingle with the fresh fruit. Precise and dense, the wine shows supple tannins that play with flavours of blackberry, dark chocolate and eucalyptus. A perfect balance of fresh acidity followed by deep rich fruit, yet not overblown. An extremely high-quality, sophisticated red which should age for decades. A benchmark for what can be achieved with Bordeaux varieties in Greece.
£140.00 per bottle
PALIES RIZES 2020
A contender for the fine wine of Greece. 100% Agiorgitiko from ungrafted 'Franc de Pied' vines of more than 100 years, with minuscule yields of just 15 hl/ha. 80% of vinification takes place in inox tanks, with 20% in barrels. Wild yeast fermentation, with malolactic, is followed by 15 months of ageing in 400 litre Austrian oak. A lifted aroma of raspberry, violets, bramble fruits, crushed rocks, cacao, thyme and rosemary. Finely balanced, poised red with beautifully constructed filigree tannins and an exceptionally long finish. Taut and restrained, but already delicious; this has years ahead of it and should be decanted at least a couple of hours ahead of serving.
£209 per bottle