2014 SYRAH Wild Fermentation : 91 POINTS

The 2014 Syrah Wild Fermentation was aged for 12 months in French oak (80% used) and comes in at 15% alcohol. Sourced from 25-year-old vines in the Petri Vineyard (Yaltra village on Northern Evia at 400 meters), the “wild ferment” references “spontaneous fermentation inception with the grape’s native yeasts, in open type tanks….” Big in terms of power, this is more elegant in the mid-palate. Hard and tight on the finish, though, it is nowhere near ready to drink. Think “old fashioned Barolo” rather than Hermitage. The winery certainly tends to provide tannins more than fruit and flesh. There are some hints of fruit underneath the oak and tannins, but at the moment still just hints. It mostly seems to handle its alcohol well, but it is not shy. The balance could be better here, but it still has a good chance of coming around. They are always hard to evaluate young. Come back in 2024 to see it a bit closer to peak. In the meanwhile, there’s a bit of faith and projection. I suspect it will work out. It does have some questions to answer. There were just 1,500 bottles produced.

2012 IAMA Red: 90 POINTS
The 2012 Iama Red is a 60/40 blend of Vradiano and Syrah, aged for 12 months in second-use French oak. This has been seen before, but let’s check on it with about 18+ months more in bottle. It had a lot of power when first seen and it was hard to be sure where it was going. To some extent, that is still true, but there are some signs of progress. Still a bit tight, but much faster to open now, this is showing its character and complexity more. There is that hint of beef in the background, but it’s still the crisp edge and power that you will notice first. For those who like structure rather than sweet and sexy, this overachiever is a perfect food wine. It still needs a little more time in the cellar for better results. It is pointed, focused and precise. If you open it now, it does need at least an hour in a decanter, preferably 90 minutes or so. It is a very nice value that should age well (perhaps even better than indicated now, but let’s continue to be conservative until we see if the mid-palate concentration keeps up with the structure). Don’t even think of drinking it without a food pairing.

2016 IAMA White: 89 POINTS
The 2016 Iama white is an unoaked 60/40 blend of Malagousia and Assyrtiko. This has become a rather nice bottling, with the Malagousia providing the aromatics and the Assyrtiko the power and concentration. This is full-bodied on first taste, with a hint of lime and herbs, plus a fair bit of tension on the finish. It lingers beautifully, but the aromatics up front make it immediately enticing. Still a little tight and unevolved (this was seen a bit less than two months after bottling), this has plenty of room for improvement over the next few months. It won’t likely age long, but it will certainly drink better in August than in April. It evolved nicely with air and warmth. Overall, this is solid enough to drink with food and lively enough to enjoy on its own, too.

2016 IAMA Rosé: 88 POINTS
The 2016 Iama Rosé is all Vradiano, a local grape on the island of Evia. Sourced from the winery’s private vineyard on Telethrio Mountain at 400 meters, the North side of the island, this is dry and comes in at 13% alcohol. The first pink I’ve seen from the winery, this is hard to resist if you like them bright and with personality. Very fresh, it adds pungent aromatics of berries and a bit of a dry raspberry-boysenberry finish to go with its sunny demeanor. Tasty and pure, this just sparkles as it dances around the palate. To be sure, there is not as much depth as there is personality. That said, drink this wake-me-up pink this summer and it will exceed expectations. There were just 10,000 bottles produced.

2016 Methea white: 88 POINTS

The 2016 Methea is a dry, unoaked and equal blend of Monemvasia and Aidani that comes in at 12.5% alcohol. This is a terrific bargain. If it is not as concentrated as the Iama white, it has even more personality and just as much tension on the finish. Lively and fresh, this aromatic white is a perfect summer wake-me-up, tinged with spice and a hint of eucalyptus on the finish. Drink it young and knock it back. Sourced from 15-year-old vines, there were 35,000 bottles produced.