As one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world, Greece has millenia of experience and expertise when it comes to viticulture, and has developed a set of flavors and characteristics which are found nowhere else on earth. The ancient Greeks revered and deified wine, and were the first true innovators in the history of wine, adding everything from seawater to honey and spices in order to find exciting new taste combinations and aromas. Today, Greek wines are just as varied, although far more refined and sophisticated than their ancient counterparts. The practice of enhancing Greek wines with aromatic substances never left the country, though, as can be seen in the popular Retsina wines, which use pine resin to provide their unique taste and aroma combinations. There is far more to Greek wine than merely Retsina, however, and the vast variety on offer is a testament to the expertise of Greek wineries making the most of the wonderful climate, terrain and grape varietals they work with. There are many things which come to one's mind when we think of Greece; the hundreds of small islands, each with a culture steeped in tradition, the rich history of the country, the blazing sunshine, crystal blue waters and balmy olive groves. We also think of wine – the product of not just hundreds, but thousands of years of careful and experimental cultivation of the grapevines which have covered much of this fascinating and ancient land for millennia.
Additional Information on Greek Wines
Greek WinesAncient Greek Wines – A Brief History of Wine in Greece
The Myth of Dionysus, Greek God of Wine
What is Retsina?
Greece has many AOC regions, each with their own signature grape varietal which is cultivated and processed to an exceptionally high degree of excellence. The AOC of Mantinia on the beautiful expansive plateau of the Peloponnese has the Moschofilero varietal, a gray colored white variety which produces exceptional Blanc de Gris wines. A delicate grape, highly sensitive to adverse weather conditions, it is nonetheless prized by wine makers for its unique attributes and the quality of the wine which can be made from it. Although commonly compared to western European Muscat wines, the Moschofilero grapes produce wine which is in a league of its own – full of floral aromas containing heavy, almost soporific notes of rose petals and violets. The flavor of the wine tends to be spicy, and leans more towards earthy mineral flavors rather than fruit ones, making it perfect as an aperitif or coupled with salty olives and cheeses.
Moschofilero wines tend to be elegant and subtle, with their strength being in their crispness, and the bouquet of floral aromas rising from the glass. The finest Moschofilero wines to come out of Greece in recent decades have included the Tselopos, whose high altitude vineyards have seemingly mastered the potential and complexity of this gray grape to international acclaim.