Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inside the Fredrick Wildman and Sons new Greek wine portfolio

Fredrick Wildman and Sons, an old-line New York fine wine importer, has worked with @elloinos, an Athens-based Greek wine promoter, to develop a portfolio of Greek wines for the US market.  Fredrick Wildman introduced these wines to the market in a tasting held at the Landmarc restaurant in New York City on February 1, 2012.  According to Wildman, the producers around whose wines the portfolio is built "... provide eight distinct new voices in the world of Greek wine: from organic boutique upstarts, venerated houses, and vin natural producers, these vintners share common goal(s) in the quality and care they put forth." I have summarized the offerings in the table below.

(i) CS = Cabernet Sauvignon; (ii) Floara di Munti Brut is the sparkling offering

As the list shows, the portfolio consists of 26 wines from nine producers (the Rossiu di Munte Collection is a label from Katogi Averoff).  There are no distinct patterns in the list in terms of the age of the wineries.  The oldest is Koutsoyiannopoulos which was founded in the late 19th century while two of the wineries (Zafeirakis and Nerantzi) were founded within the past decade.  Of the remaining, three were founded in the 1990s, one in the 1980s, and one in the 1950s.  The average size of the vineyards for which data are available is 10.6 hectares.  As can be seen in the figure below, the estates are fairly widely distributed across the Greek wine regions.

Katogi Averoff contributes the highest percentage (30.7%) of the wines to the portfolio while Koutsoyiannopoulos and Troupis both contribute a single wine (3.8%) each.  Seventy-three percent of the portfolio is red wine, 23% is white, and there is a single sparkling wine.  Of the 19 reds, five are blends and the most important varietal, blend or standalone, is Agiorgitiko.  The international varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are represented in the portfolio both as monovarietals and as components in a blend.  With the exception of one case, the white wines are monovarietal and disparate.

Overall, the quality of the portfolio is very high.  I was particularly impressed with the saline citrus minerality of the Assyrtiko, the story and storied wines of Domaine Economou, the surpringly balanced Syrah of Domaine Nerantzi, the complexity of the Katogi Averoff Red blend, and the expressiveness of the Christos Kokkalis wines.  I found the sparkling wine from the Rossiu di Munte Collection wanting (whack-a-mole bubbles, limited persistence) and cannot see a clear path to success in the US market for this offering.

With the exception of three of the offerings, the wines were all poured by the estate owners/winemakers and they were all pleased and excited to be representing their estates and Greek wine on this stage.  I had extended conversations with Yiannis Economou (Domaine Economou), the brother of Christos Zafeirakis (Domaine Zafeirakis), and Eva Nerantzi (Domaine Nerantzi) and they were all highly enthusiastic about their products as well as the opportunity.  Yiannis particularly impressed me with his dedication to his principles of production and the aging of his wines and his wines reflect those principles.  Eva has an Oenology degree from the University of Dijon in France but utilizes her learnings within the guiding principles of the estate that her father built.

Kudos to @elloinos for putting together a great portfolio and to Fredrick Wildman for choosing the right man for the job.


  1. We are happy you liked Katogi Averoff Red and good to know your thoughts about our sparkling wine.