5 Greek Wines You Need To Try
Greece is a wonderfully diverse destination, effortlessly providing its visitors with a myriad of experiences to appease all 5 senses. Those who know and appreciate their wines will especially benefit from incorporating an element of eno-tourism while exploring Greece. Wine is a premium product that was traded and enjoyed since ancient times, so Greece has centuries worth of experience in terms of wine making, allowing for a rich viniculture, spanning many varieties. In particular, here are 5 Greek wines you need to try on your next holiday, broken down by destination. While some are popular varieties, others are, rather, more local finds, inviting the visitor to explore different dimensions in wine flavour, depth and aroma.
Vidiano (White wine) - Crete
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete, is split into four large prefectures. The aggregate natural beauty that can be found in all four prefectures, is absolutely mindblowing. Depending on where you choose to stay, we recommend you ask for the local varieties of Cretan wine. Keep your eyes peeled for the Liatiko (red wine) and the Malvasia (white wine) if you come across them. However, for tracking down an almost extinct appellation, the Vidiano (white wine) variety is particularly rare, found in Rethymnon. It is characterised by a bountiful richness and an intense complexity, as it blends stone fruits such as apricot and peach, with citrus fruits like pear, bergamot and quince, as well as some white flower aromas such as jasmine. For exploring all the wonders of the local prefecture, consider a boutique hotel in Rethymno that will provide a luxuriously and convenient spot. It is primely located near the iconic Venetian harbour and the quaint labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and alleys full of cafes, tavernas, bars and shops.
Arikaras (Red wine) - Kythera
Kythera is an island found opposite the south-western Peloponnese. At the crossroads of three seas, it technically belongs to the Ionian island cluster, yet it remains fairly uncharted. This makes it perfect for an island getaway holiday, to where nature is infinite and time runs at a slower pace. If this kind of vacation sounds appealing, then consider staying at eco-friendly, bioclimatic, stone suite retreats that provide guests with sophisticated accommodation in Kythera maximising space, light and superb conveniences. Kythera has its own viniculture and among its appellations you will find Lyritis, Logades, Viglaki and Petrolanos. However, it is the Arikaras (red wine) variety that you should definitely try while in Kythera. It’s a dry table wine, with a characteristically transparent, bright red colour and it is still pressed manually, until today and left to ferment in oak barrels.
Mantinia (White wine) - Peloponnese
Onto the Peloponnese, an expansive region of the Greek peninsula that is renowned for producing some of Greece’s finest wines. It is a large part of the Greek mainland which is, essentially, a three-legged peninsula with each showing a slightly different appeal. The most prominent red wine variety is the Agioritiko, however, it is the white variety of Mantinia that produces the favourite Moschofilero appellation among others, known throughout Greece and beyond. It has a characteristically floral intensity and a tart crispiness that makes it stand out from the rest. A classic blanc de gris, Mantinia is a special kind of variety. Typically a dry variety, is has a gentle silky white-yellow color, while it is high in acidity with a medium body, making it a wonderful accompaniment for light meals. For staying somewhere in the Peloponnese that is not too far from the capital Athens, Porto Heli is an excellent choice. From there, guests can explore the surroundings, as well as visiting the island of Spetses for a day trip, from the beach of a four star hotel on Hinitsa Bay in Porto Heli.
Roditis ( White/Rosé wine) - Thessaly
Thessaly shares a similar warm, micro-climate with the aforementioned Peloponnese, and so it is natural that these regions share some characteristics in their viniculture. Thessaly produces the Rhoditis, pink-skinned grape that produces a tinted white or rosé wine. Although it is not a widely popular wine by name, it is generally a crowd pleaser. If you have ordered dry white wine or rosé by the glass, chances are you have already tried Rhoditis unknowingly. It is a demure, food friendly, decent table wine with delicate aromas. Now Thessaly has a handful of intriguing regions with many rural places, towns and villages that still go about their traditional ways. However, there is one place that deserves special attention, the Pelion peninsula. It is a mountainous landscape in its majority that has the unique feature of being surrounded by two seas on both sides of the peninsula. It is a fantastic destination to visit across all seasons discovering wonderfully picturesque towns to spend a few days in. One of those is charming Portaria. Opt for living the local experience by choosing a traditional hotel in Portaria Pelion, coupled with amazing panoramic views to accompany your moments there.
Vinsanto (Dessert wine) - Santorini
Our Greek wine quest takes us also to the gorgeous Santorini island. Vinsanto is a sweet, dessert wine with a deep golden-amber hue that has been produced on the island since ancient times. Although Santorini’s flagship white wine grape varieties are Assyrtiko, as well as Athiri and Aidani, it is the Vinsanto that will raise the bar. Not overly sweet, it has an element of acidity that allows it to be paired with a variety of meals. Of course, the best accompaniment to an exquisite glass of Vinsanto are the amazing views that the island offers. Its raw, natural beauty is, at times, absolutely overwhelming. Sundown is hands-down the most enchanting time to enjoy the simple things in life, such as a glass of delectable wine and vistas that dazzle viewers. Yet when considering where to stay in Santorini, you may want to avoid the overcrowded area of Oia. Choose a more central location that will allow you to reach the vibrant parts of the island by foot, but remains tucked away from the noise and clamour, such as newly renovated boutique suites with private jacuzzi in Fira, Santorini. For discovering the rest of the island, it is best to rent a car in Santorini, that way you can have full flexibility of movement during your holiday.
This article has been produced in collaboration with Helen-Marie Joyce.