Meet the Winemaker-George Gavalas - February 18, 2019
What an event!! February 18, 2019, at Nostos Restaurant in Vienna VA, a winemaker from Santorini and a master chef presented us with a meal of kings. Winemaker, George Gavalas, of Gavalas Winery from Santorini Greece presented us with six of his own favorite wines. The fourth generation winemaker, shared with us, his passion for the indigenous varietals of his island. One of the oldest wineries dating back three centuries, Mr. Gavalas proudly announced that his son will be continuing the legacy. The vineyards and winery focus is to bring to world the last of the 35 indigenous variatels specific to the white and blue island of Santorini. He graciously shared through interpretation of Yannis Tsapos, owner of Dionysos Imports, the natural phenomen and weather conditions of the island. Santorini is a microclimate of its own. Hot, dry summers with no rains, and cool nights have forced the producers, and the vines to adapt in many ways. First and foremost, the vines are kept low to the ground and are trained to create baskets. The grapes are then contained inside the basket to protect them from the notoriously high winds that sweep through and over the island. With such heat and no rain during the summer the obvious question is where do the vines get their water? Mr Gavalas explained that the only source of water was a misty fog that rolls over the island every evening from the sea, which is absorbed by the volcanic pumice stones in the soil like a sponge. The ultimate result are grapes with low yields, but concentrated flavor.
Each wine was paired amazingly prepared by Chef Tony Kavalieros. His was to highlight the Fruits of Santorini. From tomatoes and legumes to seafood and lamb, the s took us on a journey with each setting. The first course was a velvety tomato soup paired with Katsano 2017. The balance and pleasant acidity of the wine matched perfectly with rich texture of the soup.
The second course was suberbly grilled octopus with a Santorini Fava puree whose notes of lemon matched the full bodied fruity finish of the Santorini Blue 2017.
The next course was an excellent bronzino filet with crisped skin served over fresh black-eyed peas. The nuttiness and oak of the Nyxteri 2017 brought forth the freshness of the fish and earthiness of the peas.
The fourth course and extremely out of the box pairing was the surprise delight for me. Ora King Salmon, cooked to perfection with a red grape sauce, slightly sweet served with the very rare Voudoumato Rose’.
The next course, number 5, was a classic lamb chop over a potato puree. The lamb jus was decadent yet not overpowering which allowed the meat to really shine. This was matched amazingly with the illusive Mavrotragano 2016 whose dense full bodied spicness and super smooth tannins gave the last bite its moment.
Finally, you cant visit this island without a nice sweet glass of VinSanto , the naturally sweet wine from sun dried grapes. The Chef and team decided to pair with lovely Kefalograviera cheese, dried fruits and nuts. Sadly our journey through wine and food to Santorini ended.
We are truly blessed to be able to experience these amazing dinners and pairings at Nostos Restaurant. The professionalism and service are excellent. The attention to detail evident from the time the first drop of wine is poured to the last plate is cleared is impeccable. If you have never attended a Dinner Wine Event at Nostos, please do. I almost guarantee you will find the UG Team there.