HomeLifestyleWhy You Should Resolve To Drink Greek Wines In 2022

Why You Should Resolve To Drink Greek Wines In 2022

The ancient Greeks are credited with profound cultural influences on today’s society, but one thing they are far less known for is wine and winemaking. Discoveries of winemaking artifacts from Greece date as far back as 1600 BC and the area played an enormous role in the wine trade. Ancient winemaking history aside, what Greek wines do best these days is deliver on value. According to MINA Group’s Wine Director and Master Sommelier Jeremy Shanker, who created the wine list for Estiatorio Ornos, “Greek wines are currently some of the greatest values in the wine world. I’ve poured bottles of Xinomavro [a Greek varietal] for sommelier friends who would swear it’s a $500 bottle of Barolo, but it’s really just a $20 bottle of Xinomavro.” Shanker notes that on average the best bottle of Greek wine will rarely cost more than $150 on a wine list, whereas “going after the best Cabernet or Pinot Noir, you would have to add a couple digits.” Greece has an ideal winemaking climate with a winning combination of ample sun, minimal rainfall and challenging terroirs. Yet, their biggest liability is the varietal nomenclature (Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko I’m looking at you). Tongue-twisting grape names should not deter anyone from trying Greek wines—whites, reds, roses and sparklings—Greece has much to offer the wine lover. Here’s a guide to get you started:


Shanker considers Assyrtiko the most important white varietal in Greece. “It is grown all over the country from northern Greece to the Cyclades. For those unfamiliar, it closely resembles Chablis from France, but with a distinctively Mediterranean tinge. There’s something about the aroma that exudes a smokiness with touches of spice and salt, the latter which is seldom found in any other wine in the world.”

Try: Vassaltis Santorini Assyrtiko, 2019: This profound expression of old-vine Assyrtiko gets some of its complexity from 6 months on the lees. Crafted from a selection of vineyards across Santorini it’s a richly textured wine with a beautiful minerally, saline backbone. Notes of orange peel, lemon cream, honeysuckle and a hint of pineapple. A world-class white wine for $36 on WineSearcher.

Santorini Santo Assyrtiko 2019 is another beautiful wine –with 14 months on the less. Tropical richness meets crushed gravel and ocean breezes. Get it online for $26 at BrooklynWinot.com


Xinomavro translates to “sour, black one,” and, explains Shanker, “it is very tart, high in acidity, tannic, lots of texture and grittiness. I often compare it to Nebbiolo as it has a similar flavor profile with its aromatic intensity, high acidity, and elevated tannins.”

Try:  Domaine Karydas Naoussa Xinomavro, 2016: This is a 100% Xinomavro wine with excellent structure and polished tannins that support a palate of black cherry, spice and roses. If you love a Nebbiolo from Italy’s Piemonte, this is your wine. Hand-crafted and family run since the 1980’s, this is a special wine from a special family. $28.99 one WineSearcher.com

Sparkling and Rose:

If you love dry rose from southern France, you will be delighted by the offerings from Greece, which are absolutely delicious.

Try:  Kir Yianni Akakies Sparkling Rose 2018: Pop this one for the party—it’s fresh, delightful and it’s made in the charmat method, so very much like a Greek Prosecco. 100% Xinomavro, juicy berry notes, sparkly fun. $18.99 at Binny’s

Zoe Rose 2020: A rose wine blend of the red grape, Agiorgitiko, and the floral, fruity white grape, Moschofilero. “Zoe” is Greek for happiness, and this juicy delicious gem of a wine comes from the Peloponnese, just outside of Athens. It shows ripe, luscious flavors of juicy cherry and peach with a focused, fresh acidity. A fabulous dry rose, best with a Greek salad.  A whopping $13 on WineSearcher.


Shanker characterizes this fruit-forward red varietal as the perfect Greek red to serve someone who loves California reds and wants to try something new.

Try: Domaine Skouras Grand Cuvee Nemea, 2016: Crafted from a single vineyard that sits at an altitude of 3,400 feet (making this vineyard among the highest altitude in Europe), this expression of 100% Agiorgitiko is complex, layered. Silky on the palate, it shows finesse and elegance. Black cherry fruit, black tea and appealing spice balanced with a savory edge. $55.99 on Vivino

Delicious Red Blends:

Try: Domaine Sigalus, Mm, Mandilaria Mavrotragano, 2018: More crazy varietal names, but hold firm—this savory rich red blend is a marvel of complexity meets delicacy, with elegant ripe cherry notes and firm structure. Grown in the volcanic soils of Santorini, it has a glamorous vineyard life. A blend of Mavrotragano and Mandilaria. A ridiculous deal at $24 on WineSearcher

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