Rapsani Old Vines, Dougos Winery 2017
Grape: Xinomavro, Krasato, Stavroto
Suitable for Vegans: Yes
Food pairing: Try this cracking Greek wine with roast venison loin, chargrilled steak with peppercorn butter.
The Rapsani Old Vines shows a lifted and elegant bouquet of macerated strawberries and hedgerow fruits with undertones of sundried tomato, chestnut, reglisse and just a hint of meatiness. A wonderfully harmonious wine with fully-integrated and very subtle oak, bright acidity and a great structure. There is a savoury core to this wine and firm yet very fine tannins. Long and rewarding. A classic style of Xinomavro-based wine but without the harsh tannic structure of yesteryear. Comparable to a good Barbaresco.
Dougos winery was founded in 1991 by Thanos and Louiza Dougos. Thanos is the viticulturist and Louiza is the winemaker and together they make wines from indigenous Greek varieties as well as blends with international grapes. They also operate one of Greece’s oldest vine nurseries, which was established in 1950. Production is small, peaking at around 70,000 bottles per year. The winery is located in the Tempi Valley, on the foothills of Mt. Olympus, in what constitutes the PDO Rapsani, in the Thessaly region. The vineyards are planted in iron-rich schist soils at altitudes of 450-700 metres. These soils are poor and the iron content is important as it helps regulate the water capacity of the soil. The vineyards are cultivated without the use of irrigation, at low yields, and are certified organic.
The wines are very true to their origin and are always elegant, refined and expressive, and never dominated by new oak. In fact, the 300l barrels used (Acacia for the Assyrtiko and French/American oak for the reds) are always only lightly or not at all toasted, in order to not overpower the intricate qualities of the varieties. The main varieties cultivated here are the indigenous Assyrtiko, Xinomavro, Krasato, Stavroto, and Limniona. The last three varieties are local to Thessaly. By law, Rapsani PDO wines must be a blend of Xinomavro, Krasato and Stavroto. The two local varieties (Xinomavro has its home in Macedonia) are used to tame the rustic, tannic character of Xinomavro, which makes for more supple and approachable wines, though never at the expense of character or structure.