Merlot from Greece? Eureka!

Merlot from Greece? Eureka!

You'll find yourself going back to sip this wine over and over again

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Many of you are familiar with the term “Super Tuscan”: Italian wines that include Bordeaux-origin grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Well, the Italians don’t have that particular market cornered. Spain, Portugal and Greece have been doing the same for a while now. Today’s wine is from Macedonia, located in northern Greece. It is based on Merlot, with equal parts of the native Xinomavro grape, and Syrah. I had my doubts going in on this, but the wine is a delight. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for with beautiful balance and joyful drinking.

2016 Paranga Red, Kir Yianni Estate $18 srp

Deep ruby in color. The bouquet suggests blackberry, tobacco, tea, smoke and a touch of menthol. The lack of oak aging brings its fruit focus to the fore. Flavors are mild and smooth with plum, licorice and spicy clove elements. Medium bodied with a lithe texture overall, I found myself going back to sip it over and over again. (50% Merlot, 25% Xinomavro, 25% Syrah) Drink now-2019.

89/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.