WINES of Greece

An old heritage worth remembering

History

In the ancient world, Greece was once one of the foremost producers of wine. However, in contrast to the country’s important wine heritage, modern Greek wines are only just now emerging in the rest of the world. In fact, these days Greece offers outstanding value for its wines and there are many new varieties that will certainly expand your palate. The origins of wine-making in Greece go back 6,500 years and evidence suggesting wine production confirm that Greece is home to the second oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the world and the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. The spread of Greek civilization and their worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, spread Dionysian cults throughout the Mediterranean areas during the period of 1600 BC to the year 1. Hippocrates used wine for medicinal purposes and readily prescribed it. Greek wines and their varieties were well known and traded throughout the Mediterranean. The Vitis vinifera grape which thrives in temperate climates near coastal areas with mild winters and dry summers adapted well and flourished in the Northern Mediterranean areas. The most reputable wines of ancient Greece were Chian, Coan, Corcyraean, Cretan, Euboean, Lesbian, Leucadian, Mendaean, Peparethan wine, Rhodian and Thasian. Wine was also important for ancient Macedonia. Two other names may or may not be regional: Bibline wine and Pramnian wine are named in the earliest Greek poetry, but without any reliable geographical details.


Kir-Yianni, Akakies Sparkling Rosé 2017

$7 / $26

Kir-Yianni was established in 1997 by Yiannis Boutaris, one of the leading figures in the Greek wine industry. Kir-Yianni, “Sir John” in Greek, is best known for producing premium Xinomavro from the slopes of Mt. Vermio in Northwestern Greece. The Amyndeon vineyard is located in one of the most promising Greek winemaking regions. This smaller of the two vineyards is home to the winery’s white varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Assyrtiko, Roditis, Malagouzia, etc. The vineyard lies at an altitude of 700 meters within the viticultural zone of Agios Panteleimon, in the Amyndeon Appelation in Northwestern Greece, the only Greek P.D.O for rosé wines. The vineyard’s mean yield does not exceed 40 hl/he. The soil is sandy and poor, thus offering the possibility of producing wines of exquisite quality and rich aromas. The microclimate of the region is characterised by cold winters and warm summers, while the four neighbouring lakes contribute to the existence of a mild continental climate. Food Pairing It can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif or matched perfectly with roasted chicken, dishes based on salmon or tuna and vegetarian dishes of the Mediterranean or Asian cuisine.


Domaine Skouras, White Blend Zoe 2017

$5 / $18

A long-held vision, the creation of Domaine Skouras materialized in 1986. Initially, the small wine-making facility was in Pyrgela, a small village on the outskirts of Argos. The next logical step was the creation of a boutique winery in the Nemea Appellation area, in the village of Gimno. There, the countless hours of manual work on an extremely small scale became an invaluable study on the Agiorgitiko variety and the Nemea denomination. The establishment of the final winery in Malandreni, also in the Nemea Appellation, took place in 2004. The new infrastructure increased capacity and technical capabilities, but not for creating more technical wines. The color is bright white-yellow with green hues. The nose is complex and the wine exudes aromas of fresh flowers, with hints of crushed blossoms and of fruits such as avocado. A relaxed pace and a luxurious texture give flavors of citrus fruit and touches of jasmine and mint. Ιn the aftertaste, the acidity travels across the palate for a clean, extended finish.


Alexakis, Assyrtiko 2017

$6 / $22

Alexakis –a family-owned-and-run winery– is the largest winery on the island of Crete. The company is managed by enologist-chemical engineer Stelios Alexakis (founder of the business in the 70’s), Sofia, his wife, and their sons, Lazaros and Apostolos. Both Lazaros and Apostolos are enologists, with degrees from the Universities of  Florence, Italy and Fresno, California respectively and are responsible for production, marketing, and the winery’s current evolution. Blending family traditions, know-how and experience with their very own innovative ideas, they plan and implement exciting products and projects, using every drop of their rich and valuable heritage. Today, Alexakis enjoys the privilege to harvest and secure grapes of remarkable terroir and top quality. Its end products are award-winning bottles, acknowledged and celebrated not just in Crete and around Greece, but also on the world stage.


Douloufakis, Dafnes Liatko Dafnios 2016

$5.5 / $20

In 1930, Dimitris Douloufakis became one of the first winemakers in Crete to produce wines professionally in his traditional, old winery. A consistent award winner, Dimitris’s grandson, Nikolas, who received his oenology degree from the university at Alba, now runs the winery carrying on his grandfather’s traditional practices but with more modern equipment and facilities. This region has a long history in viticulture and also has been established as a Protected Designation of Origin for Liatiko wines. Average altitude is about 300 meters above sea level. In addition to the natural choice of Liatiko, Nikolas grows other Cretan indigenous varieties such as Kotsifali, Vilana, Vidiano, along with other international varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Nikolas also cultivates a host of international varieties (including Barbera and Sangiovese) on an experimental basis, but the focus here is on native varieties. The privately-owned vineyards are certified 100% organic and span over 70 acres of rolling hills in the Dafnes sub-region, a village close to Iraklio in Crete. The organic fever that is sweeping the world leaves Nikolas bemused. He says, “Crete has an advantage in the transition to natural cultivation – we never adopted unnatural methods. 100% Liatiko. This is an indigenous cretan grape that is fermented in stainless steel and aged for nine months in used oak barrels. Expect a fantastic combination of fruit and spice with a round mellow texture.


Alexakis, Crete Syrah Kotsifali 2014

$5.5 / $19

Alexakis –a family-owned-and-run winery– is the largest winery on the island of Crete. The company is managed by enologist-chemical engineer Stelios Alexakis (founder of the business in the 70’s), Sofia, his wife, and their sons, Lazaros and Apostolos. Both Lazaros and Apostolos are enologists, with degrees from the Universities of  Florence, Italy and Fresno, California respectively and are responsible for production, marketing, and the winery’s current evolution. Blending family traditions, know-how and experience with their very own innovative ideas, they plan and implement exciting products and projects, using every drop of their rich and valuable heritage.   Today, Alexakis enjoys the privilege to harvest and secure grapes of remarkable terroir and top quality. Its end products are award-winning bottles, acknowledged and celebrated not just in Crete and around Greece, but also on the world stage. Intense dark red, with a complex bouquet, reminiscent of forest fruits and hints of green pepper. A well-structured velvety taste in the mouth, flawless balanced acidity and long aftertaste.


Domaine Skouras, Zoe Red 2017

$5.5 / $19

A long-held vision, the creation of Domaine Skouras materialized in 1986. Initially, the small wine-making facility was in Pyrgela, a small village on the outskirts of Argos. The next logical step was the creation of a boutique winery in the Nemea Appellation area, in the village of Gimno. There, the countless hours of manual work on an extremely small scale became an invaluable study on the Agiorgitiko variety and the Nemea denomination. The establishment of the final winery in Malandreni, also in the Nemea Appellation, took place in 2004. The new infrastructure increased capacity and technical capabilities, but not for creating more technical wines. For the Domaine Skouras team, technology is all about control and observation, allowing for minimal intervention on the wines, if and when it is needed – and only to the requisite extent.