In an earlier posting this year, I discussed the great whites of Greece. The country has an enormous 8,500 mile coastline (including 1,400 islands), so there’s a tendency for a myopic focus on pairing white wines with Greece’s sea-based cuisine. Truth be known, however, culinary Greece not only heavily leans toward lamb and pork, but the surrounding oceans have long been over-fished making anything from the sea very expensive. There’s an entire new world of red wines from Greece that warrants exploration. The good news is that many of the best are exported.
In addition to many indigenous red grapes, Greece is now growing international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Syrah. The country’s winemakers are heading off to study in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Tuscany…and returning to their homeland armed with viticultural degrees from the best universities in Europe. Bazillons of Euro’s have been invested in the last ten years in Greece’s wine industry. All of this makes for an interesting landscape for wine consumers.
Below are my top 3 picks for your next Toga party:
· Domaine Gerovassillou, Avaton 2008. This one, winner of a gold medal in London at the illustrious Decanter Awards, is a luscious blend of three indigenous grapes : Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano grown in Greece’s far north, Macedonia. Imported into the US. $30
· Gaia Estate Nemea 2007. From one of the top producers in Greece, located 90 minutes south of Athens on the Peloponnese. Made from the indigenous Agiorgitiko (St George), it’s chocked full of complexity with layers of raspberry, truffles and floral…a long finish completes the super package. Imported into the US. $45
· Domaine Skouras Megas Oenos 2008. I visited this estate shortly after its jaw-dropping winery was built on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens. Megas Oenos is one of Greece’s iconic wines, made from 80% Agiorgitiko and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Imported into the US. $25