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
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?
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.
Alpha Estate : Sauvignon Blanc
Antonopoulos : Chardonnay
Arghyros : Vareli Assyrtico
Biblia Chora: Assyrtico and Ovilos
Gaia : Τhalassitis
Katsaros : Chardonnay
Kir-Yanni : Samaropetra
Manousakis : Roussanne
Mercouri : Malvasia
Sigalas : Nihteri, Cavialieros
Alpha Estate: Xinomavro
Antonopoulos: Nea Dris
Biblia Chora : Ovilos
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
Vinsanto : Sun dried grapes from Santorin.
Mavrodaphne : Sweet fortified wines. Best old like Banyls.
Muscat : Sweet wines from Samos island.