The Grapes of Greece
In an increasingly homogenized world full of Chardonnay and Cabernet, Greece rewards curious drinkers looking for good but different wines. Blessed with indigenous, characterful grapes preserved across generations, Greece is your next frontier. Here are four grapes (pronunciation included) worth finding.
Lover of sun and volcanic soil, "a seer' tee ko" gives dry, brisk whites with saline minerality and citrus. Capable of complexity and ageability.
Like a floral bouquet, "mos cho FEEL eh roe" delivers beautiful aromatics. From rose petals, citrus, to stone fruit, the palate is crisp, the alcohol moderate.
Capable of fresh, soft, fruity wines in youth, red grape "ah yor yee' ti ko" gains structure, concentrated berry notes, and complexity when aged in oak.
"Ksee-NOH-mah-vroh" can age due to firm tannins, tight structure, and elegance. A potpourri of aromatics includes red fruits, olives, tomatoes, and spice
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Greek cuisine needs little introduction. It forms the cornerstone of the widely – emulated Mediterranean diet, noted for its taste and health benefits. Greek wine, though, is not only a staple only on the Greek table; its ability to accompany international cuisines is amazing.
Sun-kissed Santorini remains Assyrtiko’s spiritual home. Thus, fresh, light "island" fare like seafood and salads with feta and olives, match its bright character.
Dry, fresh, and aromatic, this white works with a range of foods from garden-plucked zucchini, to white fish with lemon, to roast chicken.
Soft, juicy, and brimming with red fruits, try with meatballs, grilled steak, moussaka, tomato beef stew and rich cheeses.
A firm tannic structure and crisp acidity call for fat and protein. Think grilled meats, game and sausage. Lamb is a classic partner.
Regions & Appellations
Most dream of islands encircled by cerulean blue, knowing little of the diversity of Greek landscapes. From mountainous hinterland, to miles of coastline, to farflung isles scattered across many Seas, each region’s soil, climate, and culture contributes distinct character to its wines.
Xinomavro rules the Macedonian North. Look for bottles from Naoussa, Amyndeon and Goumenissa. With semi-continental and continental climates, these appellations make intriguing, long – lived reds.
A mystical place known for mountain monasteries, the myriad wines of Central evoke similar magic. Look for velvety Xinomavro from Rapsani at the foothills of Mt. Olympus.
The Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands
This vast region encompassing mainland and islands focuses largely on whites. Find perfumed Moschofilero from Mantinia, or dry reds from Agiorgitiko out of Nemea.
The Aegean Islands
The Greece of travelers’ dreams. Santorini’s volcanic soil produces renowned Assyrtiko as both dry and dessert-style Vinsanto. Discover sweet, floral Muscats from Samos and Lemnos.
This important island for viticulture has seven appellations. A mountainous spine provides cooler temperatures for vineyards dedicated to dry whites, reds, plus sweet wines.