Ancient Greece, delicately curved handled jugs of wine and tables of grapes……the Greeks, historically, have more to shout about than the rest of us wine wise!
But, being very traditional, primarily having a domestic market and growing regional grape varieties (that export-wise are virtually unknown), have all been reasons for the world not to previously explore these offerings from the Gods.
In the last twenty years though, a wine revolution has happened, yet still Greece has the pride (and sense) to stick to its roots literally, and grow their indigenous grape varieties. No ripping up of vines in place of Chardonnay here!
However, now, International varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Viognier have been introduced and now flourish. But Greece has concentrated on their own varieties and use these as predominate flavours in their blends. If you’ve not tasted them, it’s a great excuse to sample these historical island’s wonders!
To tackle the extreme temperatures, grapes are grown in the mountains at high altitudes where it is much cooler. So if you had visions of dry, highly alcoholic, fierce red wines then you’re wrong! Think delicate, floral yet crisp and acidic white wines and juicy, complex, Italian style reds!
And remember, there is always Greece’s infamous Retsina wine. With this, they add pine resin to give the wine its distinct flavour…I think this is rather an acquired taste???!
The main wine producing regions in Greece are:
- Naoussa in northern Greece
- The Islands
- Ranging from highly tannic, spicy reds to fruity, complex ones
- Aromatic, floral, crisp and dry whites
- Sweet wines
- Xinomavro (red)
- Agiorgitiko (red)
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Assyrtiko (white)
- Roditis (white)
- Muscat (sweet wines)
- Santorini Island’s Assyrtiko
- Samo’s sweet liqueur wines
- Naoussa’s Xinomavro (a complex, Italian style red)