Jonathan Rogers of VIN Wine Merchants in Emsworth looks at the how wine making in Greece is moving forward.
Some of us of a certain age will remember that old favourite from Greece Retsina. Produced around Athens in the Atika region from the Sevatiano variety, it’s still the most widely planted grape in Greece. But fast forward thirty years and rest of the wines of Greece are astonishingly good. It has started to build up an international reputation in producing quality wines, not from the likes of the well-known grapes that we find everywhere (although they do grow them) but from indigenous varieties which will be able to trace back their origins to ancient Greece and the home of modern wine life as we know it.
Most of these grapes are white, and producers know which ones will cope with the heat and the dry weather conditions, and this had led to the success today they are enjoying. The principal varieties include Roditis, Muscat, Mavrodaphne and Debina which makes both still and lightly sparkling wines.
There are wine regions dotted around the whole country including the islands, but its northern Greece that has the most potential to grow further. The appellation of Noussa in the Macedonia region is the most important, producing reds from the Xinomavro variety. The growing season is long producing wines with exquisite aromas full of quality. The wineries though are still poorly equipped but producing excellent wines.
The area that has seen the most exciting change in the country is Peleponnese. Its Greece’s best known wine region due to the beautiful coastline and the sheer number of historic sites frequently visited by national and international tourists.
The area of Patra in the north of the region produces some very fine white wines, mainly from the Roditis grape. Another variety that is heading up the change is the Legorthi variety which produces wines with a light fresh mineral character.
Greek wines are worth exploring and the many indigenous varieties make it an exciting wine discovery.
Zacharia’s Ambelos Red Peleponnese £11.99
Made from the Agiorgitiko grape with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a dry yet soft blackberry character with a generous tannin structure.
Zacharias Ambelos White Peleponnese £11.99
A fantastic summer white full of light fresh apple fruit with a long lingering finish and balanced acidity. Produced from the Moscofilero and roditis alepou grapes.
Debina Semi Sparkling. £17.99
A fresh light sparkle with bags of apple fruit characters throughout with a light finish.