Reminiscing about great historical turning points and events evokes images of Greece, particularly since it was where the Olympics originated and it is in Athens where the very famous Acropolis sits.
More than that, Greece is also recognized for its wine and great Mediterranean food. All of these have made Greece into a well-known tourist destination. Yet there is one aspect of Greek life that is often forgotten – and this is the fact that Greeks are great lovers of wine. They are also one of the top winemakers and wine suppliers in the world today. The problem is, less or almost no attention is given to highlight the fun and stirring experience of tasting and acquiring fabulous Greek wines.
The main advantage Greek wines have over other more popular wines on the market today, is that they are both some of the oldest yet newest wines on the market today. The country is home to over 300 decadent varieties of wine grapes, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world and possess elegant and fruitful flavors. Even during Ancient Greece, the Greeks have known and enjoyed the taste of good wine. But with conflicts and political unrest, the country experienced some turbulent times that have contributed in the sluggish development of wine production. During the 1970’s, most of Greek wines were made by a factory that manufactured the well-recognized retsina wine. Most locals prefer this wine, but the hint of resin taste was not thoroughly appreciated by others. However, the wine’s popularity in Greek tavernas gradually extended the taste of the retsina over to tourists. Ever since wine-making became a manufacturing business, the Greek wine industry thrived and prospered, generating first-rate vintages that are like those enjoyed by the gods of Ancient Greece.
While some vintners are less adventurous, opting to pursue familiar territories, such as duplicating known beverages like Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, the Greeks have instead gone for cultivating and using their own matchless grapes to create inimitable vintages unique to the country alone; thus, bringing about more diversity in today’s global wine industry. Passionate vintners may recognize the name Ksinomavro or Xinomavro, which is known as the best Greek grape. Naoussa is the only place where this grape grows. It is said that the bitter coldness of the mountain air here facilitates to seal in the unique flavor of the grape. The Xinomavro or ‘black acid’ grape possesses a cherry-like flavor with a bit of spice. This is an elegant red wine that tastes better after it has been allowed to age for about 20 years.
The Moschofilero is another recognized grape from the Peloponnese region. With its spicy taste, this white spirit is a great aperitif and an excellent pair to faintly spiced seafood recipes. Among the more recognized whites are the Lagorthi and Malagousia - the former having a hint of lime taste and the latter with hints of peach. The Greeks produce fabulously fruity, full-bodied and crisp white wines. Red is more favored within Greece and there are plenty to choose from. The Nemean red wines vary in taste depending on age. It can be light and fresh or plumy and spicy, depending on how old they are. So, if patience is one of your virtues, allowing this wine to age longer will give you more layers in terms of taste as it offers hints of spice, earthy notes and fruity flavors. Nemean wines are best enjoyed with sweet desserts. As Greeks love to pair wines with certain dishes, it is best to ask for a local’s opinion as to the most appropriate wine to accompany your chosen dish.
Wines from Greece are becoming more widely recognized. In some states in America, like New York and Chicago, these wines have become more available, particularly since there are flourishing Greek communities there. However, when it comes to tasting some of the best Greek wines whilst taking in the scenery of where these delicious grapes were grown, it doesn’t get any better than visiting Greece itself.