2003 was a special year for wine lovers

The first white wines from the 2003 vintage are already on sale and are confirming the predictions made in autumn of exceptional quality wine, perhaps the best in the past 15 years. Soon we’ll be able to enjoy the first reds. Wines selected for aging are still in barrels, and we’ll have our first chance to taste them in autumn this year. With the exception of 2002, when weather conditions were particularly bad, the Greek climate is generally ideal for producing wine. But last year was good beyond all expectations, providing winemakers with exceptional grapes. Producers and winemakers say it is the best wine of the past 15 years, as is being confirmed by the first critiques of the white wines that have already been bottled and marketed. This remarkable vintage came directly after a catastrophic year for winemakers. «2002 was a very bad year. The Santorini producers were ready to give up, as production was only a fifth of what they would get in a normal year,» winegrower Paris Sigalas told Kathimerini. But 2003 brought much-needed rain, and the outcome was an assyrtiko of high acidity which will make a well-balanced wine, he explained. Conditions were excellent for the production of Vinsanto, which requires not only good raw material and the right weather, but also a period of about 10 days when the harvested grapes can lie in the sun. All went well in 2003, and the Vinsanto that will be ready at the end of 2005 should be one of the best. Throughout Greece weather conditions helped make fine wines. According to producer and winemaker Thomas Ligas, «the wine of 2003 will be one of the best in the past 15 years.» There was sufficient spring rainfall in northern Greece and there were no heat waves in summer to stress the grapes. Many whites from the 2003 vintage are already available; the first reds will make their appearance soon and, according to oenologists, they are very red indeed with lots of aroma. The red wines that have to mature in barrels according to the legislation will go on sale in September this year, and the Appellation of Controlled Origin Nemea wines, which must mature for at least a year, will become available in November. In the Peloponnese, ripening conditions were very good and there were no signs of disease. These are practically organic wines, say producers. According to wine producer Giorgos Skouras, «though we can’t say for sure before the wine is complete, we believe the 2003 vintage red wines will be very good wine for laying down well-rounded, complex wines.»

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