Exploring Greece (6) Skouras

Website: https://skouras.gr/en-gb

Skouras is another important winery that helped put modern Greek wine on the map in the 1990s. The famous Megas Oenos wine was first made by George Skouras on an experimental basis in 1985, and then officially in 1986, and has a proven track record of ageing. It’s not Nemea, because it had 20% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend along with Agiorgitiko.

Dimitris Skouras

We visited with his son, Dimitris, who is now running the vineyards and winery here.

George studied at the University of Dijon in 1980, and was captivated by the wines of Burgundy. He finished his studies in enology and returned to Greece after getting experience working in France and Italy. He began making wines in Pyrgela, a small village on the outskirts of Argos, where he was born. Then he built his first winery in Gimno, in the Nemea appellation in the Peloponnese. The current winery, in Malandreni (also in Nemea) was built in 2004.

Skouras now own 40 ha of vineyards, and rent a further 40 ha, in both Nemea and a cooler-climate PDO called Arcadia (in Mantinea, also in the Peloponnese). Arcadia is an elevated plateau with alluvial soils, but also some volcanic soils near the mountains. The plateau is surrounded by mountains and it’s at 600 m, so it collects the cool air.

The UK importer is Eclectic Wines

Skouras Moscofilero 2022 PGI Arcadia, Greece
12.5% alcohol. It’s a gris variety, so this is a blanc de gris. It has more colour than Roditis, where it’s just the berries that see the sun get some colour. This is pressed carefully under nitrogen protection. Fresh and bright with crisp citrus fruit on the nose as well as some floral hints. The palate is lively and intense with keen acidity and some pretty spicy, floral notes as well as taut lemon fruit. This is really pretty and expressive. 91/100 (€9)

Skouras Wild Yeast Mavrofilero 2021 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
12% alcohol. The proper name of the variety is Fileri, and it has a lot of clones. From these the most aromatic clone is called Mosco Filero. There are also clones that aren’t coloured, and some with a bit of colour, and this one which has more colour called Mavro Filero, for Black Fileri. Powerful, intense, lively and quite salty, with lovely weight. It has really high acidity, lots of minerality and a strong salty lemon and lime character. Quite remarkable. 93/100 (€11)

Skouras Salto Moscofilero Wild Yeast 2014 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
12% alcohol. The same wine as above from 2014. Lime with some herbs on the nose. Fresh, saline and quite textural with a hint of nutty development, and lots of juicy saline lime fruit. Has a fine green note in the background. Still so fresh and linear. 92/100

Skouras Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2022 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
13.5% alcohol. Planted in the hills of Nemea at 620 m. There is a huge demand for Assyrtiko not coming from Santorini because Santorini is getting very expensive. The variety has outgrown the appellation. Mineral citrus nose with a hint of oyster shell. Textured palate with bright fruit and a stony dimension. Lively with good intensity and weight, finishing lemony and quite fine. Lovely precision here. 93/100 (about £15 in the UK, not sold in Greece)

Skouras Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2018 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
13.5% alcohol. Smoky wet stone nose with some vivid citrus fruit and some herbal hints. In the mouth this has bright citrus, green apple and a touch of peachy richness. Has a vivid, lively, stony finish. Lots of interest here. 92/100

Skouras Peplo Rosé 2022 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
13% alcohol. Three different varieties, all grown above 600m. Agiorgitiko vinified in Acacia barrels, Syrah in stainless steel and Mavrofilio in amphoras (clayvers) in contact with skins. They are blended in equal proportions. This is taking rosé more seriously. Pale in colour. Bright and linear with good acidity and notes of cherry and lime, with some nice structure and a distinctive long, precise salty finish. There’s a refreshing quality about this, and it persists on the finish, with a bit of fine structure too. 92/100 (€17 retail)

Skouras, Peplo Rosé 2018 PGI Peloponnese
12.5% alcohol. A warmer year. Has a hint of orange to the pale pink. Supple and bright with cherry and mandarin, as well as some fine salty hints. Has a hint of nuttiness and some dried herb character as well as lovely texture and freshness, with ripe pear and papaya notes on the finish. 91/100

Skouras Agiorgitiko Saint George 2021 Nemea, Greece
A blend of vineyards from 5 villages from 300-700 m. Old oak. Bright and direct with lovely focused cherry and plum fruit. This is bright and fruit-driven with great precision. Has a hint of herb and olive complexity here with a nice juicy, sour cherry finish. Lovely purity and character. 92/100 (Great value at €9 in Greece)

Skouras Grande Cuvée 2019 Nemea, Greece
This is a single vineyard 1000 m, and is the last Agiorgitiko harvested. Tank fermented with two weeks on skins, ageing for a year in new and old French oak. Stylish and classic, with bright acidity and a bit of structure under sweet blackcurrant with some cedar spice and a hint of resin and gravel. This is youthful, midweight and has digestibility, as well as showing ageing potential. 93/100

Skouras Grande Cuvée 2014 Nemea, Greece
Classic in style with some earthy, spicy evolution on the nose, showing bright blackcurrant and cherry fruit. There’s some cedary oak here, with a slight saltiness and a long spicy finish. 92/100

Skouras Megas Oenos 2019 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
14.5% alcohol. Classical winemaking, with 15 days on skins, then 18 months ageing in French barrels before blending. About 60% new oak. Vivid, lively and bright with good acidity and tannins, vibrant blackcurrant and cherry fruit, and a cedary, spicy savouriness. Youthful and classic, this has a slight sour cherry and balsamic edge: quite super-Tuscan in style, with real poise and ageability. 93/100

Skouras Megas Oenos 2015 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
14% alcohol. Still taut and focused with a spicy edge and some cedary notes, alongside a core of blackcurrant and red berry fruit. This is very linear and correct, in a classic style, with bright acidity and firm tannins. Lovely focuss here. 94/100 (€22 retail)

Skouras Megas Oenos 2007 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
13.5% alcohol. Has a hint of malt and earth on the nose, with a bit of evolution. The palate is still fresh and has good tannin and acid, but it has started to soften, with sweet berry fruits and a bit of cherry. There’s some harmony here, but still grip, and finishes with some balsamic hints and fine spices. 92/100

Skouras Mavrostifo of Argos 2015 PGI Peloponnese, Greece
14.5% alcohol. 120 g/l of sweetness. This was planted in 2007, and the first time they tried to vinify it as a dry wine it was impossible. So they dried the grapes for 8 days and then 38 days in the shade, and then make a naturally sweet wine that ages for five years in barrels. Tannic, sweet, salty and intense, with keen acidity. It’s very concentrated and dense with lovely black fruits and some Christmas cake notes, citrus peel, as well as spice. Not overly sweet, but quite remarkable in its flavour intensity and complexity. 95/100