About Greek Wines
Wine is one of the oldest products of the Greek earth. The vine is basic to Greece’s agricultural traditions, and it has always flourished – literally – in the same area as wheat and olive trees, an agricultural trinity whose roots are lost in time.
Today, the wine industry is one of the most vibrant and progressive in Greece. The country produces wines with great regional diversity. Island wines are highly distinct from those produced in Greece’s mountainous regions and in inland valleys. Arguably, the most promising aspect of the entire Greek winemaking landscape is the country’s singular range of indigenous grapes. The world wine market is dominated more and more by varietal-driven, as opposed to terroir-driven, wines.
That’s great news for Greek wines. There are more than 300 local grape varieties that are exclusively reek, many of which have existed by the same name since antiquity. These lend to a specific, unique identity to Greek wines and a point of differentiation, which is their greatest selling point. International grape varieties have also adapted well to the Greek growing environment, and Greece offers an excellent range of varietal wines made from international grapes as well as some beguiling blends with native grapes. There are 28 appellation-of-origin vineyards in Greece and 80 areas designated as Vin de Pays. Wine has always been part of the Greek table and an integral part of Greek gastronomy. Because of their aromatic qualities, though, many of our wines may also be drunk as aperitifs.
The Greek white varieties display an array of floral and fruity aromas with crisp, clean, mineral flavors. They have wonderful acidity that goes well with a variety of international cuisines. Producers largely support the new trend away from the over-oaked whites that have dominated the international wine scene.
The red varieties show character and typicity and are not overly manipulated. The native red varieties combine fruit and earthy aromas with firm acidities that lend themselves to the production of many different styles of wine that range from fresh, pleasing, aromatic reds and roses to extraordinarily complex, full-bodied red wines with long aging potential.
Greeks have been producing world-class sweet wines since ancient times
and continue to produce outstanding dessert wines that still rival the best from around the world. To put it simply: there is something new to be discovered in the world’s oldest wine-making tradition.
White Skinned Grape Varieties
Assyrtiko [a-SEER-tee-ko]. The finest Greek white variety and arguably
one of the best in the Mediterranean. Planted in the volcanic soils of Santorini, it produces wines with extract, body, mineral and acidity.
Athiri [a-THEE-ree]. Grown widely in the Cyclades and Dodecanese islands. Quite soft and round.
Malagousia [ma-la-ghoo-zee-A]. It can impress purely by its remarkable
character and individuality. Wines are characterized as intense, aromatic, rich and complex.
Muscat. Traditionally used for the production of sweet wines.
Robola [ro-BO-la]. The most important grape of the Ionian Islands. It can produce powerful, rich, alcoholic wines when ripe. Earlier harvesting can result in wines with a leaner palate, attractive lemony flavors and aroma.
Roditis [ro-THEE-tees]. Broad and rich, without any heaviness.
Acidity is moderately low with aromas of white peaches and melon.
Savatiano [sa-va-tee-a-NO]. Greece’s most widely-planted white variety.
It produces wines that are powerful, dense and aromatic.
Pink Skinned Grape Varieties
Moschofilero [mo-scho-FEE-le-ro]. Light with vibrant acidity, floral aromas, and incredible elegance.
Red Skinned Grape Varieties
Aghiorgitiko [a-gee-or-GEE-tee-ko]. Closely associated with Nemea in the Peloponnese, it produces a huge variation in styles ranging from fresh young reds to dark, complex, oak-aged wines rich in tannins with intense fruit character, spicy aromas, soft texture with an underlying bright acidity.
Kotsifali [ko-tsee-FA-lee]. Mainly planted in Crete. It has the ability
to attain high sugar levels with low acidity.
Limnio [lee-mnee-O]. It produces full-bodied wines with high alcohol.
Mavrodaphne [ma-vro-DAF-nee]. Planted in Northwest Peloponnese and Ionian Islands, the “black laurel” grape, as its name translates, is deeply colored, with intense aromas.
Xinomavro [xee-NO-mav-ro]. It can produce wines of great character; breathtaking complexity that have the ability to age well and complement a wide range of foods.