One of the great advantages wine lovers have in the United States is diversity. We have access to wines from all over the world. Certainly some countries and regions represent stronger than others, but more join the party every year. Among those creeping up in visibility and availability in recent years are the wines of Greece. There’s a lot to like with Greek wine. Most importantly for me is that taken as a piece, they tend to be high acid wines that are eminently food friendly. If you’re a wine lover you’re probably pretty interested in what you’re eating too. There are Greek wines perfectly suited for just about any type of cuisine, so don’t get stuck in the idea of needing to pair Greek wines with Greek foods; experiment and you’ll find the matches that work best for you. Here are four offerings from Greece that I recently tasted that hit the spot. Give one or more of them a try with dinner tonight; it might just be a revelation.
Gavalas Winery 2014 Santorini ($13)
This white wine from Santorini is composed entirely of Assyrtiko. The fruit comes from the most traditional vineyard on the island which is also the oldest in Greece. It was never affected by phylloxera and it sits on its own root stock. Lemon zest, rosemary and thyme aromas are evident on the wonderfully buoyant nose, while sour yellow melon and a who’s who of citrus flavors dominate the palate. Limestone, graphite and bits of clementine emerge on the crisp, dry and refreshing finish. This is a steal for the price. Pair this with light appetizers, creamy cheeses, entrée salads and the like. It’s going to be hard to beat the value here as an everyday white.
Antonopolous 2014 Malagouzia ($20)
This white wine is composed entirely of Malagouzia. All of the fruit was sourced in the Peloponessos region. Orchard fruits, yellow flower and linseed oil aromas are present on the nose here. The palate is studded with a ton of Granny Smith apple notes as well as wisps of white pepper and white peach flavors. Lemon and lime elements, mineral and continued spice notes dominate the above average finish. This wine will pair well with light foods and it’s also delicious sipped on its own.
Alexakis 2013 Syrah/Kotsifali ($16)
This blend is composed of Kotsifali (60 percent) and Syrah (40 percent). The average age of the vines the fruit was sourced from is 26 years. This is a small, family winery and the second generation is now deeply involved in many aspects of the business. Red cherry, mushroom and sage aromas light up the nose of this red blend. The palate is filled with dried red and black fruits of all kinds, but cherry characteristics dominate. Earth, black pepper and hints of anise are all part of the impressive finish. It has absolutely killer acidity. This wine will pair well with an absolutely astounding array of foods. It’s tasty right out of the bottle, but if you have time, decant it for 45 minutes, because it really blossoms with some air.
Kitma Gerovassiliou 2008 Avaton ($47)
This offering is composed of Limnio (50 percent), Mavroudi (30 percent) and Mavrotragano (20 percent). The winery was established in 1981, and today, they have 54 hectares (about 133 acres) under vine dedicated to a combination of indigenous and international varieties. Mushroom and savory herb aromas lead the nose here, followed by red and black plum aromas. Bits of toast emerge on the palate where black fruits lead the charge along with copious spice notes. Subtle bits of tar, minerals, smoked meat elements and dusty baker’s chocolate lead the long and very expressive finish. This wine is delicious today, but will age well for the next six to eight years. It’s particularly suited to pair with roasted meats and hard cheeses. It has impressive depth and complexity that will please a wide array of wine lovers.
These wines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Greece. So get out of your Chardonnay and Cabernet routine and try some indigenous Greek wines; they might just blow your mind!