Greek Wines

The Greeks, it is generally conceded, were the founding fathers of viticulture. They planted the grapes, presumably first thought of stamping on them to extract their precious juices and they even invented a special non-porous clay jar called the amphora in which to age those first and ancient wines. Unfortunately, in quality terms, Greece has not really taken advantage of this early start. A great deal of wine is produced there today, but most of it is strictly for instant consumption and belongs firmly in the ‘plonk’ or vin ordinaire category.

The Greeks are probably best known for their inclination to put resin into their white wines, thus creating the unique wine known as Retsina. Retsina is very much an acquired taste, but there are those who really like it, especially as an accompaniment to highly spiced Greek food.

The Greeks also make unresinated wines, and some of them are very good. With their twin virtues of increasing availability and relatively cheap prices, they are wines to watch for, certainly for everyday drinking. Among the reds, Demestica is rough but good and makes a wonderful accompaniment to such Greek specialities as GIOUVETSI and kebabs; of the roses (and there are some very pleasant Greek roses) Roditys stands out as one of the most reliable; while of the unresinated whites, Hymmetus is com-mendable for its soft, dry flavour.

Greece also produces a number of excellent dessert wines, the best of the reds being the heavy, sweet Mavrodaphne from

Peloponnesos. The best white dessert wines are generally agreed to originate from the island of Samos.

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