For this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend focus on Greek wines hosted by Cindy Rynning at Grape Experiences, we decided we’d check out something new: Marathon’s first two wines, “Athena’s Vineyard” and “Nike’s Vineyard,” paired with a few favorite Greek dishes.
“Wine loosens the muscles and invigorates the spirit,” says ultra marathoner Dean Karnazes who enjoys wine after a long run and claims it works much better than ibuprofen.
The wines are the result of a new partnership between NU-Greek Wines and Greek-American ultramarathoner, Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, and one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.” As an ultra marathoner, he’s ran in the extreme heat of Death Valley and the freezing cold of the South Pole.
“Running can be painful,” Karnazes says, and as part of his recovery process he follows the same practice of ancient Greek athletes by enjoying wine for rest and relaxation after exercise. According to a press release, Karnazes is committed to the NU-Greek technique of handcrafting a Greek wine: “As a proud Greek and a marathon runner, these wines speak to me. They are lively and filled with vigor, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.”
“Wine is an appropriate article for (hu)mankind, both for the healthy body and for the ailing (hu)man,” says Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates.
While the grapes come from the hillsides of Greece, the wine is made and bottled at Deerfield in Sonoma by master vintner, Robert Rex, who has been making wine since 1972 and received the award for 2018 Winemaker of the Year from the American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC).
Winemaker Robert Rex says, “The passion that Dean has for running marathons we mirrored in Marathon Wines.”
MArathon’s white wine “Athena’s Vineyard” (after the Goddess of Wisdom) is composed of 100% from Greece’s indigenous grape, Assyrtiko (ah-SEER-tee-koe).
They say that the 2017 vintage is similar to a dry Sauvignon blanc, but to us, it is very distinct, refreshing, unusual, fun — and it pairs really well with Greek food (even better than a sauvignon blanc from Touraine which I also tried with this meal!)
The other Marathon varietal is a dry rose dubbed “Nike’s Vineyard” after the Goddess of Victory. The 2017 is made entirely from indigenous, sustainably grown premium Greek grapes– I asked which ones but have yet to hear back.
“It has a much bounce as Dean’s racing strides,” Winemaker Robert Rex says, “His athleticism inspired this exquisite rosé.”
Both follow NU-Greek’s mission to create healthy wines by using 100% non-GMO, hand-picked and triple hand sorted in Greece. The wine is then transported in sealed containers to the Sonoma valley to be bottled at Deerfield Ranch Winery.