Kir-Yianni Petra Vin de Pays de Florina TO 2005
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Kir-Yianni Petra Vin de Pays de Florina TO 2005 Tasting Notes

The Florina region is located in the northeast corner of Greek Macedonia abutting Albania on its west and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to its north. As an inland region, with more of a continental than a Mediterranean climate, Florina is cooler than much of the rest of Greece, especially considering that most of its vineyards are situated at elevations of over 1000 feet. Among red wines, the prefecture boasts the Amyndeo OPAP (Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality), based on the red Xinomavro grape. The Florina TO (regional) wines, like this Kir-Yianni Petra, are strictly dry and white. Though international varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are allowed in the appellation, the $10 Kir-Yianni is 100% Roditis, one of the most widely grown white grapes in Greece.

A clear light straw with some green tinges, the wine brings a clean medium-intensity nose redolent of peach, white flowers, banana, honey and some lemon peel. The wine is dry, with moderate acidity. On the palate, peach, pear, mineral and lemon peel are the major elements. One of my favorite aspects of this wine is a stimulating bitterness I associate with certain aperitifs; in fact, the Petra seems the ideal before dinner drink. It almost seems a shame to cloud the experience of this wine with food. The wine finishes very clean, with floral and mineral notes. The simple adjective “delicious” applies, but so does the more controversial descriptor “sensuous.” Despite the moderate acidity, this wine brings a good deal of forward flavor.

Kir-Yianni is a major wine producing entity that represents a spin-off from the powerful and ubiquitous Boutaris family. Yiannis Boutaris is the force behind the operation; the term “Kir-Yianni” is something of a familiar interpretation to his name. The company's red wines are vinified in its main location in Naoussa in central Macedonia, though the Florina holdings produce the whites like this Petra. The winery is noted for state-of-the-art facilities and internationally-educated personnel; lest that sound all-too-serious, keep in mind that Kir-Yianni has here produced an affordable regional wine that brings a true sense of fun to the table.

Verdict: Pleasure Principle
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The Greek Roditis grape may often be associated with Retsina, but if well handled it can support a wide range of wine types.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award


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