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In this companion episode to “White wine 101: Greek White Wines,” VinePair’s tastings director Keith Beavers damages down the Greek wine regions and also grapes consumers can locate on the UNITED STATE market. There are 2 major red ranges to keep an eye out for, and also while the checklist is shorter for Greek reds than it is for whites, these grapes still load a punch.
Tune in to Episode 4 of the bonus period of “Red wine 101” to read more regarding Greek red wines.
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Keith Beavers: My name is Keith Beavers, and also we just mounted a fire pit in our yard. It’s very interesting. Hey, Siri, just how do you construct a fire?
What’s going on, a glass of wine enthusiasts? Welcome to VinePair’s “Red wine 101” podcast, the incentive season. My name is Keith Beavers. I am the samplings director of VinePair. How you doing?
Last week, we were all about those Greek whites. Today, we need to speak about Greece’s merlot. Guys, it’s unique. You need to understand about it. You have to enter into it. It’s incredible. Let’s get involved in it.
OK. Now that we recognize with the white wines of Greece, we’ve reached get aware of the red wines of Greece. I’m simply fed discussing Greece today, wine lovers, since this is a minute for Greece. There is even more Greek a glass of wine on the American market than there ever before has been. The focus on quality as well as structure is just incredible. Obviously, Santorini and Assyrtiko have been on the market for a long period of time. But, like we talked about last episode, Malagousia, Moschofilero, as well as Rhoditis are red wines that are simply offered now. For how long of a listing is that? It’s just trendy. There’s all this stuff to discover. It’s a brand-new country. If you have actually never had Greek white wine before, this is the moment.
The merlot situation in Greece is equally as interesting. The list is just a whole lot much shorter: shorter as in 2 grapes– two selections. That’s a little a lie due to the fact that there are other selections that make merlot in Greece, however they’re primarily made use of for mixing now. If they are 100 percent, we’re not actually seeing a lot of it on the American market.
With Greece as well as with this moment we remain in right now, that’s most likely just short-lived since there are winemakers available attempting to make wine with all the grapes. In the next one decade, we could see another red wine grape pop up as well as be truly preferred. In the meantime, the two varieties that make merlot in Greece that we’re visiting on the American market is a grape called Xinomavro and a grape called Agiorgitiko.
Greece is such a vacationer location and also the seaside areas of Greece are simply mind blowingly gorgeous. They’re a few of the most beautiful put on Earth. What’s occasionally not known, however, is that the interior of Greece and the northern component of Greece is very mountainous. It’s in these mountainous regions where we discover the merlot varieties of Greece.
Despite the fact that Greece is mainly a Mediterranean climate– meaning a climate influenced by the Mediterranean or a big body of water– it also has a continental climate, which means a climate not affected by any type of body of water. An example of that would be Burgundy, right in the middle of France.
In the “Oxford Wine Buddy,” Jedi A Glass Of Wine Master Jancis Robinson splits Greece up right into parts. There is the north part of Greece, which is the mountainous north component of northeastern Greece. It’s northeast of the peninsula. It’s the area of Macedonia and Thrace. Then, you have central Greece, which is an extremely hilly region. Below that you have the Peloponnese, renowned for the Spartans. After that, you have the islands.
It’s in the northern component of Greece and the central component of Greece that we obtain these 2 ranges. Up in the north part of Greece, where Thrace as well as Macedonia are, this is the home of the grape Xinomavro. When you’re trying to find Xinomavro in the wine shop, feel in one’s bones it’s spelled with an X, not a Z. The name suggests “acid black” since it has a very high acidity. Around, there’s a red wine area that exists around a mountain called Mount Vermio. On the southeastern slopes of Mount Vermio is an area called Naoussa. You’re going to see a lot of Xinomavro from Naoussa on the American market.
I recognize I’ve said in the past on this podcast that there’s a really short list of red wines around that are age-worthy. Usually, we’re just consuming white wines for a Tuesday night. Xinomavro gets on that checklist of age-worthy wines. These red wines can opt for three decades and also they just improve and better.
