All Wined Up

Summer Wines From Greece

Summer Wines From Greece Photo credit: Kate Michael, K Street Magazine.
Check out Kate's article on the Zaytinya Greek Wine event

Guest post by Caroline B.C. Hermann

Looking for your new summer wines? Something other than Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc? Look no further than the Greek section of your local wine shop for wines that will transport you to turquoise blue Mediterranean waters and sunshine. Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko wines were featured at a recent trade tasting at Zaytinya, a top Mediterranean restaurant in Washington DC. There, wine expert Steven Olson led the audience through some extraordinary Greek wine and food pairings. Each wine exhibited fresh clean flavors and crisp structure, perfect for enjoying on a summer afternoon.

  • Assyrtiko A-ssyr-ti-ko) is Greece’s most notable white grape. Dry, lemony with mineral and dried herbs with brisk acidity, it pairs perfectly with fried crispy eggplant, garlic-yogurt sauce, fresh tomato-cucumber fattoush or any seafood dish.
  • Moschofilero (Mo-scho-fi-ler-o) is the other white wine to look out for this summer, a dry wine with delicate aromatics of white acacia flower, lemon, tangerine and white pepper. This is best with cheeses, salads and light seafood.
  • Xinomavro (He-no-mav-ro) and Agiorgitiko (A-yor-gi-te-ko) are the most important Greek red grapes. Xinomavro has light red fruit and spicy notes with a firm structure, whereas Agiorgitiko (A-yor-gi-te-ko) has riper fruit and softer structure. Very food-friendly, both wines paired equally well with the fried zucchini cakes with caper-yogurt sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and spit-roasted lamb.

Greek wines are some of the most exciting offerings on today’s market. They are unique, indigenous varieties that speak of place of origin, whether from salty, sunbaked volcanic islands or cool, high-altitude mountains. Never has the selection of Greek wine been greater than it is now. Since its domestic recession in late 2009, Greek wine producers have focused on exporting their wine, with the United States being a top export market. Finally, there is a renaissance underway, as overall quality increases. Thanks to sponsors New Wines of Greece and the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board for a fabulous culinary and enological education through the exciting world of Greek wines.

Caroline B.C. Hermann is a wine educator and wine seller in Washington DC.