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Yiasou! (Cheers! In Greek)

Nov 7, 2011
Yiasou! (Cheers! In Greek)
Greek wine cheat-sheet

GreeceGiven the bewildering state of the Greek debt crisis, it’s likely many Greeks are reaching for an extra glass of vino as they struggle to sort it all out.

There is no confusion, however, about one thing: Greek wine – especially the reds. They’re experiencing a renaissance of sorts and rapidly gaining popularity in the United States as producers meld traditional methods with modern technology.

If Greece’s wine regions and grape varieties are leaving you befuddled, have no fear; you’re not alone. To help, we’ve put together a mini-guide to the red wines of a country with a history of winemaking that dates back to ancient times.

The Daily Sip’s Greek cheat sheet:

Red Wine Regions of Greece
• The oldest and finest wine region in Greece is the northern mainland region of Macedonia. Many full-bodied reds as well as some fruity ones are produced here. The use of modern technology is raising this region’s profile.
• The vineyards of central Greece’s ancient Sterea Ellada region utilize the dry climate, its close proximity to the sea, and the mountainous terrain to produce world-class wines.
• Newer style reds are coming out of the Ionian Islands, located on the western side of Greece. The region’s proximity to Italy is reflected in the wines of this region.
Peloponnese is important for reds and one of the most historic regions in Greece.
• The Aegean Islands are one of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. Today, young winemakers and boutique wineries are creating a full-bodied wine revival on the Aegean island of Crete.

Greek Grapes Defined
Agiorghitiko (Ah yor yee' ti ko) makes deeply flavored reds, with complex aromas and soft tannins. Both young and aged styles of wine are made from this grape.
Xinomavro (Ksee no' ma vro) has major aging potential. It has a rich tannic character, and subtle tastes of fruit, olives, spices, and dried tomatoes.
Mandelaria (Mahn dee lar ya) grapes make big, concentrated reds with citrus peel and currant flavors.
Mavrodaphne (Mav ro tha'f nee) vines are found on the Ionian Islands, and the grapes are often blended with Korinthiaki grapes to create a sweet, Port-like fortified dessert wine bearing its name.

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