It’s impossible to overestimate the influence Vangelis Gerovassiliou has had in the history and evolution of modern Greek wine. Born to a farming and grape-growing family in Epanomi he went on to study Oenology and Viticulture in Thessanloniki and Bordeaux. The knowledge and experience gained in France were instrumental to develop his world-class winemaking skills and tasting ability. On the other hand, they also made him sure of the unique potential of Greece’s terroir, grapes and heritage.
In 1981, after five years as winemaker at renowned Domaine Porto Carras, he returned to his small family vineyard and created Ktima Gerovassiliou. The original 2.5 hectares of the family holding were replanted with multiple varieties, both indigenous and international, thus marking the beginning of what is now one of Greece’s most recognisable wineries.
Ktima Gerovassiliou has since expanded considerably, now covering 72 hectares farmed under careful sustainability principles that promote biodiversity. Vangelis has also started multiple other projects, in Greece and beyond: Biblia Chora in Kavala, Dyo Ipsi in the Peloponnese, Mikra Thira in Therasia and Escapades in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Some of Gerovassiliou’s wines have become iconic household names. This could certainly be said of Avaton, an intense blend of three indigenous Greek red varieties – Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano – fermented in big oak tanks and then transferred to oak barrels for further maturation before bottling. This one is an achievement not only for its intense elegance but also for the fact that it sheds new light on three underestimated and overlooked historic grape varieties.
What’s in the glass: Intense but elegant nose of wild black and red berries, prunes, dark chocolate and mocha. Broad palate with soft tannins and the same intensity of flavour promised by the aromas, with generous plum, blackberry, dried fig, red cherry and dried fig. Long spicy finish with lingering black pepper, clove and cinnamon. One to keep in the cellar and enjoy with no rush.
Grape Variety: Limnio, Mavroudi, Mavrotragano
Region/Appellation: Epanomi PGI, NW Greece
Alcohol content: 14.5% ABV
Current vintage: 2017
Ideal serving temperature: 16ºC
Drinking window: Can be cellared for up to ten years.
Pairs perfectly with: Grilled red meat, game and pork stew.