1/9/2022. Domaine Papagiannakos. 100%Savvatiano. Fermented only with native (or indigenous) yeasts and SO2 (sulfuric acid) free, apart from what is naturally produced during the fermentation.
Probably the only wine with around 50 or 60 i have tried under the “natural” obscure and arbitrary classification and is alive and worth mentioning four years later, though I am certain there are more. Two more were very good, but they were only two years old and not appreciably better, while this one has been tasted down to the exceptional 2016, always with very good results and impeccable style.
What sets this Savvatiano apart is its finesse and the way it brings out the differences in vintages. Without SO2 protection it evolves faster, but differently from its Kokoraki (Rooster) sibling, that is fuller, more intense and by the end of its first summer starts to develop a tropical style and loves lamb. Here we have a silky scent of dried flowers and peel of oranges, Greek Citron, Bergamot and Seville Oranges while in the mouth white stone fruit and peaches appear slowly as well. There is something effortless to the way the wine wins you over, you hardly realise it, a natural it is. Same thing with the aftertaste, it is not the length but the way it finishes you, or keeps you going, the pleasure, the sheer delight of a fine structural complexity that sits you comfortably in your bucket seat while it reads the road accurately, comfortably while assuring you that you have everything you need and nothing to prove.
As a result, you keep swirling the wine in the glass, sniffing it, sighing now and then and discussing it while taking small sips to make it last. As with sex, it is not an everyday experience.
Visiting the winery just outside Markopoulo will give more options in vintages, wines and naturally, the company of the winery crew.
It was paired with gemista risotto (see pics), but Asiatic menus and fine lamb dishes, as some delicate pastas would be better company.
Now, as far as i am concerned, the only “natural” wines are the ones that are made with grapes from uncultivated vines, left to ferment on their natural yeasts and develop to their inevitable end: bad quality vinegar. All the rest to become pleasant drinking wines, they need human intervention to many links in the chain from the vineyard to the glass, from the wines we torture to produce good quality grapes they care not for, to infinite details no winemaker will reveal.
Since so many diverse approaches to “natural” vinification create obscurity, doing away with natural on the label and specifying instead meaningful things like indigenous yeasts, or less (but specified) So2, or other differences from what we already know and do, might be a serious stand. Otherwise absurdities like Cameron Diaz’s clean wine will only be the starting point to supernatural, real, genuine, dirty (now this might be interesting) and so on. I realize that for something that is fashionable, these are just needles in the haystack, but fashion and i have been apart since my adolescence.