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Greek Wine

Everyday Food, Volume 31 April 2006

Where is it produced?
Greek wine grapes are mostly grown in the Peloponnese, in the south, and in Macedonia and Epirus, in the north.

What does it taste like?
Although many people in this country still associate Greek wine with Retsina (a white wine treated with pine resin, for preservation), Greek wine today is so much more. The whites generally have a tangy, crisp citrusy flavor, while the reds are often aromatic, spicy, and full-bodied.

What foods does it go with?
The whites pair well with fish and shellfish; the reds, with lamb, beef, and hearty pasta dishes. For an appetizer, try serving a white with a bean dip.

How much does it cost?
A nice bottle of white can cost as little as $10. You might spend considerably more ($15 to $23) on some of the richer-tasting reds.

Here are the names of some Greek wines that are now available in many wine shops.

The Reds
Nemea is one of the better-known reds from the Peloponnese. Made from the Agiorghitiko grape, it is deep red with a complex aroma. The Naoussa wines, from Macedonia, are made from the Xinomavro grape and are full-bodied.

A little more to the north, in and around the town of Amyntaio, the Xinomavro grape is used to produce a light and fruity wine as well as sparkling and still roses, all bearing the name of the region.

The Whites
The island of Cephalonia, off the western coast, is credited for the production of a new style of white wines, such as Robola of Cephalonia. Made from the Robola grape, this wine is dry, with citrus and peach flavors.

South of Athens is the island of Santorini, known for citrusy and smoky dry whites that are made from the Assyrtiko grape.

Popular dessert wines, called Vinsanto, are made from blends and produced on Santorini as well as on the island of Samos, farther north, off the eastern coast; these wines are sweet and delicate and go well with cheese or baklava.