Get Your Sip On with Greek Wines

A Salute to Greek Wines

Carol Malin salutes great Greek wines as a member of the Wine Council

Get Your Sip on with Greek Wines
by Head Wine Chix Linda Kissam.

When was the last time you tasted or purchased Greek wines?  Uh oh, I sense some downward glances, some face twitching and a few mutterings of “Not me.”  Uh oh is right… but only because you’re missing some good wines.  There’s a very cool revolution taking place in the Greek wine sector. You really should be a part of it and give a salute to great Greek wines.

In recent years, the Greek wine industry has undergone significant improvement which includes serious investments in modern technology and education. The new generation of Greek winemakers are being trained in the best wine schools around the world and their efforts are paying off as Greek wines garner prestigious awards.

Did you know that there are more than 300 indigenous grape varieties grown in Greece,  some of which have been cultivated since ancient times?  Distinct flavors come from these native grape varieties affording new marketing opportunities for the Greek wine industry.  When you combine the extensive variety of grapes together with a moderate climate, ample sunshine, low average rainfall and soils of moderate fertility you have an excellent environment for the production of high quality wines.

Wine educator Hilarie Larson

Wine Educator Hilarie Larson

I think you’d agree that the real challenge for the Greek wine industry is to educate people in the new style of Greek wine and then get them to taste and purchase the wines.  The investment in promiting Greek wine is probably the last piece of the puzzle before the Greek wine industry can assume its place amongst  the preeminent producers of quality wines worldwide.


Greek Wine Line Up

Greek Wine Line Up

The Temecula area Occasional Wine Council is doing their part to assist in the promotion of Greek wines.  Our group (Tom Plant, Carol Malin, Karsten Boone, Carmen Micheli, Hilarie Larson, Linda Kissam)  met to review five wines provided by the New Wines of Greece representatives.   What we found were some consistently good wines that we think you’ll enjoy – especially with the suggested food pairings.




Thema 2012, $15 pair with Smoked Puget Sound Sockeye Salmon : 50% Sav Blanc & 50% Assyrtiko: This is a dry, still, white. Drink it now, 13% alc. Enjoy the lingering lemon cream fragrance and beautiful acidity. Makes a good  brunch wine. Expect a dominant Sauvignon nose. On the palate you’ll enjoy  lemon cream ,lime zest,  granny smith and green grass notes .Goes well with smoked salmon and stuffed chicken.  Ranked third in the group’s reviews.

Carol's Steamed Artichokes

Carol’s Steamed Artichokes

2011 Domaine Sigalas , $18 –Pair with steamed artichoke hearts in olive oil and seasoning:  Soft citrusy nose suggesting lemony minerality on the palate. The Athiri grape adds roundness and softness to the  Assyrtiko.  This was the group’s number two choice of the tasting.  It is a very food-friendly wine.


Hilarie's Grilled Chicken Breast with a Herbed Zucchini stuffing

Hilarie’s Grilled Chicken Breast with a Herbed Zucchini stuffing

Ovilos Estate Biblia Chora 2010, $20- Pair with  Grilled Chicken Breast with a Herbed Zucchini stuffing. A good example of an all organic  regional white wine, combining Assyrtiko 50% and Semillon 50% and perfect for people who love an oaky profile wine.  You can see the oak in the glass, however it is lighter on the palate then the nose.  Number one pick of the night!


Karten Boone prepares for the tasting

Karsten Boone prepares for the tasting

Xinomavro 2008 Urano -Sykomaitha (Pronounced see-koh-mah-eee-thah). Pair with  Karsten’s Spiced Fig Cakes. The name Xinomavro means in Greek “acid black”, (“xino” means “acid” and “mavro” means “black”).  This is another oaky wine that could use some more aging. Serve with something that has some fat in it like the fig cakes, chocolate brownies or M&M’s as the fat cuts the tannin. Use a Soiree to get a softer approach.

Sweet Jill's Choc Chip Brownies

Sweet Jill’s Choc Chip Brownies

 07 Grande Reserve Boutari Grande Reserve Naoussa, $25.  Pair with Sweet Jill’s Choc Chip Brownies:  One of Boutari’s first and best-known wines. It is the first red wine from Greece to introduce the designation of limited and controlled production among Greek wines. Aged over four years in oak barrels and bottles, yet  somehow producing a lighter red style. Expect nuances of baking spices and dried herbs.  Use a Soiree to get the best tasting results.

Until we meet again to review the wines of the world…Stin iyia mas (To our health)!

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