Mavrodáphne has a long tradition of being made a semisweet red wine, and there are some fine examples of this style, but, seeing potential for a dry version, Vládi Sclávos pioneered a new expression for the variety. Sclávos comes from a long line of grapegrowers and winesellers; his ancestors left Cephalonia for Odessa more than 300 years ago and operated a large wine concern there. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Vládi’s grandfather pulled up stakes and returned to the island. Planting grapes was his first order of business. Today, Sclávos farms close to 30 acres of bush vines under biodynamics and contracts for fruit from another 30, farmed organically. The innovator of dry mavrodáphne, Sclávos is now working on securing PDO status for this style.
Monámbeles, from eighty-five-year-old vines digging their own roots through a scrabbly scree of limestone to deliver plenty of density, is explosively alive, displaying incredible concentration alongside grace and sophistication. It’s a ripe and spicy fusillade of juicy cherry-tomato pulp, tobacco, cocoa, pine, bay leaf and lavender. There’s a little Brett when this is first opened, but the volume and complexity of the fruit quickly subsume it. For barbecued chicken thighs, or chili.
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