WWAD: What Would Aphrodite Drink?
Earlier this year, I named Greece one of my hot wine destinations–and not just because the EEC’s debt crisis is crushing prices and making the Greek tax collection system all sorts of crazy. My decision to discover Greece more actively came from a realization that it’s rarely appreciated in the popular wine scene, when the Greeks practically invented wine in the early BC years.
My introduction to Greek wines came via the New York Wine Expo, where I was exposed to Santorini & Crete’s wide variety of grapes. At least 15 different varieties are cultivated and distributed internationally, while some speculate over 300 grape varietals are native to Greece.
The Greeks loved wine–Let’s face it, they had a GOD just for wine. Starting in ancient times, Spartans and Mycenaens used wine in rituals and purely for pleasure, though the amount of pleasure is questionable considering salt water was often added to the juice to make it “smoother.”
In an effort to experience this island nation’s wine offerings authentically (or at least as authentically as you can in NYC) I grabbed a bottle from Attiki, and tossed some frozen spanakopita triangles in the toaster oven.
I popped open the Harlaftis White 2011, a “family tradition” Savatiano–an indigenous Greek grape variety–and really enjoyed it. This super-dry white had strong lemon-lime citrus aromas, with bits of apple and pear. In my mouth though, the experience was far from the fruity, acidic smell and was instead extremely mineral, with a long stony finish barely complemented by fruitiness.
Alongside the salty, crispy spanakopita this juice was great. It would be great with similar phyllo dough appetizers (Think: phyllo mushroom cups or pancetta and egg mini-crepes) or with delicate seafood dishes. To use the words of the salesman who directed me to the bottle at Flatiron Wines, “I know this one is cheap and delicious.”
Greek Wine Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Drinking wine from faraway places and pretending I’m there. (Oooohh Savatiano on a rocky outcropping half a day’s boat ride from Crete….)
Assyrtiko, another Greek grape similar to Riesling–flirty, fresh and fun.
Fun Facts: There’s evidence that the Greeks were producing wine up to 6500 years ago, making the region the 2nd oldest place where wine was made.
Approximately 16.5 million tourists visit Greece each year, more than the country’s entire population. Tourism constitutes nearly 16% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).c
Wine for the Dieties: Stony and strong, but with hints of delicacy, this wine screamed Artemis–goddess of the wilderness and also virginity.
Next Up, wine for Aries, Aphrodite, and Poseidon–Lots of drinking for this girl!