Kitrus – Syrah 2012

Macedonia is a tricky little bit of Greece in that it’s a historical region that the Greeks aren’t too keen on the country of Macedonia or, “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, calling itself as such. Just call the Macedonia country, “FYROM” to be one of the cool kids but don’t forget that Macedonia in Northern Greece is home to a great many wonderful things, like wine.

This bottle of Greek Macedonian wine I picked up in Athens last fall and while all the others from those tastings are native Greek grapes, this one is a Syrah from Kitrus Winery. Why on earth would I buy a Syrah from Greece when Syrah is literally everywhere in the world? Well, Syrah is one of the very few “international” grape varieties that I feel can move around a bit. Officially a cooler climate grape, it does quite well in hot climates as shone by what’s come out of Australia. It’s also a way to test the mettle of any winemaker as making a decent Syrah varietal wine is decently easy but to make a truly interesting wine that justifies your using Syrah, that’s a bit more difficult.

This wine is definitely decent but the vintage holds it back from being great. 2012 was a great year for some winemakers in Southern Europe who were able to big, round fruity wines. While maybe lacking a bit of acidity, they had all kinds of character, like your drunken uncle at family gatherings who would give you a chug of booze when no one was looking.

For other winemakers, it was rough vintage, like that drunk uncle when he got in to his 60s. The heat from the summer shows up in the wines after a few years in notes of dark fruits and prune notes. There may be some who are looking for that and in these terms, this wine will satisfy well. For me personally, I put it just on the one/two star cusp and seeing that the Decanter 2014 judgement had given it a Bronze, I’m sure they felt the same way when tasting it.

I hope I can try the 2013 at some point as I’m sure that would be solidly in the two star range.

Syrah 2012
Inky dark crimson in color. Crisp bits of vegetal notes. Tiny bit of bacon fat that’s downplayed by light earthiness and woodsy cedar notes. Mix of sweet spices in the mouth and overall potent body typical of the hot vintage. Sticky tannins that push widely in to the finish. Chalkiness and cured red cherry as it decants.

100% Syrah 14% 15€