Dracaena Wines

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Podcast Episode 19: An Interview with the Greek Winemakers

 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 Wine Regions: courtesy Wikipedia

Greek Varietals to Know

1. Agiorgitiko

(ah-gee-or-gee-tee-ko): This grape produces lush, velvety reds with black-cherry flavors.

2. Assyrtiko

(ah-sir-tee-ko): A source of minerally, bone-dry, citrus-edged white wines.

3. Athiri

(ah-thee-ree): Wines from this white variety often have a scent of stone fruits, like nectarines.

4. Malagousia

(mah-la-goo-see-ah): This melony, jasmine-scented white was on the brink of extinction before winemaker Evangelos Gerovassiliou began growing it again.

5. Moscofilero

(mos-ko-fi-ler-oh): A primarily Peloponnesian white, its wines have tangerine and blossom scents.

6. Roditis

(ro-dee-tis): Elegant and light-bodied, this pink-skinned grape produces crisp whites and rosés.

7. Xinomavro

(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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Episode 19: An Interview with the Greek Winemakers

 

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~Sláinte!