Greece, the renowned birthplace of Dionysos, the god of wine, has the longest wine production and consumption history in the world, as well as the richest heritage. Greek wine has been produced for more than 4,000 years. Wine culture – the consumption of wine as a social event and its sophisticated appreciation was developed for the first time by the Ancient Greeks. There is clear evidence that in Ancient Athens it was known that the shape of the cup affected the taste of wine. Today Greece plays a major role in the international wine culture and industry.
Through better understanding of the physiology of the vine, matching site and grape variety and attention to detail, Greek wine producers have realized the potential of further developing and improving local viniculture. Dozens of vineyards and wineries now allow visitors to wander through the magic world of the grapevines and the wine, learn the traditional and modern methods of wine-making and to taste select Greek wines, together with traditional tastes.
Glossary of the main Greek grape varieties
King of the red grapes in the Peloponnese, Agiorgitiko is cultivated in Nemea. It produces wines that are deep red in color, with a pronounced gooseberry and blackberry flavor, and a rich, mature, velvety, luscious texture. The soft new Agiorgitiko wines are fruit-forward and are enjoyed at an early age. However, there is a potential for long-term cellaring (5-10 years).
Assyrtiko is the noblest white variety found in Greek vineyards, and its cultivation is centered in the Cyclades. However, it has successfully migrated to Chalkidiki, Epanomi, Drama and the Pangeo Mountain in Northern Greece, as well as to the Peloponnese. It maintains its high acidity even in full ripeness. Its wines are rich and refreshing with crispy acidity and excellent minerality. The aromas of the wine remind us of citrus, lemon blossoms, orange peel and grapefruit.
This is another white grape found on the islands in the Southern Aegean and in Chalkidiki in Eastern Macedonia. The wine is characterized by a mild aroma of citrus and yellow fruits.
A white variety from Epirus, with its cultivation centered in Zitsa, in the Ioannina Prefecture. Its wines place emphasis on fruit. They are characterized by their refreshing acidity. Debina has the potential to produce effervescent wines.
An exclusive Cretan grape, Liatiko is considered to be one of the oldest Greek varieties. It matures in July, hence its name, which is an abridement of “Juliatiko”. Liatiko is a variety with high alcohol potential that best demonstrates its qualities when it is sufficiently ripe.
Limnio is an ancient red grape variety from the island of Limnos. References have been made to it by Aristotle and other ancient writers.Today it is cultivated not only on Limnos, but also in Chalkidiki and generally in Northern Greece, where it produces a superb red robust wine, with the exotic fragrance of the violets after a rainfall and the aroma of cherries.
This subtle Greek white variety is possibly related to the renowned “Malvasia” wine dating back to the Middle-Ages. It was rescued from obscurity thanks to the foresight of certain Greek producers who believed in the wine. The accolades of the critics and the enthusiastic response of the consumers did more than justify their acumen.The Malagousia wines have a strong bouquet and a musk aroma, while leaving a mild peppery taste in the mouth.Savvatiano: A variety from Mainland Greece, with its cultivation centered in the Attica region. It produces wines with the aromas of yellow fruit and low acidity.
A red Cretan grape, Kotsifali produces wines noted for their wonderfully juicy taste, their bright red color and a good grip on the palate. It is usually blended with Mantilaria, another island red grape.
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