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Sweet wines from Samos, Greece

The Island of Samos has a remarkable wine heritage, stretching back perhaps as far as 1200 BC. Itís famous for its sweet dessert wines made from the Muscat grape. The fact that all production is controlled by the Cooperative (full name The Union Of Winemaking Cooperative of Samos, est. 1934) doesnít sound too promising for wine quality, but in fact they do a very good job. They have two wineries, located in Malagali and Karlovasi. The grapes are grown on the slopes of Mount Ampelos, up to a height of 900 m, with the best wines coming from vineyards at 500Ė600 m altitude.  At under £10 per bottle for the top cuvees, these wines offer brilliant value for money, as well as considerable personality.

The wines are available in the UK from Eclectic wines (40 Wolsey Road, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9EN, tel/fax 020 8941 9222, www.eclecticwines.com, mary@eclecticwines.com). They sell to both trade and consumers, and prices are indicated on their website.

Samos Vin Doux 2002
Fresh, sweet grapey nose is appealing. The soft, herby, grapey palate is soft and rich. This sweet wine is a tiny bit cloying but still nice. Very good+ 87

Samos Grand Cru 2002
Some herby complexity to the grapey nose. Soft textured, sweet palate with a grapey edge. Clean and fresh. Very good+ 86

Samos Anthemis 1997
This deep-coloured wine has been aged in cask for five years. Herb and tea complexity to the sweet grapey nose, with a hint of caramel. The viscous palate shows lots of herby fruit and some raisin-like notes. Very intense. Very good+ 88

Samos Nectar 1998
This spends three years in cask. Nose shows notes of tea, herbs and toffee. The palate is rich and grapey with a herby, raisiny character. Rich and sweet with some complexity. Very good+ 87

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