Skouras Megas Oenos Red 2004
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2004 Megas Oenos is the first in the mini-vertical presented this issue. It is the familiar blend of mostly old-vines Agiorgitiko and a chunk of Cabernet Sauvignon aged in new French oak for 20 months. This is a library wine and a reevaluation. When last seen, about five years back, this was in a very nice place at age ten. Even then, though, this lighter-styled red from a cooler year was showing some tertiary nuances and significant hints of maturity. That has accelerated somewhat, to be sure, but it holds on very well in that style. Add those five years, and this is still gorgeous.
Argolida Valley in Peloponnesos is a blessed land full of nature's gifts: world-famous for its citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, tangerines), its olive oil and olives, it is now fast becoming synonymous with our wines also. George Skouras, proprietor, oenologist and wine-maker at Domaine Skouras studied oenology at the University of Dijon. He went to work for a number of wineries in France, Italy and Greece before setting up his own in Pyrgela in Argolida Valley 1987.
A large southern region of Greece, the Peloponnese contains the famous appellations of Nemea and Mantineia. While connected to the mainland by a tiny strip of land, essentially the region is a large Mediterranean island and excels in the production of red wine from Agiorghitiko, white from Moscofilero and sweet wine from the Mavrodaphne grape.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.