In June 2005 I joined a mixed group—Croatian winemakers, restaurateurs, professors, and journalists—to sail the Adriatic from the Istrian peninsula of Croatia to the Greek locality of Monemvasia, off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. We boarded two 65-foot yachts that set sail on a Malvasia Mediterranea MMV expedition whose aim was to discover the true roots of the ancient malvasia grape variety.
Open a refrigerator in the back of many wineries and you may find some leftover pizza, cheese and fruit for tomorrow evening’s mixer, and a few rectangular foil packages that look suspiciously like bread-baking yeast. However, those packages of yeast—and they are yeast—are for the wine, not bread dough.
On the left, a glass of 2007 Zuccardi Q Mendoza Malbec. On the right, a glass of 2004 Château Lagrézette Cahors—also a Malbec. The Zuccardi is fruitier, with slightly jammy overtones and good structure (though the acidity seems a little out of place), while the Cahors has an earthier, more brooding presence with more substantial, velvety tannins and great length.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Joe Davis, the founder and winemaker of Arcadian Winery, does not come from a long line of winemakers. On the contrary, his people were Monterey fisherman—with first-hand accounts of John Steinbeck’s peccadilloes, no less! But he was not destined for the family business.
For a long time, John Holdredge knew it was coming, but he kept it to himself. It was so contrary to his core beliefs that he questioned if he could do it. Then, one late afternoon in August of 2008, he heard himself speak the words out loud for the first time, almost involuntarily: "I'm going to make a huge-ass Pinot."
Once consumers taste well-crafted indigenous Greek wines, many of their misconceptions disappear, replaced with real excitement of discovery.