Of all the Greek red grape varietals, perhaps the one most worthy of note is the much loved Agiorghitiko, or Saint George's grape. These plump and dusty purple grapes are mostly grown in the AOC regions of the Peloponnese - areas such as Nemea - where the mineral rich soil and sunshine drenched slopes allow these grapes to grow to full, juicy ripeness at the end of the baking hot summers. The wines which come from the Agiorghitiko grapes are much respected for their gorgeous, deep ruby red color, and the remarkable complexity of their aromas. The juices of these grapes allow for quite a high level of versatility in regards to the types of wines they can produce, as the relatively soft tannins present in the skins and medium level of acidity means the wines are generally very balanced and rounded, with a medium body which has plenty of space for wonderful plummy flavors and all sorts of earthy notes.
When drunk young, Agiorghitiko wines tend to be very fresh and aromatic, a great coupling for regional cured meats and other Greek specialties. However, Agiorghitiko wines are really at their best when they have been allowed to age in the barrel for a couple of years, as this allows the full breadth of their flavors and aromas to come to the fore. Balancing spiciness with fruitiness, it is little surprise that the matured Agiorghitiko wines of Greece are a favorite of wine lovers worldwide. Relatively new to the international market (though a well kept traditional secret in Greece) are the rosé wines made with the Agiorghitiko grapes. By allowing the fermenting grape juice less time in contact with their skins, the result is a remarkably flavorful and fresh rosé wine, with a deeply satisfying lilac color and a bouquet of more floral tones than those found in the red wines.
Additional Information on Greek Wines
Ancient Greek Wines – A Brief History of Wine in Greece
The Myth of Dionysus, Greek God of Wine
What is Retsina?