Greece’s most famous white wine grape is most closely associated with the picturesque island of Santorini. The vines – the most ancient among them up to 250-years-old – are famously trained into unique basket shapes and grown close to the ground to protect them from the island’s sometimes fierce winds. While nearly two thirds of Santorini’s vineyards are still dedicated to Assyrtiko, the grape is now being planted throughout Greece.
YOU'LL EXPERIENCE: Full-bodied Assyrtiko is often compared to Sauvignon Blanc for its high acidity and sharp citrus notes, but along with those lemony flavours it also typically reveals exotic notes like jasmine and ginger. Some detect a slight saltiness to Assyrtiko, as well.
TRY IT WITH: A warm zucchini and goat cheese tart, seared salmon with tzatziki or a creamy risotto with peas and pancetta.
Pretty, pink-skinned Moschofilero is normally used to make bright, vibrant and highly aromatic white wines, but it can also produce stellar sparkling, rosé and late-harvest dessert wines, as well. Mostly grown on the Peloponnese, where the peninsula’s rugged terrain creates a wide variety of microclimates informed by the region’s warm days and cool nights.
YOU'LL EXPERIENCE: Riesling and Viognier are the two grapes Moschofilero is most often compared to. Bright, with a fresh acidity, a distinct “rose bouquet” is often present along, with fresh apple, lychee and citrus flavours. Moschofilero is an easy-drinking, food-friendly crowd pleaser.
TRY IT WITH: Seared scallops with brown butter and capers, sushi of all sorts or a fresh, mixed berry tart.
If Agiorgitiko (Ah-your-yeek-tee-ko), one of Greece’s most widely planted grapes, was as easy to pronounce as Merlot it might share its popularity. Both are luscious, full-bodied red wines that thrive in their respective climates. Native to Greece, the mountainous Nemea region is its spiritual home, but Agiorgitiko is grown throughout the country and is utilized for everything from light rosé to dense, structured, tannic wines with great aging potential.
YOU'LL EXPERIENCE: Most winemakers prefer to let Agiorgitiko express its natural, full-bodied character. Rich and ruby red, aromas of spice and herbs (like wild oregano, thyme) lead to black currant and wild strawberry flavour in younger wines that give way to fig and raisin aromas as bottles age.
TRY IT WITH: Tuna with tapenade, roast duck with maple, soy glaze or braised lamb shank.