On the inclines of Mount Vermio, the soil is really bad. These creeping plants truly have a hard time for water as well as they get this great concentration of fruit, despite the fact that it has high acidity. It typically sees concerning a year in oak. The outcome is practically– I’m mosting likely to say this– it’s practically like Nebbiolo or Barolo. It actually is. It has a beauty to it. It has a powerfulness to it. It has an emphasis to it. It’s obvious. They’re commonly nicely framed with great tannin framework. They match all the things that larger, a lot more effective glass of wines would opt for, like steak, duck, pork, and hefty pastas. If you like big, vibrant red wines, this is your new pal, this is the new red wine you have actually been searching for.
It’s not only in Naoussa that Xinomavro’s expanded. It’s expanded all over Greece, but it’s from this area. This is where it’s more focused and also where it’s being concentrated on greater than various other areas. What’s truly great– we’re not going to see a lot of it now, however eventually we will– is that on the northwest incline of the very same hill, Mount Vermio, is a region called Amyndeo. They make gleaming Xinomavro, which is amazing.
Simply east of these red wine areas is another white wine region called Goumenissa. I’m just stating it since they blend Xinomavro with a grape called Negoska. Negoska is Slavic for Naoussa. Again, you’re not visiting a lot of those today, but I make certain we will in the future. I just located it intriguing that Negoska as well as Naoussa are attached. This is exactly how all these selections are. Their beginnings are unidentified, so they simply name them after the areas they’re from. This grape was clearly from Naoussa, which is the house of Xinomavro. I know. It’s insane.
As we move from north Greece right into main Greece, I intend to mention main Greece, because this is where Mount Olympus is. There is a white wine area on the slopes of Mount Olympus. It’s called Rapsani. I’m starting to see even more Rapsani wines on the American market, so I intended to let you people learn about it. They do make Xinomavro, but they additionally mix it with two other native selections from that area. There’s a grape called Krasato as well as a grape called Stavroto. It’s type of awesome since these white wines age too, today we have 2 various other ranges being utilized to help construct a blend that will age for a long time. A real Greek blend. It’s quite outstanding.
When we go south of Rapsani, we pass Athens and that peninsula, and also we cross the Corinth Canal, so we are currently right into the Peloponnese. Right when we enter the north component of the Peloponnese, there is a white wine region called Nemea. It’s simply north of Mantinia, which is well-known for Moschofilero, the incredible pink-skin red wine we talked about in the last episode.
In Nemea, there is this tiny chapel. It’s a chapel to St. George. There’s a range that grows around as well as is from this area that they call St. George. In Greek, St. George is Agiorgitiko. This is a really mountainous area. Vineyards are upwards of more than 2,000 feet over sea level. It’s something like 2,300 feet above sea level.
Agiorgitiko can be this extremely dark and also powerful merlot, however it can also be sort of medium as well as light, depending on where in this field that it’s expanded. Sometimes in the lower-lying areas, it does not ripen well enough and also they make it into a sweet a glass of wine.
Again, it’s expanded all over Greece, yet if it’s from Nemea, it’s mosting likely to be more concentrated. It’s here where Agiorgitiko has a lower yield in some areas, so you get this more direct, extreme, fruity white wine. They’re fantastic. I don’t understand if they age as much as Xinomavro, however they have this juicy strength to them. There are lighter styles as the manufacturing degrees rise. When I think of Agiorgitiko, the initial thing I think of is lamb. It is a Greek food a glass of wine. It is definitely a suit made in paradise. Full stop. Agiorgitiko.
Which, a glass of wine lovers, is essentially the red wines of Greece. Yes, there are various other selections. There is one called Mavrodaphne and also one called Moschomavro, which is basically simply Black Muscat. It’s simply a really sweet, red grape. There are additionally international ranges. The Greeks are doing all sort of stuff. They are cling their areas as well as origins, yet they are also bringing in global varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Wine, Syrah, and also things like that. They will certainly additionally mix those, often, into their wines. For us to obtain a feeling of what Greece is, I think it’s a lot more enjoyable to simply discover the indigenous selections that we think are from Greece, but they’re so old that we do not recognize. I keep stating that. I locate it remarkable.
