Greece has dominated news headlines for years now, but not for anything particularly flattering. With the negative press the country has been getting about the amount of debt they’ve found themselves in and talks of leaving the euro behind, it’s hard to imagine a Greek industry on the rise. But in recent years, the quality of Greek wines has risen dramatically, thanks to investments in modern winemaking technology.
This isn’t to say Greek wines will be priced out of your wallet any time soon, but there is a growing potential for Greece to quickly become a contender among high quality Mediterranean wines. Many Greek vinos are already gaining notice from wine critics and casual drinkers alike. Will Lyons, wine columnist for the Wall Street Journal, quotes fellow wine writer Hugh Johnson in his March 5, 2014, article on the subject: Keep making wine like this, Greece, and I’ll drink you out of your troubles.
While the wines are becoming better and those in the business are keeping an eye on its progress, Greece still has a long way to go before its name ranks among those with billion dollar industries and worldwide recognition. Much of that will be in the hands of clever marketers and Greek wine gurus, who are tasked with educating consumers on the indigenous grape varietals planted in the country’s vineyards.
Of the oft hard-to-pronounce varietals, Moschofilero is among the more recognizable names. This white grape exudes flavors and aromas of grapefruit, white rose and melon on an elegant palate with a slightly spicy kick. Try Boutari Moschofilero ($14) with grilled seafood. Its bold flavor and evident minerality will take you from Florida to Greece in a matter of sips. A lingering finish is reminiscent of orange blossoms and citrus fruits, but the memory you’ll be left with is the surprisingly rich, unique flavor and persistent floral aroma.
The quintessential Greek red to get to know comes in the form of Xinomavro. This may well be the country’s grape of note in the coming years, as it is the most widely planted and produces wines with firm tannins and traces of both spice and blossom. Boutari Naoussa ($17) exemplifies this style and shows a beautiful blend of cedar, spice, sundried tomatoes and olive on the nose. This red is the number one seller among premium Greek reds and rightly so—its complex yet well-balanced body plays host to the sweetness of vanilla, berry and plum, as well as tingling acidity and robust tannins.
Though Greek wines have room to grow, their current offerings should give you a sneak peek into what to expect from this burgeoning Mediterranean wine region.
Meghan Guarino, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits marketing copywriter
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