At the recent Athenee Importers Road Show in Boston, I tasted Greek wines from varietals too difficult to pronounce, but extremely enjoyable. I was really taken by these wines...starting with Domaine Spiropoulos's Ode Panos NV which is a lovely sparkler made from the Mischofilero grape to crisp, minerally, citrusy whites and bold reds from indigenous varietals. Greek winemaking has been around for many years, but recently these interesting wines are coming into the spotlight and people are taking notice. I am for sure.
As a lover of sweet and fortified wines, I would like to share three "must trys" from Greece. Here are my favorites from top producers:
From the island of Santorini, the Argyros Estate Vin Santo Mezzo is spectacular! Consisiting of 80% Assyrtiko, 10% Aidani, 10% Athiri, this wine presents medium honey in color with aromas of dried fruits and coffee. Grapes are aged in the sun for a shorter time than other dried grapes resulting in a lighter mouthfeel. And the finish is lingering! Try it with Orange Almond Cake, Candied Almonds and Orange Blossom Honey Cream.
From Peloponnese, Nemea is Greek's largest appellation and Agiorgitiko is the main grape of the Nemea region. GAI'A Wines produces a sweet red wine named Anatolikos made from 100% Agiorgitiko. These grapes are dried for three weeks on mats before pressing. With a very distinct strawberry nose, there are also aromas of honey, vanilla, some spice. Greek Yogurt with Strawberry Spoon Sweet and Koulourakia (Greek butter cookies) is a pairing to try.
Mercouri Estate, located in western Peloponnese has been producing wine for 150 years. Mercouri Estate also produces extra virgin olive oil from Koroneiki olives. Chortais, a sweet aged red wine is made from two varietals: Mavrodaphne, 55% and Korinthiaki, 45% with alcohol added. It is absolutely lovely with its dark red color, plum aroma and aftertastes of chocolate and nuts. Tsoureki, Greek Easter bread or Kalitsounia Kritis, Cretan sweet cheese pastries would be a perfect finish particularly for upcoming Greek Easter.
A little more Chortais, please!