Wines of Greece

Dionysus (Bacchus in Romans) being the bad boy of Mt Olympus was the last god to be accepted. He was the god of wine.

Greeks invented symposia (literally drinking parties). Greece is one of the world’s oldest wine-producing region, making its own wine for the past 6,500 years. Since the tourism boom of the country in the 1960s, retsina, a white wine with resin aroma, has become almost synonymous to Greece and Greek wine. But there is far more than that for the wine lovers. For many years now, top international varieties have been cultivated with great success. Top sommeliers, wine writers and traders have put Greece firmly on the global “wine map”. There are also many rare regional varieties, which are well worth trying. Some of the best producers and their top wines are listed below. A bottle of good white wine in the liqueur stores costs between € 10-18 and a bottle of red € 12-28. 

 

The most important Greek wine grapes


White varieties

Assyrtico : The finest white grape from Santorini Island and possibly the cheapest top white wine of the world. Mineral with high acidity, ages well. Try  to distinguish an aged assyrtiko to a Chablis Grand Cru.

Malagousia :  Aromatic, with a scent of ripe peaches, apricots and green pepper.

Moschofilero : A sweet, aromatic grape. The Greek Gewurztraminer?

 

Red varieties

Agiorgitico : Rich, deeply coloured, ages well

Xinomavro : Greece’s answer to Barolo, needs time to develop

 

Some of the top producers

Aivalis, Alpha Estate, Antonopoulos, Arghyros, Biblia Chora, Driopi, Gaia, Gerovassiliou, Hatzidakis, Hatzimichalis, Katogi Strofilia, Katsaros, Kir-Yanni, Manousakis, Mercouri,Papaioannou, Pavlidis, Samos, Sigalas, Skouras, Tselepos.

White wines

Alpha Estate : Sauvignon Blanc

Antonopoulos : Chardonnay

Arghyros : Vareli Assyrtico

Biblia Chora: Assyrtico and Ovilos

Gaia : Τhalassitis

Gerovassiliou: Chardonnay

Hatzidakis: Nihteri

Katsaros : Chardonnay

Kir-Yanni : Samaropetra

Manousakis : Roussanne

Mercouri :  Malvasia

Sigalas :  Nihteri, Cavialieros

Red wines

Aivalis: Monopati 

Alpha Estate: Xinomavro

Antonopoulos: Nea Dris

Biblia Chora : Ovilos

Driopi: Agiorgitico

Gaia : Agiorgitico

Gerovassiliou : Avaton and Syrah

Katogi Strofilia : Ktima Averof

Kir-Yanni : Diaporos and Blue Fox

Manousakis : Syrah

Mercouri : Refosco

Papaioannou : Palaia Ktimata

Skouras : Solera aged labyrinth and Grand Cuvée

Tselepos :  Top Merlot

Sweet wines

Vinsanto         : Sun dried grapes from Santorin.

Mavrodaphne : Sweet fortified wines. Best old like Banyls.

Muscat           : Sweet wines from Samos island.

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©Thanassis Karatzas

©Thanassis Karatzas