Posted: 12 Mar 2014

Angie Giannakodakis EpochaA restaurateur’s guide
to European wine

Angie Giannakodakis (above) has poured more glasses of fine wine than anyone could possibly count.

A familiar face for Melbourne diners, Angie’s vast knowledge of Greek and European wines is only surpassed by her famously authentic hospitality at Epocha in Carlton, which she co-owns with fellow restaurateur Guy Holder. Every day, Angie is asked for advice on choosing a wine from her extensive Euro list.

So here are Angie’s top five Euro wines, complete with tasty notes… a few gems to help bluff your way through a European wine list, or impress your mates at a dinner party. These wines can usually be found at stores including Rathdowne Cellars, Blackhearts & Sparrows and the City Wine Shop.

1. 2012 Malagouzia Axia Alpha Estate, Greece

This wine is sourced from Alpha’s vines in the “Turtles” sub-region of the Amyndeon plateau in Northern Greece. Alcohol is happy at 13 per cent, and summer drinking makes for a lovely surprise with mountain tea, sage and burnt camomile, plus a snowboard ride on the mouth of melons and spoon desserts, before a gentle medal finish. Drink it with a spicy baby squid salad and the match is magical.

2. 2007 Brundlmayer Riesling Zobinger Heilingenstein “Lyra”, Austria

If you really like Riesling, you won’t have to talk about this one. Keep it to yourself. It’s the wine of the sun, a love affair drawing on stone fruit, peaches and nutmeg. Shuck an oyster, grab a carpaccio of swordfish or bake a fish. This wine loves delicate seafood.

3. 2007 Destro Aspide Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy

This handsome Narello Mascalese is potent and strong in scent and fragrantly lying low on the palate. It always captures my mood when I’m being fun and with such elegance and finesse, I always feel I want to dress up for this Southerner. Lamb, baby, lamb. Backstrap, leg, shoulder, loin… choose your body part and enjoy them together.

4. 2008 Gaia Estate Agiorgitiko, Nemea, Greece

This wine is cultivated on a vineyard at Koutsi village, at an altitude of 550m. After gentle extraction and time on new oak, it is lovingly treated and allowed to express itself with all its plum and current spices. This alluring creature has you wanting for more as its scent has a memory from the moments before fumbling a bra clip. All ends well as the berries sweeten the finish. A wine to serenade your senses. Char something – scotch fillet, rib eye, maybe a rack of veal. The two will create a symphony as they dance across your tongue.

5. 2011 Huber Baden Malterdinger Pinot Noir, Germany

With the estate located in Germany’s Baden region, Bernhard Huber is celebrated as one of the country’s finest producers. He’s the superstar with gold trim on his flares that makes you all puzzled and yet just wondering what it would be like. I love this pinot. It’s one of the best drinking light reds I know with all the full mouth flavours of the Black Forest. Gevrey Chambertin eat your heart out. Perfect with prosciutto, pork rillettes or pigs ears. Whatever part of the wee piggy you choose to match it with, it will delight you.

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