There was a time, prior to the 1990s when Greek wine consisted of two major brands, Demestica and Retsina. The former tasted somewhat like the cleaning product of a similar name, and the latter, retsina, was definitely an acquired taste, with the resinous flavor hitting the back of your throat after almost every sip. There were also very sweet, cloying dessert wines. Now however, Greece is becoming famous for its fine wine and rightly so.
A Brief History of Greek Wine Making
Wine making in Greece has a very long history, with Retsina being produced in ancient times. This type of wine was traditionally preserved with resin from pine trees, which used to grow abundantly in Greece.
In the late 1990s and early 21st century, viticulturists in Greece began to recognize that the Greek traditional wines could be improved using modern methods, and they studied in other countries and then experimented with Greek grapes and other non-indigenous varieties. One variety which is native to Greece is “Assyrtiko” which is commonly given the appellation of “the Chablis of Greece.”
Greek Wine is Internationally Recognized
All that has changed, happily, and modern Greek wines are able to compete with the rest of the world and win gold awards as happened in 2012 at the Decanter World Wine awards, then in its 8th year. Three gold awards went to Gaia Wines, while three other Greek wineries, Lyrakis, Estate Argyros and Domaine Gerovassilou also being awarded gold.
Gaia wines have two wineries, one in Nemea in the Peloponnese in mainland Greece, and the other on the Cycladic island of Santorini, which produces grapes which are grown in the island’s volcanic mineral-rich soil, which imbues them with a unique flavor. The owners of Gaia Wines are well-trained in viticulture, and have put their knowledge to good use, as the winning of these gold awards attests.
It is usually the case that wine tastes better when sipped in the country where it is made and where the grapes are grown. This is true for Greek wine, as there is nothing quite like sitting outside on a balcony overlooking the sea and sharing a bottle of wine with friends. However, now, thanks to the new wine making expertise of the wineries, you can buy fine wine from Greece in international outlets such as Marks and Spencer’s so it can be enjoyed even in colder climates. Greek wine making finally seems to have come of age. wine tours Willamette Valley