Kokkinomilos 1998, Domaine Tselepos.
25/2/2017. Why I love wine. Tasting the first, legendary bottling of Kokkinomilos, 1998, 100% Merlot by Domaine Tselepos, Arcadia, Greece.
Summing it up.
Intense nose of red but mainly black fruit, cherries, blackberries, sour cherry and plum. Astonishing structure for a 20years old Greek wine. Hints of cinnamon and clove. Dried blaccurrant and plum. No trace of jam(!).
The mouth is sheer elegance. Same fruit, but the tightness of the structure becomes more apparent. Light bodied for the wine I know. Longish, complex, beautiful, fine, luscious, delightful. A wine to cherish.
Tselepos’s own vineyards were planted back in 1989 on the slopes of Parnon, central Peloponnese, at an altitude of 750m and were targeted at making wines that would firstly bring out the, still hidden at the time, qualities of the Mochofilero grape. Secondly, to make a Cabernet-Merlot Bordeaux blend with the expression of the native terroir. He was immensely successful with both, which led to the decision to make two more red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, both premium and made to last, with great aging potential. It is the success of the latter we are discussing.
Used the two-prong to remove the cork, after trying carefully with normal cork-screws, and intact I did.
Transferred to carafe, let it breathe for three hours. Tried a sip and considered it my lucky day. Better than the previous bottle of the six (discovered the six-pack forgotten in the cellar), so I designed the dinner around it. A nice rump steak from my local butcher grilled rare, boiled Cyprus potatoes (homage to Yannis Tselepos, a Cypriot) with grilled onions and fresh oregano from my veranda and extra virgin olive oil. Grilled aubergine and Florina sweet red pepper salad, all by yours truly.
We had a first sip and were amazed by the finesse and structure. Sheer class. I put Jack Teargarten on the stereo and we sat back and relaxed. The food match was superb, every bite asked politely for another small sip. We wanted it to last. We could not believe the clarity and depth of the primary fruit as well as that of the tertiary one, the absence of jam, the elegance. We only longed for a little more body.
We started to speculate, maybe I left it too long in the carafe and lost its body, but no, it had clearly developed and the fruit was just as shiny, as it was when I opened it, only more succulent. The wine was getting in our minds, preparing us, as we cutting thin slices of rare beef, to meet the potato salad, to meet the salad of grilled vegetables, to envelop the wine…not enough body? Well, let us not forget that the vines at the time were just 8 years old. Time passed.
Switched to You don’t know what love is, Eddie Higgins, to mellow more and poured the last glass. We went out to the veranda for a smoke. Took a small sip. Amazed. It had grown in volume, more body there was. Let her sip, saying nothing of it. Her eyes opened too. We spoke our minds.
But, maybe it’s because by now, our palate is rounder as a result of what we are eating, she said.
I kissed her, slowly.
If that were true, then this kiss would have changed things too, said I.
We sip again. Did it? No, it did not.
We kissed again.
That is why I love wine, I told her. Because, just like your kind, it is full of surprises.