Geekin Out On Greek Wines
You guys, we tasted some greek wines! It was such a cool and great learning experience, and we wanted to share with ya what we learned.
Greek wines have been around for basically since the dawn of time, roughly around four millennia. However, after a hiatus that lasted from approximately from 1400-1800, it's only been since the 1980's that we've been seeing Greek wines being produced again and back out on the market. And we're lucky to see them when we do, about 80% of the wine made in Greece is drank within the country!
A peninsula about the size of NYC, Greece totes mountain ranges and the surrounding oceans for it's influences on the grapes it produces. We also see that it's eruptive past (literally) still has plenty of effect on the varieties grown today, the 300 something known varieties. You read that right.
But what you really need to know about Greek wines is that all of these circumstances- history, geology, and geography, make for very rare and super low yielding wines. Most growers have about 1.5 acres for micro-farming, with vineyards up mountainous landscapes or down low in the valleys- making for some pretty bizarre weather conditions for wine grapes.
With all the varieties, we're only gonna focus on the few that we carry in the shop:
Agiorgitiko [Ah yor ee ti ko]
Also known as St. George, this red-wine grape variety is one of the oldest varieties in Greece and is commonly found in Nema. It's a versatile grape that can be used to make rosés, as well as full-bodied reds, and produces medium to high acid wines. Getting this variety made in Nema is key to scoring a balanced bottle.
Liatiko [Lee ah' ti ko]
Wine produced from this variety is intense with rich, ripe red fruit and sweet spices. Long barrel aging is critical for all, which lends its hand to this wines full palate, high levels of alcohol, and very low and soft tannins. This grape is found all over Crete, but the best ones are to be found in Heraklion.
Savatiano [Sa va tua no']
Meet the most planted grape in Greece. This high-yielding variety produces low-acid, early-maturing wines that boast high alcohol. It's often found akin to Chablis, when made well it offers flavors of melon, green apple and lime. Tastes shift and change when oak-aged, delivering more lemon curd, wax, and lemon bread notes- pretty similar to White Burgundy.
Vidiano [Vee thee ah no']
A variety that was almost extinct 25 years ago, this grape is seeing a revival with young wine makers. Vidiano wines are medium to full bodied with a fresh acidity with a pretty wide spectrum of fruit flavor- lime, peach, quince, and mango are most noted.
All in all though, Greek wines are a total treasure. We're so excited to be bringing in more varied wines from far and wide into the shop for ya!