I couldn’t say goodbye to a month characterized by miserable heat waves (Or were they really? Maybe we just did too much testing with too many thermometers?) without mentioning these two amazingly refreshing white wines.
Assyrtiko is one of my favorite brisk, citrus-y whites and the Zacharias 2019 doesn’t disappoint…at under $15 no less. The Zacharias winery is a young but growing producer in the Nemea region of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula, and put out its first vintage of Assyrtiko only in 2002. For a white, it has a noticeable body and brisk acidity, but is nicely balanced and has a very long finish. Bone dry, it loses nothing from its youth, ready to drink right now. And I did. The grape is indigenous to the Greek island of Santorini and some say that’s the only place where it’s truly expressed, but I say hooey. Do try one or more from the Island, though.
The wine on the left, another crisp number with the perplexing name of Mtsvane–the name of the grape–is grown in the Republic of Georgia. Brief geography lesson: Georgia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, wedged between Azerbaijan and southern Russia, and the object of rivalry between Persia, Turkey and Russia for, well, centuries. The Marani winery was founded way back in 1915, and its provenance, Kahketi, is a prestigious wine region southwest of the Caucasus mountains and not so far from the Georgian capital Tbilisi. When I saw the price, $8, I thought it had to be a mistake. I don’t even know how you could ship it for that. What I can tell you is that it’s one of the most enjoyable whites I’ve ever tasted and in the top 5 value white wines I’ve ever known.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. To avoid heat waves, put away thermometers and don’t look at weather forecasts or the dashboard of your car.