Monday, December 1, 2008

Greek Wines

One of the biggest surprises for me at this year's Gourmet Food and Wine Expo was the Greek wine tasting.  Previously I'd just heard people mention 'Retsina' as though it was the wine of absolute last resort.  And there weren't many takers at this tasting, either.

Each glass was quite unique, and very refreshing, made from unpronounceable grapes like Assyrtiko, Ayioryitiko, and Xinomavro.  

It made me realize that more and more of the wines we drink are being made with the popular varieties of grape - people know what they like and viticulture caters to those tastes.  While it is true that the terroir makes each blend taste a bit different, in the end it is still merlot, or sangiovese, or shiraz....  Often imported into the region to replace the native vines.

Greece still has 300+ indigenous grape varieties in existence and the tasting made me want to visit the country just to sample the wines.  Not much Greek wine gets imported into Ontario these days, so I guess this is as good an excuse as any to head to Santorini or Peloponnese this winter!

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