Greek wine is enjoying a very exciting point in its history, both in quality and in sheer variety. Producers with different visions are making serious wines, expertly matching grape to specific types of soils and climates.
If I were to pick three personal favorites, I’d have to start with Biblia Chora Ovilos White (PGI Pangeon) from Kavala in northern Greece in the 2012 vintage, which combines crisp and fresh Assyrtiko – like a Sancerre or a Chablis – with a richer texture and white stone fruit from the Semillon grape, bringing lovely concentration on the palate.
At the same time, every bottle I have ever tried of Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko, Santorini PDO, whatever the vintage, is delicious, exuding white flower aromatics in a fresh, vibrant and thirst-quenching style.
The Alpha Estate Blend PGI Florina with Syrah, Xinomavro and Merlot, made under the supervision of the great Bordeaux wine consultant Eric Boissenot, is delicious in all recent vintages, although the 2010 is my favorite and the much-deserved “flagship” red wine of Alpha Estate.
*Panos Kakaviatos is a US-based wine educator, writer and drinker www.wine-chronicles.com
By choosing a Greek wine, one takes the opportunity to explore interesting new tastes, whether they are Greek expressions of well-known international varieties or wines from indigenous Greek grapes. What’s more, with local varieties you can travel back through the history of Greece, enjoying a Mavroudi wine like the one Odysseus drank on his return to Ithaca, or the South Aegean wines that Alexander the Great may have carried with him during his conquests in Asia Minor.
Three affordable wines I would propose:
Rapsani by Tsantali (Larissa), a dry red coming from the powerful combination of three Greek grape varieties (Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto), rich in aromas of cherry jam, blueberries, raspberries, tomato, vanilla and other spices. This wine can accompany a wild boar dish or perhaps smoked cheese.
Rizitis White by Dourakis (Crete), a dry white coming from the local Vilana grapes, fruity, with hints of green apple and lemon zest. Enjoy this one chilled, with lighter foods such as salads, seafood and mild cheeses.
Psilante by Lipsi Winery (Lipsi Island), from the Fokiano grape, a wonderful semi-dry rosé with strawberry, passion fruit and hints of violet. An excellent aperitif, it is also a perfect complement to a variety of Mediterranean dishes.