Wine Wednesday Think Pink

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I found myself in the center of downtown Pittsburgh today, in an area called, Market Square. Market Square is an exciting part of Pittsburgh.  The ‘plateia’  at lunchtime is full with businesswomen in sneakers alongside businessmen with rolled up sleeves and jackets in hand.  They mingle among tourists from the nearby hotels, students grabbing their designer coffees from Dunkin Donuts, and salespeople, like me, who stopped to have a moment in the sunshine. There are also some strange birds mixed in that come here to feed the pigeons. 

As I sit down to stop and drink a non-designer black coffee so that I can be energized for my next appointment, I am casting an eye across the square to the under construction restaurant that will be opening there.   Poros will be the newest restaurant addition to the Big Y Group of restaurants, and I can only hope that it will be of the same caliber and excellence of the others. Pittsburgh does not have a good share of upscale Greek restaurants and I can only hope that this one is a good representation of the delicious foods and wines Greece offers and not the ‘Americanized’ versions of them.  I will be even more disappointed if the wine list doesn’t offer some of Greece’s finest. You can certainly expect a future Wine Wednesday article to be written from there:)

As I am rolling around downtown Pittsburgh with a California rose for a new customer to try.  (For those of you readers that are unaware, since I moved here from Greece, I have been supplementing my income from writing with my real job of selling wine.)   Before I even open the bottle for my customer, I am already thinking in 50 shades of PINK.   This Californian rose that I have is an awesome wine, and it gets me thinking about a pink wine for myself tonight.  However,  I am not California dreaming instead my mind is wandering around the Aegean thinking about the many rose wines I have enjoyed there.    Western Pennsylvania has not embraced pink wines as they have in the Mediterranean, and I am missing the many choices that Greek winemakers have crowded into cava markets, tavernas, restaurants and groceries.  I am seeing the world through rose colored glasses, and it seems only fitting that I will fill a glass tonight with rose colored wine!


Rose wines are still ignored by many, and I cannot understand, as they are extremely versatile. It is easy to find a rose wine that suits your taste in Greece, as with the availability of so many grape varieties and a buying public that takes no issues with drinking pink, winemakers are able to take these wines in many directions with nature’s bounty and their talents.

Xinomavro grapes (as translated sour black) make for dry or semi sweet wines that call out to be beside food. Many nice roses are created from this grape that are able to hold up next to lamb and other grilled meats, hard cheeses, charcuterie and some pasta dishes.    While fruity grapes like Agiogitiko or Kotsifali are great with most seafood from fried fish to sushi and everywhere in between.  Moscholfilero even makes a nice aromatic light wine in color and body and drinks so easy on a hot day. With around 400 indigenous varieties the possibilities are limitless. Take the grape in this week’s wine, Limniona. Do not confuse this with the Limnio grape. Limniona is indigenous to the Thessaly region. It was almost extinct, but thanks to the dedication of growers and winemakers it has acclimated itself to the climate and the thick skinned grapes show red fruit flavors.

Recently I had a visitor stay with me from Greece and they brought along a few bottles for me as a gift, one being Theopetra Estate—Rose 2014. This will be the wine I shall enjoy tonight.  I have decided that tonight I must share this wine with my father. Not only does my Dad appreciate a good glass of wine, but he will  travel down memory lane with me as this wine comes from an area that we vacationed at, Meteora.  

As stated in the Tsilili website, they are at the foot of Meteora Rocks and around the prehistoric Cave of Theopetra. Here signs of human existence and evolution are found far back into Paleolithic era. At the Cave of Theopetra, there were found, among other things, grape seeds that provoke change in the history of wine and prove the ancient coexistence of this place with the vine and the wine.

Agios-Nikalaos-Anapafsas12

In 1996, the vineyard of Meteora that had lost its glory and eminence after phylloxera in the early 20th century was revived. It stands today covering over 15 hectares surrounding the hilly slopes. This wine is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Meteora wine, and the wines belonging to this category are made from grapes of strictly defined varieties grown in selected low-yield vineyards and vinified under specific conditions in this area.  The result is high quality wines with a character representative of the terroir of the region.

Tsilili in Greece is best known for the traditional Greek spirit, Tsipouro.  Tsipouro is created from distillation of fermented grape skins. The spirit is very close to other grape distillates such as Grappa.  Let’s give three cheers for the vineyards of the Estate, as in addition to providing us with the Tsipouro that we know and love, they have a nice selection of PGI Meteora wines.  Theopetra Rose is one I consider a star within  their portfolio.  I am not alone in holding this wine in high regards as it was awarded a great gold medal in the major competition ‘Concours Mondial de Bruxelles    This wine is a blend of the indigenous grape Limniona together with the international Syrah variety. Suggested drinking is now-3 years.Theopetra rose wine

Theopetra Estate—Rose 2014

The Appearance:

Gorgeous color!   A deep dark rose cherry, undertones of tangerine color that seems to give a glow. The wine is clean.

The nose:

Immediately I get the aroma of berry (strawberry for sure) and jelly or jam. There are some spring floral scents there too. I can even detect hint of mineral.

The palate:

It closely follows the nose. a dry wine with a burst of fruit. The Limniona is certainly tasted there. The Syrah added the needed body and ‘chew’ to the wine. There is a hint of caramel, vanilla and spice. Baking spice perhaps.  The fruit flavors are complex –a mixed berry jam but also fresh fruit. Mild sweetness with a nice long finish. This is the drink for red wine drinkers this summer. Acidity is very balanced. The alcohol stings a little bit.


The wine is great on it’s own as an aperitif, but I am excited when Dad tells me there are some pork chops in the refrigerator that were to be for tomorrow’s dinner. My Mom isn’t happy that she has to replace the meal she was planning on for tomorrow and realizes also that it looks like we are not going to go out to eat tonight.  For Dad and I there is no debate, we both decide that it is time to fire up the grill, baste the chops with a bit of fig jelly and a tofu of lemon thyme and grill these chops now. 

Pork Chops

I think the wine is extremely versatile and would pair well with Greek Cuisine, but I am also thinking that this wine would be very nice with sushi, Asian inspired foods, grilled vegetables, seafood (although be careful with extremely light fish because of the red wine characteristics)

A great food pairing, on a sunny day (sunny on Pittsburgh terms) that takes me back to the time my parents visited us and we traveled to Meteora. It could be my mind playing tricks on me because I do not think my palate is that good, but I swear I can taste the same flavor profile of a nice rose wine that I had while dining at a taverna in Kastraki. I asked my Dad his favorite part of that trip, and he simply couldn’t decide. He rambled on about the monasteries atop the rocks that jet towards heaven, the room of skulls that fascinated my (at that time) 10 year old son, the icon painter that we watched while he seemed effortlessly to create a masterpiece, or the tiny little bathtub at the hotel that my son thought was made especially for him.   

Stevie

With just the thought of this wine, I am taken there again. Enjoying the experience again with my Dad.  As we are finishing up our meal, he asks me if I perhaps brought along with me a nutty sweet Mavrodaphne dessert wine that we can have with some chocolate that he has hidden from my Mom. Sorry Dad…maybe next Wednesday as I only brought the one bottle, and I have to keep my wits about me so that I can wheel my cooler bag of wines about town tomorrow.  My customer this afternoon must have been thinking pink too, as I managed to sell a few cases of that Californian Rose.  I would like to say that I am the most awesome salesperson ever, but the truth be told it was probably my enthusiasm and the stories I told them about sitting in a Greek seaside tavern, with a plate full of Calamari and a fresh Greek salad—and a fresh PINK wine in hand. 

 

 

 

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