Saturday, June 26, 2010

Italy vs. Greece


This was another match in our little World Cup of Wine preliminaries where the arbitrarily seeded country should easily put the bottle of an upstart challenger to rest. When I think of Greek wine, it's usually white house wines in Greek restaurants (don't mention retsina though, please) - not red wine.

On the other hand, the Italians and red wine go pretty much hand in hand at our pasta-loving dinner table.

498. 2004 Prunotto Fiulot (DOC Barbera d'Asti - Italy)

499. 2007 Boutari Agioritiko (Nemea - Greece)

I've got to say that the taste-off was a lot closer than I had expected. The Greek wine was quite palatable, while, as much as I like Prunotto as a producer, the Fiulot wasn't nearly all that I'd hoped for.

Generally, I find the Barbera varietal to produce approachable wines, with less tannin and a bit more fruit on them than a lot of the big Italian reds. I wasn't so captivated by this bottle - although it was still drinking fine and was a more developed wine than the Boutari. Alternatively though, the Boutari was made to highlight the fruit - perhaps a bit too much as it didn't have a lot of structure to it.

The Boutari label talks of Agiorgitiko as being "Greece's most talented red grape." That might be, but it didn't quite match up to the talent found in the Italian glass - even if the Prunotto wasn't my favourite bottle of Barbera.

As it ended, Italy gets a tentative win into the quarter-finals, but it will have to up its game to keep moving on. The Greek wine wins in the fact that I'd actually consider buying another bottle the next time we eat souvlaki - plus, I get to add the Agiorgitiko varietal to my list for the Wine Century Club.

I'd score it 2-1 (mostly because the Greek wine deserves a point but the Prunotto deserves the win).

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