Ktima Biblia Chora – A Vine Retreat in the Pangean Mountains

Combine two well-known winemakers with a significant dose of ambition and a chunk of fine terroir, and you’ll naturally have compelling results. This is true even with Vassilis Tsaktsarlis’ and Vangelis Gerovassiliou’s unknown variety project, Biblinos Oenos, a black grape about to be registered on Greece’s “National List of Varieties.” While waiting for other historical varieties to be rediscovered in their experimental vineyard swept by Aegean and Mediterranean breezes sitting near the home of Dionysus, check out some of the wines currently available in the USA below.

Ktima Biblia Chora 2010 Biblinos Oenos
This wine is unctuous, moreish and rewarding to savor. It’s round, thick, dense and mouth-caressing with a determined youthfulness, despite turning five last year. Forward and dark berry-fruited on the nose, this wine is chunky with beautifully exuberant flavors. This finish consists mostly of milk chocolate and coconut shavings, from a still-evident dollop of new oak, but is lengthy and delicious. The acidity is so well balanced as to be near unnoticeable. Drink 2016-20

Ktima Biblia Chora 2009 Areti-Agiorgitiko
Thick and dense on the palate with teeth-coating color and palate-gripping tannins, this red is serious. It tastes of pan-seared duck and boysenberries laced with crunchy blackberries. The one detractor is its surprisingly pungent acidity that sticks out on the back palate. Still, there is a heartiness to the ripe black fruits and an overall drinkability that makes this quite pleasant. Maybe you don’t get past a glass and a half when drinking it on its own, but chances are very good that on a cold winter night with a hearty stew or ragu you’ll easily finish the bottle. Drink: 2016-18

Ktima Biblia Chora 2014 Ovilos
Composed of 50% Sémillon and 50% Assyrtiko, this wine is a 180° turn from its sister wine below. It drinks beautifully alone as well as with fresh and gooey or well-aged, crystalline cheeses as it does with rich chicken and veal dishes. Round and lush on the palate, this mid-weight wine has excellent acidic support. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of the ripe Sémillon and sharp Assyrtiko. The fleshy flavors come from a cornucopia of apricots, tangerines, persimmons and pineapples. Sprinkled on top is sweet spice and minced ginger. Not showing a single seam, this wine offers brilliant harmony. Drink: 2016-19

Ktima Biblia Chora 2012 Areti-Assyrtiko
Very pale straw in color with green highlights, this was more of an intellectual experience rather than a wine of pleasure. Its feisty, tugging acidity pulls at the back corners of the mouth while lightly stringent lemon pith spreads across and dries out the palate. It’s jacked on slate-like minerality, but with nothing more than thinly layered flavors of lemon and yellow grapefruit peel, there’s not much to find, even when the liquid warmed up. Speaking of, beware that over-chilling this wine can result in bitterness on the moderate, pithy finish. The piercing acidity is so high, the body feels down right thin. This is not a sipping wine, so serve at the table with citrus-inflected seafood. Drink: 2016-17