(Re)Discover Greek Wines Podcast

My introduction to Greek wines came via a trip to Santorini. (Six years ago, dang!) It was an epic journey, and I got to sport my summer torso wardrobe of white t-shirts. One of the most remarkable things about the island is its vineyards. These are not manicured rows that grace the cover of magazines and what not. Here’s an example:

Not Napa.

Yup, that’s a vineyard. The vines are woven like a basket, so they protect grapes hiding inside. Punishing winds and sun would wreck them if the vines and foliage weren’t low to the ground and therefore providing a shield. Pretty amazing, huh? Furthermore, you can see the vines are very close to the sea.

But, wait! Greek wines go way beyond the islands. Head to the mountainous mainland. What, can’t hop on a plane because of your dang life commitments/finances? Maybe you should soothe your disappointment by listening to the latest episode of the What We’re Tasting podcast. I speak with Wine Enthusiast Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa, who reviews wines from Greece.

Greek Wines Podcast

The grapes we discuss are Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, and Xinomavro. The first two become white wines, while the latter blossoms into a red. (BTW, if you are jonesing for some Greek rosé, check out one of the best I’ve had this year.)

Again, I’d like to beat the drum for checking out the indigenous grapes of a country with an extremely long wine history, like Greece. Nothing wrong with California Chardonnay but one of the things that makes wine fun and still interesting for a dude with not one but two history degrees (Grinnell Pioneer and NAU Lumberjack) is exploring the globe via unique grape growing regions. Set sail!

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Greek Rosé Time

When I visit a new wineshop I always try and buy something new to me. It’s a way to get a feel for the buyer and what they are into. So I pushed aside my penchant to buy a pale rosé and stepped up to by a bottle with a deeper pink shade from Domaine Zafeirakis in Greece. [Thanks to the folks at wino(t) in Crown Heights for carrying it.]

The beautiful vineyards of Domaine Zafeirakis. {Image from the winery website.}

Domaine Zafeirakis 2017 Limniona Rosé Wine of Tyrnavos ($17)

If you asked me if I was familiar with the Greek indigenous red grape Limniona, I would say, “Hell, no.”  I would have a similar reply if queried about the wine region of Trynavos, which I now know is in the center of the country and not too far from the Aegean Sea. Honestly, most of my Greek wine knowledge is Assyrtiko from Santorini. So this rosé from Domaine Zafeirakis is a delicious education in a bottle.

Greek Rosé Time

My wall, my bike, my wine.

As stated earlier, buying this wine is also a conscious effort to explore the darker side of rosé. As you can tell by the color, there’s gonna be some body in this bottle. A kind of “red wine drinkers rosé.” It’s substantial and savory. Not just the most unique rosé I’ve had all year, but probably the best, too.

So the next time you’re in a wine shop, resist the temptation to reach for something familiar. Pick out a bottle made from an unfamiliar grape, region, and/or style. If you’re not keen on making your own selection, speak up. Have your friendly wine shop pro pick out something that’s new to you. As a bonus, you might get a little grape and geography lesson like I did.

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