What a delicious blend of Sauvignon and Assyrtiko this is! Ktima Biblia Chora 2006 Pangeon with its 60% Sauvignon most obvious on the nose is far from the first vintage of this wine to have caught my fancy (see for example Where is Greek wine today?) but it really seems to have got into its stride now. Tasting the 2006 recently alongside Thalassitis 2006 Santorini, Gaia’s estimable but heavier example of Assyrtiko grown on its home island, made me realise just how well this mineral-laden variety blends with Sauvignon Blanc and just how well it had assimilated itself up here in Thrace in the north east of mainland Greece.
In this wine are all the minerals and lemon of Assyrtiko with real raciness and the fresh, pungency of fine Sauvignon Blanc yet it has been vinified with such a gentle hand that the overall impression is one of a particularly delicate wine. This is lovely stuff, just 12.5% alcohol, and this may be the last time it will seem so good before winter sets in. In fact the quality of this wine and the Sauvignon produced much further inland by Alpha Estate in Macedonia to the west makes me realise just how well Sauvignon Blanc can perform in Greece. These wines are refreshing enough to enjoy without food but I’d love to try them with shellfish, even oysters.
Biblia Chora (Ktima just means estate) was founded as recently as 2001 as a collaboration between celebrated winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou of Domaine Gerovassiliou in Drama and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis, who had worked for him there and subsequently worked at both Boutari and Domaine (Costa) Lazaridis. For a full and revealing profile of the operation see here. The 2006 is only the sixth vintage of the estate's flagship white from this dynamic estate. There is also a Semillon/Assyrtiko blend which I have not tasted, and a Chardonnay, which I have, plus various rather modern reds.
This wine, which would make a prefect introduction to Greek wine for the uninitiated, is quite widely available in Germany, and is also available in Ireland. In the UK, where the importer is restaurant supplier Novum, the best place to find it retail is at Noel Young ,who offers it at £9.95 – worth every penny.