I was off to Symi, a tiny Island in the Agean sea, a little paradise in the north of Rhodos and close to the turkish boarder. For the story this Island used to be Italian, then British and finally in 1943 joined the Dodekanisos Islands. Today is a fishermen island of 3000 habitants which keeps an atypic architecture for greece with just one road from the north to south (and the opposite! Amazing isn’t it?), most of the beaches and monasteries just can be reached by boat.

Off course, during my séjour I wanted to drink greek wines, in order to discover new flavours and to nurture my palate and my memory as well.

Most of the wines here are made from indigenous grapes such as Athiri, Agiorghitico, assyrtiko, impossible to spell or to pronounce properly but eventually we just want to drink them. The particularity of the soil of some islands such as Santorini (volcanic) gives the specific minerality of the greek white wines. We can compare this effect with what the soil of the north of Burgundy gives to the Chablis.
Every wine you drink, from a restaurant’s house wine, an IGP wine to an AOC wine offers a new journey to your senses, except of course if you are greek and used to greek wines.
I have tried some white wines sometimes with asparagus’s or Bamboo’s flavours, and more often with grassy or flowery flavours, and some red wines with green tomato flavours more often plums, cinnamon, chocolate and tobacco flavours. As a red wine drinker my pleasure was at its top!

The biggest area, and the most well known to produce wine is the Santorini Island, but in the Agean sea you can find some wineries like Boutari in Crete, CAIR and Emery in Rhodos Island…
They grow Athiri, Moscato, Agiorghitico (which means St George by the way)…
CAIR does a very nice sparkling wine made with the Methode Champenoise, perfect and less expensive than a bad French Champagne in this country.
It is endless the flavours you can find in all of them, the only grape agiorghitico (yes I wrote it again!!) gives so much complexity by itself that even an IGP wine will amaze you. The first sip will give you the fruitness, then the spiciness, and finally the velvet of the tannins.
There are so many kinds of Greek wines that I couldn’t believe the wine selections for Yachts and luxury sailing boats ordered from the local wine shop (at least!) was just about Bandol Domaine Ott, champagne Moët et Chandon, Chablis…and I felt ashamed: I don’t mean that it is bad (quoique…), it’s true that it makes anyway some business for wine merchants, and it still good for France, but come on!! How people travelling in this lovely paradise, knowing that  Greece are living a real tough time, how people can’t just buy and enjoy the greek production!!!

Anyway, let’s stay positive: Now back to London I can think about an Octopus salad with a glass of wine made from Athiri, a Boutari Reserva with lamb chops, grilled chicken or even with a greek salad. In Symi you can’t start before 9pm except if you want a bunch-drunk session. The sun is pitiless there!! In London there is not such a problem!

Finally, a little advice from the Sages from the Antic Greek civilisation to our politicians : They used to vote a law twice: first when they were sober, then when they have drinken wine. If the law was still looking good when they were drunk they kept it. Let’s think about it!

PS: As you can note there is no picture of bottles of wine, I drank all of them and I chose to show you the Terroir!!

PS’: To know more visit Allaboutgreekwines

A suggestion:

Mediterra Silenus “Beta”, 2010, IGP from the island of Crete, Sauvignon blanc and Vilana, £8.65

Traditionnal Creta variety  Vilana partnered with sauvignon blanc for a very refreshing well balanced white wine, perfect with Greek salad or grilled chicken.


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