Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wine books (2). The Greek illustrated Wine Book, by Nico Manessis

This book, released in the year 2000, is mostly given - as were his previous works - to wine tasting notes and the profiling of wine producers. The description of the characters, carefully worked with Nicos' known love for people, bring the reader close to the personalities behind the effort, the quality leap, of Greek wine-making. Small details related to the history of the wineries, of the simple people involved beyond the owners, elements which would have been overlooked by another author, are those which not only specially mark The Illustrated Greek Wine Book but also allow it to touch the reader - even the one with little knowledge of Greek wine reality. This is accomplished without ignoring for an instant the importance of the raw material for the production of quality wines: the grapes.

the text from the book:"...Sitia-born Yiannis Economou, completed his degree in agriculture from Milan, then worked in Germany, Piedmont and at Chateau Margaux. In 1994, he moved to the Cretan village of Ziros, 600 metres up on a circular olateau ringed by mountains, and opened his modest winery. The microclimate here, in Greece's most southern vineyard, guarantees cool growing conditions in spite of low latitude - harvesting takes place from mid-to late September. Wines this far south owe their balanced acidity to the soil's pH (6). White grapes grow in limestoneand clay, red grapes in limestone and oxide-rich red soils. Original - rootstock vines are aged between 30 and 100 years - the plate Liatiko has more colour here than it does anywhere else on Crete. Economou's winery is housed in a large, old farmhouse equipped with stainless-steel must cooling units and packed with 50 casks. His wines are made with traditional elbow grease and improve with every vintage. A thoughtful, meticulous, patient man, he protests that he still does not know "the true potential of these wines". But, because of his brave endeavour, this forgotten plateua has acquired a new lease of lifeand a fair chance of eventual recognition..."
Please notice that harvesting takes place from mid August to mid October.