We’re Toasting: New Wines of Greece

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Last year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Greece with the group New Wines of Greece, promoting both the indigenous varieties of the country as well as the modern day winemakers that are proving how very special wines from this country can be. This morning on D: The Broadcast I had an opportunity to talk about a few of my favorite New Wines of Greece (click here to view).

Lyrarakis

If you follow my blog you know I was completely inspire by the trip, coming home and creating recipe after recipe to capture the flavors of the country, from stuffed calamari and grilled fish to marry with the steely, citrus and acid rich whites of the islands to roasted lamb chops and Domatokeftethes (incredible tomato fritters), and the incredible olive oil roasted potatoes….all so delicious, and all so perfect with the native wines of the country.

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Follow the jump for more on the individual wines I discussed on the show, or click the links above for the recipes.

Greek wines have come a long way in recent years and the country is producing some of the most amazing wines all over, not just the steely Assyrtico Santorini is best known for – here are some of my favorites.

  • The first wine press found in the world in Crete dating back to 3000 BC in the Minoan culture from the Bronze era, the area is thought to have been devastated (as many throughout the country were) by volcanoes over the years, but Homer first talked about this press in his writings

1) Kretikos Boutari Kotsifali and Mantilaria blend from Crete – $13 at Central Market and Sigel’s, very balanced, not overly tannic, easy to drink red from Crete…any easy red introductory wine to Greek wines – blackberry, cranberry and plum flavors with earthiness and minerality

2) Sigalas Assyrtico from Santorini – $25 at Spec’s, the white wine Greece is known for, highly acidic and fresh with big flavors of lemon, lime and tangerine with equally as much intense minerality and a touch of brininess from the sea

  • photo of basket vines in Santorini because it is so windy on the cliffs that Santorini is built on, the only way to grow grapes is to wrap the vines around themselves to make a basket type structure.

3) Malagouzia from Alpha Estate – $20, an ancient white thought to be extinct that Vangelis Gerovassiliou when he was with Porto Carras re-invigorated and revitalized. Now he is growing the variety at his Domaine Gerovassiliou outside of Thesoliniki, as are many producers in the country including this one from Alpha Estates. Floral, fresh and vibrant without being too abrupt, as Assyrtico might be. Similar to a Viognier yet a little lighter body, so great with anything from summer salads with goat or farmers cheese to light fish dishes.

4) Gaia Estate Agiorgitiko (“ah yor YEE ti ko”) from Nemea- $25, very fragrant, black skinned grape – wine filled with black cherry and black berry with structure, intensity and lush balance with a smooth, inviting finish

5) Kir Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro from Naoussa, northern part of Macedonia – $25-$30, owner Stellios Boutari is a true ambassador for Greek wine, helping people around the world understand these interesting grapes. I love Xinomavro, like an intense Barolo or Vino Noble with big tannin that needs some time to soften, but when it does it is incredible – great steak or roasted lamb wine.

  • photo of Kir Yianni vines in Naoussa – in the lush hills of Macedonia, very mountainous, very old world and very, very green…nothing like the islands

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