Currently, I would be remiss if I did not discuss a red wine from Greece that has actually had a certain stigma. I don’t recognize what to state. It’s a curiosity. What I enjoy regarding it is that it’s a testimony to the history of Greece, and also it’s having a renaissance where people are making it into more concentrated wine. It’s a gewurztraminer, so it should be in the various other episode. I had not been going to talk about it, yet I believe I need to discuss it due to the fact that there’s something going on below.
I discussed Malagousia, that variety that is from the northern part of Greece. Well, Malagousia as well as other grapes, like Rhoditis, were commonly used to make a certain white wine called Retsina. The word Retsina type of sounds like resin. I’m not really certain what words Retsina means, yet it is a white wine that is instilled with ache oil or want material, so that it mimics the means wine must have been in classical times. You’re consuming a gewurztraminer, yet as opposed to smelling your typical pear, possibly some apples, possibly some blossoms, you’re scenting want.
The traditional things was pretty intense. My father-in-law is Greek and when I initially fulfilled him, we headed out to dinner at a Greek restaurant. He asked me if I desired some Retsina. Me, intending to excite my father-in-law, I stated, “Certainly I desire some retsina. What’s that?” I took a sip of this wine and also my detects took place a red-flag alert, like, “What is this things?” I have actually reached claim, I really did not 100 percent enjoy it. It had not been that awesome.
But, as I got into the white wine world, started discovering a glass of wine, had a wine store, started getting a glass of wine, and also started purchasing Greek white wine, I believed, “You know what? Let’s return as well as see what Retsina’s all about.” I tried it once again and also I found out that there is good Retsina. There’s a couple of brand names out there. And there’s these brand-new generations of winemakers around Europe right now. Greece is consisted of in that. There are more youthful winemakers in north Greece right now that are making Retsina and doing the work to make it in fact well balanced.
What we’re seeing right here is an interest from the past that had a bit of a stigma behind it– it’s a wine that tastes like want material. I tried a brand-new Retsina a few years ago, as well as I was happily surprised. The pine aroma is incorporated right into the a glass of wine. You get the pears, apples, and flowers, then there’s this little hint of yearn that go through it. It’s not offensive. The old things will attack your senses, and also it could be offending to you guys. You must try it, though, because it’s wild.
Nowadays, there’s Retsina coming on the marketplace that is in fact mixed with the material, and it’s well balanced. I just discover it really intriguing that we have this white wine from this nation and also it’s a controlled white wine. They are instilling something into the white wine, but it is a pride, somewhat, of the area. Now, we’re beginning to see much better variations of it. Greece is producing its very own a glass of wine that’s beyond the indigenous ranges. Am I making sense? I just discover it insane cool. I’ll inform you now: Some good Retsina with some lemon potatoes as well as tzatziki? I indicate, opa! Am I right?
So, there you have it. That’s a good two-episode breakdown on Greek glass of wines. Now, there’s more out there, but this is going to get you started. This is going to obtain you aware of Greece. This is going to obtain you right into Greek red wine, I believe.
Although the names might not know, the mouthfeels, aromas, and also the means you connect with these glass of wines is going to be really acquainted, specifically if you like European wine. This is a European nation that makes European a glass of wine, they have their very own varieties, as well as they’re truly excellent. So, go out there, buy a lot of Greek wine. Purchase a number of Greek food. We have actually obtained all type of Greek food in our markets nowadays. Have on your own some enjoyable. Get into Greek wines. They’re so cool. I’m going to go have a Moschofilero.
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As well as currently, for some entirely incredible credit histories. “Wine 101” was generated, taped, as well as edited by your own really, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair head office in New York City. I intend to provide a large ol’ shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and also Josh Malin for producing VinePair. Huge shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for developing one of the most amazing logo design for this podcast. Additionally, Darbi Cicci for the signature tune. Pay attention to this. And also I want to say thanks to the entire VinePair team for aiding me find out something new each day. See you next week.
Ed. note: This episode has been modified for length as well as clearness.