• Mercouri Estate Daphne Nera 2015

Mercouri Estate Daphne Nera 2015

Mavrodaphne|Greece

When the world inevitably reopens, we'll dine out again and share bottles with friends and family around a big table. Come that time we'll reach for affordable, pleasing and food-friendly wines such as this Daphne Nera from the Mercouri Estate in Greece.

This is a food-wine through and through; its robust, tart profile, bittersweet berry fruit, licorice and black olive notes make for an insanely good pairing with any red-sauce pasta dish, pizza napoletana, or lamb meatballs with Greek yogurt and manouri a fresh, tangy soft Greek cheese similar to feta. It has a fair bit of tannin on the spicy red-fruited finish to accompany the herbal and espresso notes, all at a wonderfully balanced 13% abv.

Mercouri Estate is in the western edge of the Peloponnese peninsula. This strapping, red is just the latest in the estate's 151-year history. In addition to more recognizable international varieties such as Viognier, Merlot, and Syrah, they're specialists in Mavrodaphne, aka Daphne Nera, one of Greece's flagship varietals. Mavrodaphne is a red grape, indigenous to the Peloponnese, known mostly for the rich, sweet, port-like wines produced from this area. This, however, is one of the more rare dry versions, crafted to be approachable and exceptionally unique.

In the spirit of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and food, I count the days until such feasts are plausible again. And when they do, my cellar will be full of wines like this!

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