Wine & Spirits

Get To Know Greece’s Diverse Wines

November 19, 2023

Nestled within the ancient hills, islands, and coastal regions of Greece lies a treasure trove of diverse wines, each a unique expression of the country’s rich terroir. From the volcanic soils of Santorini to the mountainous landscapes of Macedonia, let’s embark on a deep dive into the different types of Greek wines, their flavor notes, and the regions that bring them to life.

Assyrtiko: Santorini’s Volcanic Elegance:

Region: Santorini
Flavor Notes: Assyrtiko, the flagship white grape of Santorini, thrives in the island’s volcanic soil. Known for its high acidity and minerality, Santorini Assyrtiko offers notes of citrus, green apple, and a distinctive saline character. The grapes, grown in unique basket-shaped vines called ‘kouloura’, withstand strong winds, contributing to the wine’s complexity.

Malagousia: Aromatic Renaissance in Northern Greece:

Region: Northern Greece (Thessaly, Macedonia)
Flavor Notes: Malagousia, a white grape nearly lost to obscurity, has experienced a remarkable revival. Wines crafted from Malagousia showcase fragrant aromas of apricot, peach, and jasmine. The grape’s ability to retain acidity imparts freshness, making it an excellent choice for elegant and aromatic white wines.

Moschofilero: The Floral Elegance of the Peloponnese:

Region: Peloponnese
Flavor Notes: Grown primarily in the high-altitude vineyards of Mantinia, Moschofilero is a pink-skinned grape that produces aromatic and vibrant white wines. Expect floral notes of rose petals, citrus blossoms, and hints of spice. These wines are renowned for their crisp acidity and refreshing character, making them ideal for warm weather.

(Photo: unsplash)

Xinomavro: The Noble Red of Northern Greece:

Region: Naoussa (Macedonia), Amyndeon (Macedonia)
Flavor Notes: Xinomavro, often referred to as the ‘Barolo of the South’, yields robust red wines with high acidity and firm tannins. The flavor profile includes dark fruit such as cherry and plum, accompanied by earthy notes, tomato, and hints of cinnamon. Xinomavro’s aging potential allows for the development of complex tertiary aromas.

Agiorgitiko: Nemea’s Versatile Red Grape:

Region: Nemea (Peloponnese)
Flavor Notes: Agiorgitiko, the red grape of Nemea, is celebrated for its versatility. Depending on winemaking techniques, it produces a range of styles from bold reds to refreshing rosés. Common flavor notes include ripe red fruit like cherry and strawberry, coupled with velvety tannins and a touch of spice.

Savatiano: The Workhorse Grape of Attica:

Region: Attica
Flavor Notes: Savatiano, one of Greece’s most planted white grapes, is a workhorse that thrives in the vineyards of Attica. While often used in the production of Retsina, a resin-flavored wine, Savatiano also creates crisp and un-oaked whites. Expect citrusy aromas, green apple, and a refreshing acidity that makes it a perfect match for seafood.

Limnio: Limnos Island’s Indigenous Treasure:

Region: Limnos
Flavor Notes: Limnio, considered one of the oldest grape varieties in the world, hails from the island of Limnos. Red wines made from Limnio exhibit a medium to full-bodied profile with red fruit notes, subtle herbal nuances, and a well-integrated acidity. The grape’s adaptability to different winemaking styles showcases its potential for both youthful and age-worthy wines.

Greek wines, deeply rooted in the country’s diverse terroir, offer a kaleidoscope of flavors and styles. From the brisk minerality of Santorini Assyrtiko to the robust tannins of Naoussa Xinomavro, each sip is an exploration of Greece’s rich viticultural heritage. As winemakers continue to elevate indigenous grape varieties and experiment with modern techniques, the world is invited to savor the terroir tapestry that defines Greek wine. Whether on the sun-drenched islands or the mountainous mainland, each region contributes to this liquid mosaic, making Greek wines a captivating journey for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.



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