Wine & Spirits

Top Greek Wines to Accompany Holiday Meals

November 19, 2023

NEW YORK – Earlier this year, several events highlighted the wonderful wines of Greece, including ‘The Power of She’ Wine Dinner hosted by three Greek women winemakers- Katerina Bosinaki, Sosanna Katsikosta, and Theodora Rouvali, which was held at Molyvos in Manhattan on May 11.

The wine tasting and dinner introduced the guests to some of the excellent, high quality wines produced by these three dedicated winemakers in the Peloponnese.

The Bosinakis Winery is located in Tripoli, while Katsikosta’s Acheon Winery and the Rouvalis Winery are both located in Aigio. Each of the winemakers is continuing a longstanding tradition of winemaking at their family-owned wineries and building on their success year after year, always striving to produce and promote their remarkable wines under some extremely difficult circumstances, especially in recent years with the pandemic and before that during the economic crisis in Greece. Their inspiring efforts are shining a light on high quality Greek wines that should be on everyone’s table. During the holiday season, these excellent wines pair well with a variety of foods, from appetizers, soups, and salads to heartier main courses and meat dishes.

The event included wonderful wine selection paired with delicious foods prepared by Executive Chef Jose Vega at Molyvos that can inspire your own holiday menus.

Greek yogurt with berry topping was served for dessert with the Acheon Winery’s Fairytale, PGI Achaia, a semi-sweet rose wine made with Moscato (90%) and Mavrodaphne (10%) grapes. (Photo by Eleni Sakellis)

The dinner began with Cucumber Melon Soup made with poached shrimp, tomatillo, and Greek yogurt paired with Mantinia Bosinakis, a dry white wine made with 100% Moschofilero grapes, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Mantinia, 2022.

Bosinaki noted that the wine is from a mountainous area which imparts certain characteristics such as an intense ‘nose’ with rose petals, citrus, and ginger. She added that unlike what many people think of as the Greek climate with hot, sunny beaches, the Mantinia region has cold winters and cooler summers than other parts of Greece, which makes the wines from the area unique.

Next on the menu was the Day Boat Sea Scallop Marinato with citrus, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and Fresno peppers served with the 100% Moschofilero, Ieria Bosinakis, Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Arcadia, 2022, a dry rose wine that could pair well with practically any food. Bosinaki noted that the Moschofilero is a thin-skinned grape and is the same grape used for the first wine that was served, and also for the second wine, the dry rose,

Wild Prawn Saganaki with roasted fennel, tomato, onions, feta cheese, and grilled country bread was served next with the Acheon Winery’s dry white wine Icon R- Skin Contact, made with 100% Roditis Fox, PDO Patras, 2020. Katsikosta said that the Roditis is the main variety of the Aigialeia region, adding that its characteristic is the citrus aromas such as bergamot and bitter orange.

The Pan Roasted Black Sea Bass with wild leeks and sweet peas creamy rice pilaf and Assyrtiko vinegar reduction was next on the menu served with the Assyrtiko from the Rouvalis Winery, PGI Slopes of Aigialeia, 2021, which was a refreshing dry white wine. Rouvali mentioned that Assyrtiko is the most famous grape variety from Santorini, but it is totally different when grown in the mountainous Aigialeia region, noting the geologic activity of the area. “We have a lot of earthquakes, we all know the best regions for wine are all volcanic regions for the terroir,” she said, adding that the acidity of the soil is different from Santorini, so that the Rouvalis Assyrtiko wine has a more soft and fruity aspect.

Braised Short Ribs with creamy polenta, Mavrodaphne-glazed pearl onions, tomato red wine reduction, and crispy shallots was then served with the Mavrodaphne, Laura Nobile, Acheon Winery, PGI Slopes of Aigialeia 2019, and the Mavrodaphne, Tsigello, Rouvalis Winery, PGI Slopes of Aigialeia 2021, two dry red wines that both paired well with the meaty short ribs. Rouvali explained that because Mavrodaphne is best known as a sweet red dessert wine, they use ‘Tsigello’ on the label for their dry red wine though the wine is made from the same grapes. She noted that Mavrodaphne is Greek for ‘black laurel’.

As a special surprise to conclude the dinner, creamy Greek yogurt with a berry topping was served along with Acheon Winery’s Fairytale, PGI Achaia, a semi-sweet rose wine made with Moscato (90%) and Mavrodaphne (10%) grapes. With aromas of red summer fruit and wild flowers, it offers a charming balance between freshness and sweetness.

Sosanna Katsikosta told The National Herald that “each Greek producer, whatever product they are producing, they love what they are doing, because this is a difficult job which requires a great deal of toil.”

“It’s not a job where you know the conditions are a given, that everything will be easy and go well,” she continued. “We can’t control the weather – its changing all the time, the conditions are changing, and that is why the Greek products are of such high quality. Apart from the soil, the terroir and climate conditions of Greece, there is the love of the producer inside those products because he struggled so much to produce that product.”

Also among the wines at the tasting were the Acheon Winery’s Iron – Sideritis PGI Achaia dry white wine and the Rouvalis Winery’s Asprolithi PDO Patras.

More information about each winery is available online.

Acheon Winery: https://www.acheonwinery.gr/en/

Bosinakis Winery: https://www.facebook.com/FineGreekWine/

Rouvalis Winery: https://www.rouvaliswinery.gr/en/.


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