It’s All Greek to Me!

by artfuldiner on January 21, 2023

in Uncategorized

Greek Wine Tasting ImageFor your quaffing pleasure: Wines tasted at our wine club gathering on Saturday, January 14, 2023…

 2020 Mylonas Retsina: Retsina, a wine made with the infusion of resin from the Aleppo pine tree, is Greece’s most famous and historic wine. Its flavor has often been likened to turpentine – even by locals who consume it on a regular basis. Most retsinas were poor, thin wines with resin used to mask their dullness and “off” character.

In recent years, however, Retsina has undergone a remarkable renaissance. A number of wine producers, including Stamatis Mylonas, have demonstrated that, when carefully made from conscientiously grown grapes, Retsina can be a delicious wine that will pair well with variety of cuisines.

Made from 100% Savatiano, one of Greece’s most widely planted grape varieties, at the time of fermentation only between 1 percent and 0.15 percent of resin is added to the wine. As a result, modern retsina exhibits only subtle touches of resin-like aromas and flavors, similar to rosemary and lime.

In the words of one reviewer, the 2020 Mylonas Retsina is “a crisp white wine that doesn’t act like Retsina. There are notes of white flower, mint, lemon, and pine. The pine resin is low here. It’s more crisp and mineral style of white. Fantastic on a hot summer day with fish.” $16.99 Total Wine.


2021 Dionysos Fileris: Located in the Greek wine region of Corinthos, in Peloponnesus southwest of Athens, the Dionysos Winery was founded in 1936 by Asimakis Koutsouros and Stelios Gikas. Today, the winery is still represented by members of the same two families and produces more than 11 million liters of wine annually.

The 2021 Dionysos Fileris is made from a native grape, which is a clone of Greece’s popular Moschofilero. In the glass, the wine is medium straw in color with green highlights. It is quite floral on the nose with perfume-like hints of jasmine, honeysuckle, grapefruit oil, and dandelion. Tart and ripe on the palate, this medium-bodied wine would pair well with fresh fruit and/or seafood. $16.49 Total Wine.


2021 Skouras Moscofilero: Domaine Skouras was established in 1986 by George Skouras following his winemaking studies in Dijon, France. He felt that he could bring modern winemaking techniques to his home region of Nemea, and quickly established himself as one of Greece’s top winemakers.

The Moscofilero is a traditional grape from the Nemea region, known for its floral and tropical aromas. Aromatically similar to a dry Viognier from France, it is medium-bodied, creamy & fruity on the palate, with lingering spices at the finish. A definite crowd-pleaser as an aperitif or paired with simply grilled fish.

Received 90 points (100-point scale) from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and wine critic James Suckling. $18.99 Total Wine.


2020 Zacharias Assyrtiko: Santorini WinesAmong the little-known grape varieties of Greece, Assyrtiko has been by far the most popular among Greek whites. Although originating on the Island of Santorini, it is now planted across mainland Greece (as well as in parts of Australia), becoming one of the most important native varietals. It produces mainly dry white wines, some of which are aged in oak. Assyrtiko is one of those rare white grape varieties that can grow in hot and dry climatic conditions while, at the same time, keep the high alcohol in perfect balance with its crisp acidity.

This is a wine that is made for people who are looking for unconventional, intense styles of whites that lean toward texture and density rather aromatics. Assyrtiko produced outside of Santorini maintains its crispness and minerality, but it also exhibits a higher level of fruit aromas and a less dense structure.

The 2020 Zacharias Assyrtiko is characterized by light yellow color and aromas dominated yellow fruits and lemon flowers. It is bone-dry with distinctive character, excellent structure, and crisp acidity. It is pleasant to drink young; and it makes a perfect accompaniment to pasta with pesto and various fish & shellfish dishes. However, this wine also ages well – from five to ten years, sometimes significantly longer – developing aromas and flavors of ripe fruits, honey, and intense minerality.

Be advised that this wine is not available Pennsylvania State Stores. The best price I have discovered online is $10.95 per bottle (plus shipping) from Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton, New Jersey.


2020 Boutari Kretikos Red: The Boutari family has been producing wines from Greek varietals since 1879. The family has become a pioneer of the Greek wine industry, now crafting wines from six different regions, utilizing grapes that are grown nowhere else in the world.

… And the 2020 Boutari Kretikos has helped to set the quality standard of Cretan wines worldwide. Kretikos, which means “originating in Crete,” is a carefully selected blend of 60% Kotsifali and 40% Mandilaria, both indigenous grapes. Kotsifali – Mandilaria blends are quite common in the red wines of Greece, but particularly so on Crete, the southernmost and largest of the Greek Islands. Such a beneficial blending brings together the aromatics, sugars, and corpulence of Kotsifali with the strong color, acidity, and tannins of Mandilaria.

It is not certain at what point in history Kotsifali and Mandilaria were first deliberately blended but the benefits are quite apparent… This nicely balanced wine features a brilliant ruby color, pleasant aromas of red fruits, velvety tannins, and a lingering finish. $14.99 (plus shipping) from b-21 Fine Wine & Spirits, Tarpon Springs, FL.


2019 Hermes Neméa Red: Located in the northeast corner of the Peloponnese peninsula, Neméa is arguably Greece’s most important red wine appellation. Neméa red wines can only be made from the Agiorgitiko grape, which is the most widely planted red wine grape in Greece and has been grown in this region since the 5th century BC. One of the more commercially important indigenous Greek varieties, it can exhibit a wide range of characteristics, from soft to very tannic, depending upon factors in the growing and winemaking processes.

Red wines from the Neméa appellation are crafted in many different styles, from light-bodied to lush and full-bodied, with flavors and aromas of red fruit, particularly dried cherries, and often exhibit a decidedly spicy character. Vines are located in three subzones, ranging from sea level to the mountains, with the best wines often coming from higher altitude vineyard sites.

The 2019 Hermes Neméa Red is bone dry with good body and a pleasant peppery warmth at the finish… This is a great wine for everyday quaffing, as it’s smooth on the palate, very versatile with a variety of foods… and the price is right. $14.99 Total Wine.


2019 Nasiakos Neméa Agiorgitiko: Athens - Hotel Grand Bretagne, Viw from Rooftop RestaurantThe vineyards of the Nasiakos families lie in the heart of the two largest and most important wine regions of Greece. One is in Mantinia in Arcadia; the other – the highest point on Neméa – in Corinth, Peloponnese. Leonidas Nasiakos is the viticulturalist, winemaker, and producer of the wines that bear his name. Under the Nasiakos label, 6,500 cases of wine are produced from the indigenous appellation varietals such as Moschofilero  and Agiorgitiko.

Nasiakos wines have been rated by publications such as Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine & Spirits for over 15 years, with ratings from 87 to 93 points.

Of particular importance is Agiorgitiko, which, as noted above, can exhibit a wide range of characteristics, from soft to very tannic; and the 2019 Nasiakos Agiorgitiko is definitely of the latter persuasion. In the glass, mesmerizing aromas of vanilla, blackberry, and currant quickly capture one’s attention… carried over to invitingly ripe fruit flavors on the palate. This is a wine with a surprisingly light touch. It goes down as smooth as silk and is also marvelously food friendly. $7.99 PA State Stores


Be Safe & Stay Well


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