Georgós Greek Wines: A taste Of Greece With A California Flair

Georgos Nu Greek Wines Reds

Having visited Greece and learned about many of the indigenous grapes, I was intrigued to explore Georgós Greek Wines. The concept is creating Greek wines in Sonoma but not necessarily using California grapes. Instead, Greek grapes are shipped by boat to Sonoma in bladders.

Georgós Zanganas, an engineer from Athens, owns Georgós Wine. His family has vineyards in Greece. His love of Greek wine and its natural quality triggered the idea to bring Greek grapes to California to discover how a California winemaker could make Greek wines and incorporate them with those grown in a California wine region. Georgós chose Robert Rex as the winemaker because of his philosophy of blending grapes from different regions and microclimates. He established the winery in 2014 and now produces the wine at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Sonoma.

One might ask, why not grow Greek grape varieties in Sonoma? Georgós points out that “. The soil will not produce the same type of grapes and wine.”

Georgós makes five wines utilizing grapes from Greece or Sonoma. The grape varietals originating from Greece are Agiorgitiko and Assyrtiko. Agiorgitko comes from Olympia in the Peloponnese, an area of Southern Greece and known as one of the most widely planted grapes in Greece. The Assyrtiko grows in Santorini.

Georgos Nu Greek Wines
Georgós Nu Greek Wines

Greek Wines and the Koulara

Because of the extremely gusty winds of Santorini, grapes grow in a unique way and must be trained to grow low to the ground. Unstaked vines create a wreath-like basket shape that protects the grapes from the island’s winds and heat.

As the vines develop, they are woven into a basket with the grapes facing inside the basket’s ring. The leaves cover the grapes, protecting them from the sun and preventing them from burning. This bush training method of growing grapes is called Koulara.

Koulara Basket Trained Grape Vines
Koulara basket-trained grapevines grown in Santorini.

The grape varietals utilized from Sonoma for the wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. These come from many of Deerfield Ranches Vineyards in Kenwood.

Perhaps what makes Georgós Nu Greek Wines stand out is the very clean process used to create the wine, especially during the fermentation process. The grapes are handpicked and triple-hand sorted.

Once aged, the red wine remains in a bottle for four to five months. The whites and Rosé are immediately bottled because Georgós feels, “We make them better in Sonoma with minimal cross-flow filtration and technological manipulations.”

Georgós Greek Wines

An LA Wine Writers luncheon at Café Del Rey featured Georgós Nu Greek Wines and paired them with excellently prepared cuisine.

Georgós Ios Aphrodite’s Kiss

Ios Aphrodite’s Kiss, 2016 Rosé of Agiorgitiko: The wine is named after one of the Greek Islands in the Cyclades and also the Goddess of love. This Rosé is very dry. I loved the crisp, savory characteristic that balanced against the fruit flavors and hints of spice on the finish.

Georgos Ios Aphrodite's Kiss Rose of Agiorgitiko
Georgós Ios Aphrodite’s Kiss Rosé of Agiorgitiko

Georgós Santorini

Santorini Sophia’s Smile 2016 Assyrtiko: Named after the ancient Greek island of Santorini, where the Assyrtiko grapes are grown. Unique to this wine, 90% of the grapes ferment in stainless steel and 5% in five-year-old French oak barrels, which rounds out the wine, giving the Assyrtiko a little more texture and viscosity. The wine has a seamless quality yet holds its crispness and citrus flavors.   Notes of lemon and apple are quite apparent.

Georgós Mykonos

Mykonos Wine of Hercules 2013 Agiorgitiko: This wine is named after the Greek Island Mykonos. Agiorgitiko, a favorite wine of King Agamemnon, is also called “Blood of Hercules.” The wine blends 95% Agiorgitiko with 5% Syrah. I found the wine reminiscent of a Sangiovese with a flavor profile of dried cherry and savory herbs.

Georgos Mykonos
Georgós Mykonos

Georgós Ithaka

Ithaka Penelope’s Spell 2014: Named after the ancient Greek Island of Ithaka. This wine blends 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Agiorgitiko. On my first encounter, this wine did not show its wonderful character. Opening a second bottle of the Ithaka, I discovered a much different experience. The wine proved to be very drinkable and displayed flavors of dark fruits, including currants, which everyone at my dinner table enjoyed.

Georgos Ithaka
Georgós Ithaka

Georgós Corfu

Corfu Siren’s Lure 2014: This wine pays homage to the Greek Island of Corfu and Siren, the creature that lured sailors with music to shipwreck on the island’s rocky coast. This wine is Georgós’ interpretation of a Bordeaux Blend. The wine combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Agiorgitiko. I found the wine well-integrated and very drinkable, with floral aromas and flavors of both red and dark fruits. The wine ages in a combination of French, Hungarian, and American oak, with 35% of the barrels being new oak.

Georgos Corfu, Georgos' take on a Bordeaux Blend
Georgós Corfu, Georgos’ take on a Bordeaux Blend

Those who enjoy drinking Greek wines might want to explore Georgós Greek Wines.

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer was hosted to many of the wines sampled. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.