Postcard from Greece
And a few tips about Greek wine . . .
As I’m away on a press trip to Greece this week I haven’t had time to pull together a Friday 5 so here are a few brief thoughts on Greece and Greek wine instead which I’m sharing with free as well as paid subscribers this week to celebrate the first anniversary of Eat This, Drink That. (Wow! How did that happen? Doesn’t time go quickly these days ….)
There’s also a 25% off annual subscriptions this weekend in case you’d like to support me and come on board for the full ETDT experience and my new wine nights (See more below!)
I’ve been in the region described as Central Greece which includes some of the most historic sites in the country including Delphi and Mount Parnassus.
As you can see above we were lucky enough to fit in a visit to Delphi - both the ruins and the amazing archaelogical museum which has managed to preserve some extraordinary relics of its glory days despite repeating pillage and looting of the site over the ages.
Many of the vineyards we’ve been looking at were first planted thousands of years ago which is a humbling thought as you stand looking at a landscape that can’t have changed much over the centuries.
The Greek wine industry only really revived in the ‘90s when wineries started to plant international varietals like cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay but there’s been a marked switch back to local grape varieties which now account for 90% of Greece’s wine production.
Here in central Greece, as elsewhere, the main buzz is about assyrtiko which is rather fuller and fruitier than the ones which come from Santorini, the island that first put the variety on the map. Crisp, zingy and citrussy (I like to think of it as Greece’s answer to sauvignon blanc) it’s the Greek white wine you’re likely to encounter most often and goes brilliantly well with seafood.
Then there’s malagousia which is fresh and floral but not as aromatic as a riesling or a gewurztraminer. It’s delicious young and fresh - look out for the 2022s on wine lists - either on its own or in blends. It goes really well with meze like taramasalata.
And then a new one on me, a red grape variety called Mouchtaro which is indigenous to central Greece and which makes deliciously fruity reds and rosés you could drink with a barbecue or other grilled meats.
We haven’t seen much of the two main red grape varieties xinomavro and agiorgitiko because they tend to be grown in different regions (Macedonia and the Peloponnese respectively) but they’re worth looking out for too.
I’ll be writing about the ones I tasted soon in the Guardian.
What about the food? Well nothing major to report except that the restaurants that have hosted us have had an unfortunate tendency to reinvent it (spanokopita foam anyone?) or create weird new flavour combinations such as black eye beans with kiwi fruit I don’t think I’ll be repeating. I much prefer it when they do what they do well - great grills, great pies and lovely fresh salads but I guess that gets boring for the locals.
Looking ahead to my new Zoom wine nights I think we should do one on Greek wine don’t you? As one sharp-eyed subscriber spotted, the date I gave you was actually wrong 🙄. It’s Wednesday 12th April at 6pm GMT. It would be great to get some idea of numbers so if you’re a paid subscriber and you’re thinking of coming along maybe drop me a line at email@example.com to save your place should the numbers look like being overwhelming. (In which case I’ll put on another session.) The theme is one of my favourite grape varieties, pinot noir. Just bring along a bottle.
And if you know of anyone who you think would enjoy regular online wine tastings like this maybe take advantage of the current special offer to give them a subscription? A nice Easter present for someone who wouldn’t appreciate an egg 😉.
Anyway have a good weekend and I’ll be back next week to give you my wine tips and a few ideas of what you might make for Easter.