Kir-Yianni 'Akakies' Sparkling Rosé 2014
Wine: Kir-Yianni 'Akakies'
Region: Amyndeon, Macedonia
Back in my New York days I sold the Kir-Yianni wines when they were part of the excellent Greek portfolio, Sotiris Bafitis Selections. I loved selling that book. Quality Greek wines were just emerging, finding their way onto non-Greek restaurant lists, and the grapes were foreign to many of my customers. The Akakies still rosé from Kir-Yianni was a big seller for us, but we didn't have the bubbles stateside, so when I saw this listed by the glass at Meauxbar, a decade-old North Rampart eatery that came under the ownership of Robert LeBlanc and Sean McCusker (also Barrel Proof and my favorite, Sylvain) two years ago this May, I had to have a glass. Of course it was delicious, so I had another.
Xinomavro [ksee NO mav roe] is a native variety to Greece that produces high acid red wines with rich color and, as demonstrated here, pink wines with a deep rosy hue. Kir-Yianni is one of the most respected estates in the region and of the xinomavro grape. This wine is made in the Charmat - or Tank - method, where the second, bubble-producing fermentation happens in tank, not bottle. More important, the Kir-Yianni 'Akakies' Sparkling Rosé 2014 exhibits bright red berry aromas and flavors with a good mousse and dry finish. It's a beautiful pairing with Chef Kristen Essig's escargot in marrow and the beef tartare, which has a kick to it that the Akakies handled well.