Hope you had a lovely weekend with nice food and wine. I spent the weekend without hubby so with extra time on my hands, I put together the information and write about wine. Of course, I’ll write about Turkish wines but let me start with Greek wines.
I’m a wine lover so obviously I love wine, not only reading and talking about it but actually drinking it. So I drink a glass every day, which is my secret to good health but also entails…. money. I’m not rich but unfortunately my palate is.
I used to spend on average $150 by-monthly or even weekly at The Wine Society in Sydney, but here, even if I drink less, my monthly wine bill isn’t any smaller. To reduce my wine expenditure, I was buying many Spanish wines for a good value but then I discovered Greek wines after the trip to Lesvos a few years ago, and they have become my No.1 choice for every day wine ever since.
Not only do they offer value for money but also a wide range of style, and above all, they pair well with the type of food I enjoy. After my recent stock-up trip, I decided to write an overdue post on Greek wine for my personal note.
You’ve probably noticed that more and more Greek wines are appearing at the shelf and wondered why. Some of the reasons are the story and tradition associated but recently they are re-emerging under the tags of organic, food-friendly, indigenous grapes, good value, etc.
Boutari Winery is very well-known so I’ll skip it. Semeli Wines, picked impulsively first drawn to the lovely label (I don’t normally pick colourful bottles though), and second to its blend: Agiorgitiko (ah-yeeh-yo-tiko), its intense summer red fruits and supple tannis supported by Syrah. Under € 10, it’s a bargain and I’ll pick up its reserve on the next trip and some other Nemea wines.
You can do a photo tour of Semeli Wines on this blog.
But mostly, to me, Greek wines seem philosophical. I know it’s a cliche, but they really are a good complement to food and conversations. They are complex and linger in the mouth, giving a punch at the end.
Domaine Porto Carras , Limnio (PDO), for example, is of light body with ripe fruit and herbal flavours with bright acidity and delicate and discreet tannins, which you savour before and after swallowing. That’s what Limnio grape does to you, and though it’s good with red meat, it’s great with fish. So you can imagine how ancient Greek philosophers would have liked to drink this wine while ‘chatting’.
The grape originally comes from Limnos Island but nowadays they are gown mostly in Halkidiki Peninsula (Greek Macedonia). And Porto Carras is the biggest producer of it but also grows international grapes organically.
Tsantali Winery is another well-known winery and they make wines with various Greek native varieties, especially Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto.
Their Rapsini (PDO) is more structured and earthier due to Xinomavro, which is all the rage these days among wine enthusiasts due to its Nebbiolo quality. I certainly enjoyed it with roasted wild goose.
Greek wines are, to me, also feminine and capricious sometimes like Lesbian wines.
I’ve tasted all the above wines, which I brought from Lesvos. What was common in all three was colour, which is pale ruby, and the lovely aromas of red fruit and flowers; strawberries, raspberries, red cherries, etc.,
Despite good reviews , I didn’t like Methymneos (100% Chidiriotiko (aka. Kalloniatiko)) as much as Makra, which is blended with Moschato Myrodato(aka. Muscat Hamburg), and Daphnis & Chloe by Oinoforos Megalohoriou Winery. The latter is a blend of Mantilaria, Fokiano, Rikara.
Lesbian wines are mostly organic and natural, using only ‘first press’. Look at the pale ruby colour with the wide garnet-hued rim of Makara, meaning ‘the son of Helios’. How I liked the aromas in the glass; a bouquet of red fruits, honey, flowers, spices, balanced tannins and acidity, and the lingering aftertaste! It’s just perfect for summer evening with olives, ham, tomatoes, melon and feta cheese.
I was really impressed by Makara, made with good grapes grown in volcanic, mineral-rich soils and zero or minimal influence of oak. If you’re interested in the ancient term for natural and unadulterated wine, you can read all about it in here (It’s long but very interesting.) and here (about the history of amphorae)
Anyway, the biggest joy came at the end of the bottle. The sediment!
The next bottle, Domain Hatzimichalis, comes from the Atalanti Valley in the Central Greece, and seems quite well-received. Their approach is modern and oriented towards full bodied wine.
After the Cabernet Sauvignon, I recently tried their Bordeaux blend, Alfega. Both are oak-laden, rich bold wines with tertiary aromas due to the age (2008/2009), but I preferred the Cab Sauv, which seemed more integrated. They both are tannic and call for char-grilled BBQ steak.
As the name ‘aromatic vineyards, suggests, it’s an aromatic full body wine laden with fruit, dried herbs, spices and smoke. It’s a wine for a hearty meal and was good with roasted lamb intestines.
And there are always the bone dry crisp Assyrtiko from Santorini and lesser-known, delicately fruity and floral Moschofilero from Mantinia, Peloponnese and many more interesting wines to try in summer.
I hope my introduction to Greek wines was helpful and I’ll certainly explore more wines beyond Duty Free shops and taste more when I hop over to Greece this summer.
If you want to learn more about Greek wines, you can read Passionate Foodie for more recommendations. If you’ve tried Greek wines or any of the wines mentioned, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Also, this might be an interesting read if you want to know about Greek wines.