The cradle of democracy is also the home of viticulture. Greek wines have come a long way since their ancient beginnings.
If I had to pick one wine section in the store that is the most often overlooked, I would have to say it’s the Greek wine section. Unless a customer is specifically looking for a wine to pair with Greek food, most of us rarely think to look to Greek wines swhen looking for affordable, refreshing, dry white wines or easy-drinking red wines that many of you buy on a regular basis. It’s ironic because we all associate the Greeks with the origins of wine, but now it’s the last country we think of for modern wines.
Well, Greek wines have improved dramatically in the last 20 years and more and more high quality wines can be found and at great prices. Greek wines are ideal to pair with Mediterranean foods, so naturally they are also a great match for our California cuisine. Next time you’re looking for a fun new wine to try, don’t forget the Greeks!
Here are some new and exciting Greek wines available in the store now:
2017 Alpha Estate Malagouzia, Amyndeon
Malagouzia is an indigenous Greek grape that almost went extinct but has made a comeback since the 1970’s and is now grown all over Greece. Malagouzia produces medium bodied dry white wines that are highly aromatic with scents of flowers, citrus fruits and herbs. Alpha’s Malagouzia is zesty and bright and dense with citrus fruits. This is a great white wine to pair with Mediterranean foods and cheeses and especially seafood dishes.
$17.99 per bottle
2017 Santo Wines Assyrtiko, Santorini
Assyrtiko is Greece’s most acclaimed white wine and the best examples are produced from old vines on the island of Santorini. Assyrtiko wines from Santorini are typically bone-dry and citrus driven with an intense vein of minerality from the volcanic soils in which the vines are grown, and a little more weight than your average Mediterranean white wine. Assyrtiko is an ideal white wine to pair with seafood but also pairs great with robust Mediterranean salads and grilled white meats. Santo Wines is a cooperative winery started in 1947 to represent all the growers on the island. Their Assyrtiko is a textbook example of this world class wine and a great value at this price.
$19.99 per bottle
2017 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko/Athiri Blend, Santorini
Sigalas is recognized as one of Greece’s top wine producers and a master of the Assyrtiko grape. This elegant white wine is a blend of 75% Assyrtiko and 25% Athiri and is a fantastic example of the high quality wines Sigalas produces. This is a richly textured white with plenty of sun ripened citrus fruits yet the wine is well balanced and refreshing with a salty vein of minerality cutting through the richness. This wine is Santorini in a glass and is ideal for enjoying with Mediterranean seafood dishes.
$24.99 per bottle
2016 Domaine Skouras ‘Zoe’ Red, Nemea
This super affordable and energetic blend of 90% Agiorgitiko (ah-yee-or-yee-tee-ko) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon really took me by surprise when I first tasted it. I often expect Greek reds to be powerful and dense because of the hot Greek sun but this delightful and fairly light red is vibrant, spicy and fresh with juicy red cherry and plum fruits. This is an easy drinking red that will pair well is a wide variety of foods and can even be served slightly chilled for dinners on warm summer nights.
$11.99 per bottle
2016 Domaine Skouras Saint George Agiorgitiko, Nemea
The wines from Domaine Skouras are great examples of the improved quality of Greek wines being produced now from indigenous Greek grapes. This 100% Agiorgitiko (ah-yee-or-yee-tee-ko) wine is medium bodied, smooth and well balanced with ripe red and violet fruits and acidity. Twelve months aging in French oak adds structure, elegance and spice to this crowd pleasing wine. I consider it one of the top value wines in the store!
$14.99 per bottle