A Little about Greek Wine:
Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and the first wine-producing territory in Europe. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where wine was produced on a household or communal basis.
A system of appellations was implemented to assure consumers the origins of their wine purchases. The appellation system categorizes wines as:
- Onomasia Proelefsis Anoteras Poiotitos (O.P.A.P.), i.e. an Appellation of Origin of Superior Quality
- Onomasia Proelefsis Eleghomeni (O.P.E.), i.e. a Controlled Appellation of Origin
- Topikos Oinos, i.e. a Vin de pays
- Epitrapezios Oinos, i.e. a Vin de table
- Epitrapezios Oinos, regular table wine which usually comes in screw-top containers
- Cava, more prestigious, aged “reserve” blends (minimum aging: 2 years for whites; 3 years for reds)
- Retsina, a traditional wine, flavored with pine resin
Greek Varietals to Know
(ah-gee-or-gee-tee-ko): This grape produces lush, velvety reds with black-cherry flavors.
(ah-sir-tee-ko): A source of minerally, bone-dry, citrus-edged white wines.
(ah-thee-ree): Wines from this white variety often have a scent of stone fruits, like nectarines.
(mah-la-goo-see-ah): This melony, jasmine-scented white was on the brink of extinction before winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou began growing it again.
(mos-ko-fi-ler-oh): A primarily Peloponnesian white, its wines have tangerine and blossom scents.
(ro-dee-tis): Elegant and light-bodied, this pink-skinned grape produces crisp whites and rosés.
(zhee-no-mav-ro): This red has floral and spice aromas, firm tannins, and vibrant fruit.
Wine grapes are grown, more or less, all over Greece. A few top regions are the Cyclades, especially Santorini, where Assyrtiko and other vines are tied into a basket shape to protect the fruit against the continuous wind; the Peloponnese peninsula, particularly Neméa, which produces full-bodied, juicy reds like Agiorgitiko; and Náoussa in Macedonia, the heart of Xinomavro.
sources: foodandwine.com, decanter, wikipedia
I was invited to attend the Wines of Greece event held at City Winery in NYC. I got to sample Greek wines from 39 of the top wineries and interview some winemakers who shared their stories of innovative winemaking and their passion for making quality wines.
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