Top wines from my travels in Greece
When you think of Greece, you will think of summer holidays, beautiful beaches and iconic Santorini views.
Though you may not know that Greece produces excellent wines…
But no worries, you landed in the right page to find all about it!
Here is a list of my best Greek wines.
- Chatzivaritis Winery "Migma PetNat" 2020
- Mylonas "Naked Truth" 2018
- Estate Argyros "Assyrtiko" 2019
- Lykos Winery "Viognier" 2019
- Kir Yiannis "Tesseris Limnes" 2020
Greece is the cradle of wine! Production dates back to ancient time, but only in modern years has the industry begun to shine.
In Greece, producers make wines from indigenous grape varieties that have been around for centuries - but are relatively unknown outside their home country. Ever heard of grapes such as Xinomavro, Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko?
Assyrtiko: an Island Success Story
You may have found yourself sipping some Assyrtiko wine which is a very trendy variety right now. This grape is originally native to Santorini and is most associated with the volcanic soils of its vineyards.
Yet Assyrtiko vineyards can now be found in northern Greece and the Peloponnese. Amazingly it has also reached the new world, where the vine has been cloned successfully.
Thanks to its high acidity it can age extremely well, developing a beautiful bouquet and complexity over time. For more info about Assyrtiko read my short guide to Santorini best wineries and wine tours!
Bottles of All Styles for All Tastes
From the famous Agiorgitikos of Nemea, the Savatianos that grow in Attica and the Malagousias of northern Greece, this land has much to offer.
You will find wines oozing with character; crisp mineral dry white wines, and red wines aged in oak with round rich tannins.
Believe me. For a unique way to experience Greek culture and history, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this country’s amazing wineries.
While Greek wine is relatively unknown outside of Greece at the moment, that won’t be for long.
This year I tasted a handful of Greek wines, and they were fantastic. Thanks to my research and winery visits I could review many and give you a list of the best Greek wines to try right now.
My top 5 Greek white wines
Malagousia / Muscat of Alexandria
Migma Petnat 2020 from Chatzivaritis Estate has a beautiful light pink golden colour and it’s just so slightly cloudy.
The bead is fine and persistent.
On the nose it comes across aromatic and elegant. The bouquet opens with apricot yogurt and white peach, there is jasmine and almond, muscat grape and elderflower.
On the mouth the bubbles are fine and plenty. It’s round and fulfilling with a lovely freshness.
On the palate the aromatic notes found on the nose are there too particularly the muscat grape, apricot and fresh almond.
The finish is long and very pleasant.
Naked Truth 2018 from Mylonas estate has a beautiful golden colour.
On the nose it’s evolved and complex with quince, cheese and a certain nuttiness.
On the mouth it’s full and round, warm and nutty again.
The finish is long.
The Assyrtiko 2019 from Estate Argyros has a pale yellow colour.
On the nose it’s mineral and sapid with slate and a touch of rubber, citrus notes and under ripe mango.
The mouthfeel is round and pleasant with a lovely, well integrated acidity that balances stuff very well.
On the palate this Assyrtiko is lovely and warm, a touch spicy.
The finish is long and very pleasant.
The Viognier 2019 from Lykos Winery has a pale yellow colour.
On the nose the bouquet is rather interesting. It has a floral side with yellow rose and a tropical touch with lychee and mango There is some citrusness, maybe pink grapefruit. It’s also mineral and shows a hint of wet stone.
On the mouth this Viognier is round and shows floral notes, a vanilla round touch. On the finish there is a smokey note and some bitterness with fresh almond.
The finish is rather persistent and pleasant.
Chardonnay / Gewürztraminer
Tesseris Limnes 2020 from Kir Yiannis estate has a pale yellow colour with greenish hues.
On the nose it’s aromatic, sapid and mineral. The bouquet opens with white flowers, fresh almond and a touch of mint. There is bergamot candied peel and a tropical note of unripe mango.
In the mouth it’s round with anice integrated freshness. On the palate there are citrus notes again and white flowers.
The finish is long.
My top Greek red wine
Kratistos by Apostolos Lykos has a beautiful ruby colour.
On the nose the bouquet is complex with sour cherries and tarragon notes evolving into leather, sandal wood, liquorice, graphite….
The mouthfeel is smooth and full with soft tannins . On the mouth the fruit is still very present yet it closes with evolved notes of dark chocolate and coffee.
The finish is persistent and very pleasant!
Top Greek wine grape varietals
Assyrtiko is a Greek white wine grape, probably the best known variety indigenous to this country. This grape is native to the island of Santorini. Here the soil is arid and volcanic which contributes to Assyrtiko distinctive mineral character.
While Assyrtiko is originally from Santorini, it is now grown all over Greece, from the northern area of Macedonia (Makedonia) to the Attica (Attika) region. Cuttings of Assyrtiko have also made it to the New World and Assyrtiko wine is now produced in Australia and the United States too!
Savatiano is a white Greek wine grape traditionally used as the base grape for retsina wine.
This grape shows a high drought tolerance. Maybe for that it is one of the most widely grown varieties in Greece, especially in the Attica region (Attika).
Because of the association with retsina wine, Savatiano wasn’t often used to produce wine “on-its-own” so to speak. It was either made into retsina or used to cut a blend and produce loose, unlabelled, table wine.
In recent years things have start to change with a few wineries betting hard on Savatiano. For more information about this, read my article about Mylonas winery!
Agiorgitiko is the most planted red grape variety in Greece. This grape was traditionally grown in the Nemea region, in the Peloponnese. Now, though, it can be found in other regions including Attika (Attica) and Makedonia (Macedonia).
Agiorgitiko is a “versatile” grape that produces very different styles of wine, from light rosés to sweet wines. Yet Agiorgitiko is most associated with a red dry style of wine, either young and jolly or oak matured and aged.
Malagousia (aka Malagouzia) is a white Greek wine grape.
In the past it risked extinction. In fact, Malagousia was resurrected only in the 70s and 80s did thanks to Vassilis Logothetis, a professor of oenology, and Vangelis Gerovassiliou, one of his students.
If the Gerovassiliou sounds familiar, it’s because Vangelis is now the owner of one of the best known wine estates in Greece. Of course he produces his own Malagousia!
Xinomavro is a red grape variety from Greece. The name translates to sour-black (“xino” = sour and “mavro” = black).
This grape is widely grown in Greece. It can produce pretty much any type of wine, from rosé to white sparkling wine to red, good-aging wine!
Because of its character, Xinomavro is often compared to Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. Just like Pinot Noir, it is too a quite demanding grape variety. The terroir and climatic conditions need to be just right for it. Also, the yields per hectare must be kept low to allow Xinomavro to give the best of itself!
Since recent years some attempts of cultivating Xinomavro have been made in Gansu province, in north-central China.
(Article updated from Best Greek wines 2022)
Greece has produced wine for thousands of years. The first evidence of wine production date back to the Neolitic era. Having said that, it’s the Mycenaeans who were responsible for spreading viticulture and wine consumption in mainland Greece and the Aegean islands. It was the Mycenaeans again who started trading wine with neighbouring countries. By doing so, they extended wine culture throughout the Mediterranean and increasing its economical importance at the same time.
One can find vineyards in every corner of Greece, from the northern Thrace, to Attica and the Peloponnese, to Crete and the islands. Every region has indigenous grapes, specific soil and traditions around wine.
In recent years Greek wine has seen a revival. That happened especially after the latest generation of winemakers came back from studying abroad with new ideas and a fresh approach to their land. Add this to Greece terroir and variety of indigenous grapes and you get a country that wine-wise is very much worth exploring!Link to here...