Stinky Wine Wednesday

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Today was a hard day, and I spent the afternoon just waiting to get home to enjoy my tasting and reporting of Wine Wednesday.

Not just was it a difficult day, but weirdly enough it was a smelly one too.  This morning as I woke, I was greeted by a back up of stench that was coming from my garbage disposal.  Whatever was down there really worked up a stink overnight.  I couldn’t even enjoy my coffee.  After cleaning it and now running late for work, I dashed from my home.

Oddly enough, there was more stench from garbage later in the day.  After enjoying  a wonderful lunch with a customer of mine that buys more wine from me than any other,  I returned to my car (which I had parallel parked around the corner from the restaurant) only to find that an overflowing garbage truck had broken down and pinned my car there. PU, very smelly.

After an unproductive day (which was due to nearly 2 hours of garbage truck hell), I returned home and immediately went down to my wine cellar and snooped around for something from Greece that would promise a nice pleasant aroma.  My mind along with my eyes scanned the shelves.  Hmmm–Malagousia would be nice with it’s floral notes.    How about that Robola that I brought from Kefalonia?  The Roditis?  Each one promised a full bouquet and I was perplexed. With a roasted super-market chicken still  in my hand, I decided to go with Ktima Biblia Chora’s Ovilos. Not only would it have a great aroma but also be fuller in body than the others. A pairing good for my gourmet pre-cooked chicken meal.  Other great pairings with this wine would be baked calamari, stuffed peppers, and veal chops.

Ovilos is a white blend of half Assyritiko and half Semillon. The 2012 vintage is at a production of 235,000 bottles. One will certainly taste the hint of oak and vanilla as the wine is matured first in new oak and then for another year in Old French Oak.

Ovilos Leykos White wine

Biblia Chora is on Mount Pangeon in Kavala which is not too far from Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. I remember the area surrounding the city all the way up to Kavala,  as my father-in-law was from Drama and I spent a good deal amount of time there .  The vineyards outside Kavala are rocky limestone with clay and have good drainage with cool breezes that  blow in from the sea and down from the mountain.

I had visited Domaine Biblia Chora just a few years before my move to the USA. They were very welcoming and told me they receive visitors all year long. We walked through the vineyards and were told about the agricultural history of the area and the modern biological cultivation.  In the modern winery, we toured around the areas of production, bottling and aging, as well as the underground cellars. We even tasted several wines in a special lounge overlooking the wine aging area.

Greek vineyard building

The wines are products of Vassilis Tsaktsarlis and Vangelis Gerovassiliou.   Vassilis Tsaktsarlis obtained his degree in Chemistry from the Aristotle University in 1988. In 1990, he continued his studies at the University of Bordeaux in France where in 1992 he received the Diploma of Oenology, Viticulture, Wine Degustation and Technology of Oenological Equipment. Returning to Greece, he worked for 10 years as the oenologist and wine production manager of the Costas Lazaridis Estate. In 1998, the plans for Biblia Chora were created and in 2001, in partnership with Vangelis Gerovassiliou, they became a reality. Since 2001, Vassilis Tsaktsarlis has guided Ktima Biblia Chora to international success as the Oenologist and Winery Chairman.



wine sampling

Back to my dinner and wine…

I plated the food, turned on some music, and called the family to dinner.   I opened the wine.  As the color of the wine  I poured was  a deep straw yellow, I was not prepared for what was next.  More stink!   I expected the aromas of apricot and honey, from the Semillon and a hint of fresh clean lemon from the Assyrtiko, but instead was hit with the smell of must.  I immediately suspected the wine was corked, but I had to taste it anyways.  (One should still taste the wine unless the smell is overwhelming bad)  I was looking forward to filling my palate with vanilla, apricots and nuts, but instead tasted no fruit, a roughness and a flat petrol-astringent like taste.  Not good.  

It happens.   Corks are natural things and they can be destroyed and contaminated by the ageing process. A corked wine is a wine which has a specific flaw that is caused by contamination by the chemical compound called 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole (TCA for short).  TCA is created by types of airborne fungi that can infest some corks. If a wine bottle is closed with a contaminated cork, the TCA slowly leaches into the wine.  A corked wine is very easy to identify. First there is the odor. To describe that smell I would say think about the smell of a wet dog or a flooded basement. Perhaps another example would be like those smelly socks or the moist towel that was in a ball too long on the floor of my son’s room.  Simply stated–the smell of must.  It will not smell good. Of course sometimes it isn’t that strong,  and it can even be a characteristic of the cork or wine. So..smell or no smell you must give it a taste.  If it is in the earliest stages of being corked it may be harder to tell but experience will teach you so just drink more. You will taste an astringent, wiry  finish, sometimes similar to paint thinner.  If it tastes and smells bad—it is bad:)

Should you have received and have identified a defective wine, return it. Don’t drink it, replace the cork and take it back to where you got it. Most every good retailer or restaurant will accept a corked or oxidized wine back. They are normally happy to replace the bottle or refund your money.  If they do not have this policy—do not go there again.

luxury cellar with table


I guess this day will just have to be chalked up to being a stinky day.  I turned to my husband, who was waiting most likely for profanities to come from my mouth, but shockingly enough to him I simply said, “Go get the Ouzo, Sweetie.”


Vineyard visit



Photos and information from


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