Your Greek Wine Guide
4000 Years of Winemaking History
The mountainous, Mediterranean country in the sun-drenched southeast of Europe is often considered the birthplace of Western civilization. Archaeological evidence suggests that winemaking exisited in parts of Greece for more than 4000 years. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey confirm that viniculture was prevalent here by the 8th Century BC. Wine’s importance is also evident in Greek mythology. Dionysus (the Greek god of wine) appears in legends from every part of Greece, from the plains of Attica to the Aegean island of Chios.
Greece is much more diverse in terms of climate than most people realize. The country has everything from arid Mediterranean islands to wet, mountainous pine forests that receive snowfall in the winter. With such a diverse climate, you can expect Greek wines to be varied as well.
Additionally, in the last 15 years the Greek wine industry has improved tremendously. Greek winemakers are using modern viticulture and vineyard management techniques as well as a renewed focus on indigenous grape varieties,. Improvements in Greek winemaking can also be attributed to up and coming young winemakers who study all over the world before bringing their skills back home to Greece. This has resulted in more great and consistent wines in Greece.
White Grapes of Greece
One of the top wines in Greece, Assyrtiko is produced all over the country. The most impressive region is its place of origin on the island of Santorini. This is a lean white wine with passion fruit, flint, and lemon flavors, subtle bitterness, and saltiness on the finish. Assyrtiko labeled as Nykteri are always oaked and offer more lemon brûlée, pineapple, fennel, cream, and baked pie crust notes.
In central Peloponnese, close to Tripoli, you will find Moschofilero, a lovely dry, aromatic white wine with flavors of peach, potpourri, and sweet lemon. As the wine ages, it develops more nectarine and apricot flavors with toasted hazelnut or almond notes. If you love Moscato d’Asti, this is a great variety to explore.
Vidiano is an ancient white-wine grape from the Greek island of Crete, in the eastern Mediterranean. Although there are very few Vidiano vines left in existence (the variety was all but extinct less than 25 years ago), there are now signs of a small-scale revival. Typical Vidiano wines have acidity that is remarkably fresh and has a relatively broad spectrum of fruit flavors like lime, quince, peach, and even mango.
Venetsantos Winery Santorini Assyrtiko
Region: Santorini, Greece
Grape variety: 100% Assyrtiko
Venetsanos Winery Santorini Assyrtiko shows delicate, intense, and complex aromas of pear, white flowers, and citrus fruits.
Song: Like Exploding Stones by Kurt Vile
Out of stock
Red Grapes of Greece
The most widely planted red grape of Greece offers a wide range of styles, from rosé to red. The most exceptional Agiorgitiko wines are from Nemea. These red wines are full-bodied with flavors of sweet raspberry, black currant, plum sauce, and nutmeg with subtle bitter herbs (somewhat like oregano) and smooth tannins. The wines are generous and fruity, similar in style to Merlot, but with slightly more spice. The rosé wines made with Agiorgitiko have wonderful spiced raspberry notes and a brilliant deep pink color.
Xinomavro is being hailed as “The Barolo of Greece,” where it grows in the regions Naoussa and Amyndeo because the wine can taste strikingly similar to Nebbiolo with dark cherry fruit, licorice, allspice, and occasionally subtle tomato notes with high-tannin and medium-plus acidity. In Naoussa, vineyards are located predominantly on limestone-rich clay soils (marl), which gives this region’s Xinomavro wines additional structure (tannin) and bolder fruit characteristics. These are good wines for the cellar!
Limnio is an important Greek grape variety that has been used in red wine production for more than 2000 years. It has been mentioned by many Greek poets, including Aristotle and Homer. Limnio is full-bodied, high in alcohol, and very herbaceous, with a distinctive taste of bay leaves.
Ktima Driopi Classic Nemea
Region: Nemea, Greece
Grape variety: 100% Agiorgitiko
Ktima Driopi Classic Nemea features generous aromas of red fruit and dried nuts. Tannins are luscious and the wine offers a velvety finish.
Song: Fo Sho by Kurt Vile
Out of stock
Vaimaki Popolka Macedonia Red
Region: Amyndeo, Greece
Grape varieties: 100% Xinomavro
Vaimaki Popolka Macedonia Red is natural, zero-zero red Xinomavro, from its birthplace and from the master of the kind, Vasilis Vaimakis.
Song: Cupid De Locke by The Smashing Pumpkins
Out of stock
Garalis Limnio Organic Red
Region: Lemnos, Greece
Grape varieties: 100% Limnio
Garalis Limnio Organic Red is made with the oldest referenced grape in the world and vinified naturally in the volcanic soil of Lemnos.
Song: Show Me Everything by Tindersticks
Out of stock
Food Pairings for Greek Wines
Greece has been producing wine since ancient times, and it’s always been a consistent staple at any meal, consumed daily. Greek wines are meant to be enjoyed with food — it’s the Greek way. Whether your wine choice is white, red, or even sweet, you can never go wrong sticking with the wines from in-country with the foods of Greece.
Light and bright white wines are perfect for both raw and grilled seafood. Light reds work well with mezze (similar to Spain’s tapas) and fresh vegetables. Heavier reds match well with grilled or
But you don’t have to stick with just Greek foods! Greek wines go with all the cuisines of the Mediterranean. From Spain and Italy to Morocco and Turkey, you can match these wines with any country that touches the Mediterranean Sea.