Sauvignon Blanc Greece Macedonia
The green skinned grapes of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal had their origins in Southern France, where they are still widely grown and used for many of the excellent young and aged white wines the region is famous for. Today, however, they are grown in almost every wine producing country in the world, and are widely revered for their fresh and grassy flavors, full of tropical notes and refreshing, zesty character. Sauvignon Blanc grapes thrive best in moderate climates, and ripen relatively early in the year. This has made them a favorite for many wineries in the New World, where they can still produce healthy and high yields in the earlier part of the summer before the temperatures become too hot. Too much heat has a massively adverse effect on Sauvignon Blanc, as the grapes become dull in their flavor, and the wine produced from them loses all its unique character and high points. As such, Sauvignon Blanc farmers have had a lot of trouble from global warming and climate change, as they are being forced to harvest their crops increasingly earlier in the year when it is cool enough to do so.
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.
The Greek wine region of Macedonia is one with a very long and troubled history, and the beginning of the twenty-first century saw winemaking there almost disappear forever. A combination of political upheaval, war, mass emigration and the devastating phylloxera epidemic devastated this ancient wine culture, but enormous effort over the past one hundred years has seen a truly impressive revival of one of the Old World’s oldest homes of fine wine. This massive investment and the dedication of both local and international winemakers and businesspeople has restored the glamor to Macedonia, and taken it to the world stage with renewed gusto and confidence, on the back of excellent and uniquely Macedonian produce.
The region of Macedonia is split into several sub-regions, but the most famous and widely renowned is that of Naoussa, which is located on the beautiful slopes of Mount Vermion. There, the fine, mineral rich soils, and the cooler climatic conditions result in a delicious set of full-bodied, richly flavored and complex red wines made from the region’s native grape varietal: Xinomavro. This grape can be found all across Macedonia, and the wines it produces range from the strong and densely flavored, to lighter bodies varieties and sparkling wines. Vintners in the region have also found great success with imported French varietals, and Macedonia continues to go from strength to strength.