Has the saga of passports and flight cancellations got the better of your summer travel plans? Rather than depressing, bring a touch of exoticism to your aperitif. Destination: Greece!
Millenary years old, but long unknown to us, Greek wines have experienced unprecedented popularity in the last ten years. Wine lovers from here and elsewhere quickly understood that Greece had everything to quench their thirst for curiosity and discovery. And more often than not, inexpensively.
Encouraged by this new enthusiasm, young Greek winegrowers have begun to explore island terroirs that have been abandoned for decades. And not just those of Santorini! What is fermenting on the islands of Tinos, Chios, Sámos, Syros, Ikaria, Thassos and Zakynthos is equally exciting and promising.
Add to that a hundred unique grape varieties and you will understand that Greece, far from having said its last word, is only beginning to explore its immense potential. No wonder Greek wine has carved out such a big place for itself on the shelves of the SAQ: Quebecers have always had a flair for good wines.
Kir-Yianni, Malagousia – Roditis 2020, Paranga, IGP Macedonia
★★1⁄2 | $1⁄2 | $14.95 | Greece 13% | 1.2 g/L
SAQ code: 13190190
This blend of two complementary grape varieties – one very aromatic, the other neutral – is a success again this year. At less than $15, we're almost surprised to find such aromatic intensity, ample body and such a beautiful longevity. Take the spanakopitas out of the oven and enjoy.
Tetramythos, Roditis 2021, Patras
★★★ | $1⁄2 | $16.85 | Greece 12% | 1.5 g/L – Organic
SAQ code: 12484575
Sometimes insipid when subjected to excessive yields, the Roditis variety has found a good interpreter in the person of Panayiotis Papagiannopoulos, at Tetramythos. The influence of the limestone soils that surround Mount Helmos, halfway between Patras and Corinth and the fact that the vineyards are run organically are also no stranger to the freshness felt in this 2021. Discreet on the nose, but delicately lemony on the palate, with a saline finish reminiscent of the seaside.
Biblia Chora, Estate 2021, Pangeon
★★★1⁄2 | $$ | $19.45 | Greece 13% | 3.2 g/L – Organic
SAQ code: 11901138
Sancerre lover? Try this blend of Assyrtiko and Sauvignon Blanc produced by Evangelos Gerovassiliou at his “other” estate, located in northeast Greece. Less exotic than other Greek white wines, but no less interesting. The acidity of Assyrtiko (a white grape variety from Santorini now well established on the mainland) gives sparkle to the citrus and tropical fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc. The 2021 is just taut enough to accompany a halibut ceviche, and its length is remarkable for less than $20.
Gerovassiliou, White 2021, Epanomi
★★★1⁄2 | $$ | $21.10 | Greece 12.5% | 2.8 g/L
SAQ code: 10249061
Professor Logothetis discovered some stocks of an obscure grape variety called malagousia in the western part of Greece. He planted a few cuttings at Domaine Carras, where Evangelos Gerovassiliou was an oenologist before founding his own estate. Gerovassiliou had the brilliant idea of blending this ample and particularly aromatic grape variety with Assyrtiko. Both varieties give a unique white with hints of white flowers and apricot; fatty, but taut enough to accompany fried calamari.
Thymiopoulos, Naoussa 2018
★★★1⁄2 | $$ | $23.45 | Greece 12.5% | 3.3 g/L
SAQ code: 13288218
The landscapes, architecture and gastronomy of Naoussa evoke the Balkans more than the Mediterranean. Since the mid-2000s, Apostolos Thymiopoulos has revitalized this dormant appellation. This cuvée comes from plots of xinomavro located at different altitudes. The grapes are 75% destemmed and fermented in stainless steel vats, then the wine is aged for a year in 500 liter barrels. The 2018 deploys a compact, slightly grainy texture on the palate, which carries flavors of black cherry, dried herbs and leather. A perfect red for skewers and grilled eggplant.
More stars than dollars: well worth the price
As many stars as of dollars: worth its price
Fewer stars than dollars: the wine is expensive