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Wine Club Newsletter - January 2024

Updated: May 11

Wines from Greece, You NEED to Try Them.

As many of our WineSellar Club Members may be aware, Lori and I offer international wine and culture tours every year. In 2023, we went to Greece for two separate groups, totaling thirty-four people.

To a person, each of them questioned the quality of Greek wines before we left the continent. I understood this completely, as my experience with wines from Greece have been tainted by the dreaded old world Retsina, a wine that was oxidized and had resin added to it. What could go wrong there, right?

One of our staff, Bridget West, was offered a tour to Greece to discover the lands and the wines produced there. She returned touting the virtues of Greek wines, we brought some in to the wine shop, and now we have wines from Greece permanently in stock.

We toured about a dozen top wineries while on our Greece tour, and I came away with a fondness for the wines, and personally ordered five cases for myself. When we got back home, our two groups ordered almost fifty cases of the wines we tried while there.

So our wine shop naturally ordered extra to put on our showroom floor, and we still have a lovely selection of them. This includes a modern day Retsina, which if light, refreshing, and has a great acid to fruit balance in the mouth.

And best of all, they are priced most reasonably. May I suggest you come down and let one of my staff guide you through some interesting selections? This is what wine fun is all about.

Here are some basics of wines from Greece:

The wines of Greece are starting to gain ground again, however, and The Wine Society has the proof: Greek wine is now outselling Argentinian for the retailer.

Greece has tons of grapes across its spread-out lands. In fact, as Matthew Horsley – wine buyer at The Wine Society – explains “the most exciting thing about Greece is the range of indigenous varieties. Technically it has the highest percentage of indigenous varieties per hectare of any country on the planet – even more than Italy! So, there’s always something else to explore”.

The depths of Greek wine are still vastly untouched in the mainstream, and on our next page, I will supply a list of some of the more popular Varietals with their classic attributes and characteristics. They will be in order of the general popularity of use of the grape type.

White Wines

Assyrtiko (aa SEER tee ko) Greece’s and possibly the World’s finest white wine varietal. One of the rare white varieties that can grow in hot and dry conditions, whilst producing wines of high alcohol in perfect balance with high acidity. Great textures emphasizing extraction, body and structure.

Aidani (ay DA nee). Hints or yellow fruit, mineral and flowers. Generally medium in body and alcohol with moderate acidity. Often blended with Assyrtiko.

Malagoudia (mah lah gou SYA)  Intense, highly expre3ssive fruits, hints of peaches, bell epper, basil and flowers. Round and full, but always fresh. Great for fans of Voignier and Chardonnay.

Moschofilero (mos coh FEE ler oh) Greyish skin, intensely floral, especially with rose petals, some citrus, lychee aromatics, crisp acidity and medium low alcohol. Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc like.

Vidiano (vee thee ah NO) Up and coming white varietal originating in Crete. Floral, stone fruits, creamy, balanced with medium high acidity, medium in body.

Savatiano (sav ah TEE ah no) Greece's most planted grape variety, best known for its role in the country's infamous Retsina wines, although technological advances in modern winemaking have led to an upsurge in well-made, dry, intense, wines that show herbaceous characteristics with citrus and white flowers.

Red Wines

Agiorgitiko (ah yor YEE te ko) THE GRAPE of Nemea. Agiorgitiko grapes produce the best balance of tannins and acidity and much like Xinomavro, can age brilliantly. A good Agiorgitiko is full-bodied and most similar to a Merlot but with more spice, or it can be light and fruity, akin to a Beaujolais. Suits oak aging.

Xinomavro (ksee NO ma vro) A good Xinomavro has tannic qualities and a high acidity – similar to an Italian Nebbiolo. They can age for a long time too, developing spicy, earthy aromas as they do.

Mavrotragano (av ro TRAH gah no) The name Mavrotragano in greek means 'black and crunchy', which aptly describes its texture. It's a deeply colored grape, producing wines that are rich in tannins and medium-to-high in acidity. The flavor profile is complex, featuring wild berries, red cherries, spices, and minerals. These wines are often compared to the northern Rhône Syrah for their full-bodied and powerful nature. 

Limniona (lim nee OH na) The rising star of the Greek red varieties, packing extract, concentration, acidity and flavor. well balanced by complex dark red-fruit flavors and aromas, with minerality behind them, and with plenty of tannins—but soft tannins—so that the wine may be drunk young but will well reward substantial aging, a decade or more. In short, they are full of interest without being overpowering, which is a Good Thing.



Gary Parker, Owner

The WineSellar & Brasserie

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