2022 Nicoluzo, PGI Corfu "Cacotrigi"
2022 Nicoluzo, PGI Corfu "Cacotrigi"

2022 Nicoluzo, PGI Corfu "Cacotrigi"

Corfu, Greece 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$40.00

2022 Nicoluzo, PGI Corfu "Cacotrigi"

Today we have a tale of the very old, and the very new. The old is the winemaking tradition of Corfu, Greece’s second largest island, which goes back thousands of years. The new is Anastasios Nicoluzo, a talented farmer, winemaker, and student of Corfu history who has resurrected the ancient grape variety of Cacotrigi and crafted one of the most refreshingly balanced, sneakily complex Greek Island whites that we’ve tasted all year. And the stunning thing is he accomplished that in just a little over a decade. It’s a delicious combination of antiquity and modernity, and it’s also extremely rare (588 bottles came to the U.S.). This is your one chance to experience this truly distinct wine, seriously, you can’t find it anywhere else. Don’t miss out!

Looking for the perfect travel destination to combine ancient human history with natural beauty? Look no further than the gorgeous, historic island of Corfu where the Ionian Sea laps at a rugged coastline on the far northwestern edge of Greece, near the border of Albania. Grape vines, both domesticated and wild, have grown here for countless millennia and wine has been an integral part of the island’s culture for at least 6000 years. But the winery of Nicoluzo dates back to 2008, which might as well be yesterday in relative terms. Anastasios isn’t really a newcomer to Corfu viticulture though; his grandfather (for whom he is named) was an avid grape grower and non-commercial winemaker, and he can trace his family’s winemaking roots on this island to at least the 18th century. 

Armed with that long generational knowledge and a passion for the history of his home, Anastasios began studying Corfiot viticulture in the early 2000s, and slowly acquired a bit of land at the foot of Mount Istoni, which he planted to some very rare varieties including the almost extinct Cacotrigi. In 2008 he produced his first wines and today he continues to cultivate a sparse three hectares of vines and is devoted to wines that preserve the terroir and traditions of Corfu. 

Some of those traditions are steadfastly Greek, while others would be more familiar on the other side of the Adriatic, in Italy. That’s not surprising since the Venetians essentially owned and ruled Corfu from 1386 to 1797, imparting a heavy influence on the architecture, language, and not surprisingly wine. Anastasios fully embraces that Greco-Italian winemaking tradition, but he also marches to the beat of his own drum and takes cues from winemakers he respects throughout Europe. One non-traditional technique he employs is the use of 300 liter barrels, of both French and American oak, when aging his pure Cacotrigi bottling. This adds depth, complexity, and texture to this ancient variety that is named in records as far back as the 12th century BCE. 

That barrel aging does not impart overt oak flavors though, as Anastosios doesn’t use new or heavily toasted oak, and the clear, island minerality and sunny acidity of Cacotrigi shines right through. There are definitely parallels here to the more globally successful Greek Island whites that hail from the Aegean side (Assyrtiko, we’re looking at you) but the Ionian climate, and the limestone dominant soils here, produce a more mineral and subtle island wine. Given the geology and winemaking it’s hard not to make comparisons to top tier Chablis, but without any offense towards our Burgundian friends, Corfiot Cacotrigi predates them by several millennia. Nonetheless, I would serve this medium bodied, mineral laden beauty in a nice Burgundy glass to fully appreciate the complexity of aromatics. Yellow apples and white peaches provide up front fruit, but are quickly followed by savory notes of white flowers, sage, toasted hazelnut, rosemary, sea salt, and a hint of green olive. Serve it cool, but not too cold, with any of your favorite Mediterranean fish recipes (don’t skip on the good olive oil!) and you’ll be enjoying a pairing that has brought joy to human palates since antiquity. 

2022 Nicoluzo, PGI Corfu "Cacotrigi"

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