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Greek Wine

For those who like to drink better wines . . .

Quality

The mass market produces plenty of plastic bottled reds and whites from €2.50 a litre upwards. Avoid.

Greek quality wines have successfully emerged over the last two decades, strongly helped by Greeks returning from Australia who have learned modern vinification practice. My threshold for decent tasting wine is €5 or more a bottle. But that's not a guarantee of decent wine for a couple of reasons:

  • Wine shops have low turnover for more expensive wines, and very few store them out of the heat. Much better to buy from supermarkets.
  • Quite a few producers have "look alike" labels . . . and match prices to good brands but offer thin contents!

Producers

A long term and large scale reliable producer is "Boutari", with a wide range of wines, widely distributed. Most are identified largely by grape varieties. Their wines start at the low end with a white, "Lac des Roches", around €5 a bottle. It's equivalent in value and flavour to a light Chenin Blanc (it's a blend actually) costing around £6 in a UK supermarket. Reds, from €6 to €10 per bottle, equate broadly to good supermarket reds in UK from £7 to £10.

There are also many other producers which knock spots of France and UK for value for money . Some names; Tsantalis; Mercouri. Gaia, Lazaridis, Tsepelos. Many smaller producers offer only locally available wine. 

Regions vs Grapes

Regions don't matter, so "Naoussa" or "Achaia Klaus" or "Nemea" tell you nothing about the quality. The producer is far more important.

Grapes, yes some varietals can be great, and tell you a lot more about the taste. "Agioritiko" is very versatile for reds, producing a range of more French styles and some top stuff. "Xinomavro" produces more robust reds - Sicilian style. And there are some good Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrahs around too. Broadly, Claret shaped bottles offer a Bordeaux style, Burgundy shapes a southern Rhone style. 

Must tries - some of the sweet Muscats from Samos/Limnos. Ideal to sip with a baklava or other sticky cake, but the Greeks haven't picked up that taste yet! The more expensive ones (€7 or over) are pudding wines of great quality. For Xmas pud accompaniment, consider the sweet red grape Mavrodaphni. 

Wines when Eating Out

Avoid bottled wine unless you're confident in how well the owner chooses and keeps his wine. We usually stick with the taverna's house white - if it's box supplied - about €3 per half litre. I still haven't learnt to differentiate between the large number of white grapes and their tastes. Owner's home brew . . .  most tavernas have cottoned on to the idea that the owner's home brew (proudly borne yeastily fizzing to your table) may be a life experience, but definitely isn't a top tipple.

Good source: http://www.allaboutgreekwine.com/wineries.htm

 

Apr 2016


 

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