Greek wine and cuisine: so distinct, so delicious, so ideal for our grill friendly lifestyle! So why don’t we do Greek wines more often? Perhaps it’s because the wines aren’t easy to find — or easy to say! Names like Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Malagousia, Savatiano, Retsina, Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Rapsani, Vinsanto, and Mavrodaphne may be challenging to most Americans to say, but it’s time to Go Greek and give Greek wine a try in 2022! The Greeks have 200 indigenous grape varieties with 50 used commercially for you to sample.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend crew travels to Greece to discover Greek wines and foods that pair with them. Find out more from host Deanna Kang’s invite and preview here where she explains that the demise of the long standing tradition of Greek wine can be blamed on “the Greek War of Independence in 1821, when the Turks destroyed all the vines in their retreat.”
Here’s what we did last time we sampled and paired Greek wines.
Enjoy the food photos below; click for FULL SIZE.
Greek Inspired Menu
we also used organic olive oil from Greece
- Appetizers: Skordalia (garlic potato lemon dip), melitzanosalata, taramasalata, hummus, olives, feta (Sue purchased from the Greek at the Harbor)
- Bread: Pita
- Soup: Avgolemono lemon chicken (Sue purchased from The Greek at the Harbor)
- Salad: Grilled eggplant with pomegranate and pistachio with a cumin yoghurt sauce (recipe below)
- Grain: Lemon rice made in the instant pot with chicken broth
- Fish: Whole fresh grilled black cod with lemons and herbs (prepared by Sue, grilled by Marshall)
- Meat: Grilled Lamb Souvlaki (marinated lambs on skewers) — using lamb chops because they were on sale!
- Dessert: Raspberry Creamy Pistachio with Vanilla Yoghurt Tartlets — made by Gretel
- 2017 Silva “Emphasis”
- 2017 Sant’or Agiorgitiko
2017 Silva “Emphasis”
Grapes: 50% Plyto, 50% Sauvignon Blanc
SRP $34 (restaurant retail)
Sue purchased from The Greek at the Harbor in Ventura CA..
This is a great introduction to Greek white wines– it’s 50% of a Greek wine you’ve probably never tried and 50% of sauvignon blanc which you probably know well.
Color: Golden, daffodil, rich gold color,
Aroma: A bit of petrol, pine tar, pine resin, guava, mango, rich nose, pineapple, coconut, tropical fruit salad, nectar; the nose makes you want to dive right in.
Palate: The tropical fruit is on the palate as well, pine tar, bone dry, toasted pine nut finish; this is really a fun wine, and not too far off from an American palate to be accessible to most people.
Pairing: This Greek wine and Greek meal went fantastic together. The wine absolutely loved the garlicky Greek dips, as well as the taramasalata. It was fantastic with the avgolemono lemon chicken soup handling the big lemon flavors. The dry wine becomes so sweet with food. Nice with the eggplant dish, however since we grilled the eggplant, the smokey richness of the dish fought a bit with the wine. The combination of pistachios and pomegranates worked very nicely with the wine. Sue felt that it would have been better if the eggplant was oven baked rather than grilled. Absolutely perfect with the Greek lemon rice and grilled fish. The herbs in the fish were so beautiful with the wine.
2017 Sant’or Agiorgitiko
SRP under $20
Purchased at Silver Lake Wine
This 100% Agiorgitiko wine is organic and made with wild yeast, unfiltered and unfined. This red grape is one of the most common, but the winery specializes in biodynamic and organic rare, indigenous Greek grapes.
Located outside the historical 3rd largest Greek city of Patra, Sant’or is operated by Panagiotis Dimitropoulos, who dry farms his 4.5 ha of high altitude vineyards biodynamically. Panagiotis is the only grower cultivating the Santameriana grape, and one of very few making dry monovarietal Mavrodafni.
Panagiotis inherited his vineyards through generations of wine growers on his father’s side. His vision is to raise awareness of local indigenous grapes vinified through wild fermentation and naturally, and he experiments with aging in clay amphoras, cement, and old oak.
Color: Deep dense plum, raisin, garnet rim, the wine is unfined and unfiltered and that is what it looks like. So dense you cannot see through it.
Aroma: Ripe fruit, plum, raisin, prune, baking spice, cinnamon, sandalwood, amber, pachouli,
Palate: Bone dry, cherry, cherry tobacco, completely different than the nose, tart, tangy, bold tannins; this is a really big wine with clay, soil, dirt, and a palate that’s unique and interesting that yearns for food.
Pairing: This wine is completely tamed and enhanced by the eggplant dish. The wine loves the creamy richness, the char from the grill and the bold garlic flavors. When followed by the grilled lamb, it puts one over the top of happiness. This wine thrives on the bold garlic which is tamed and enhanced by the wine.
Grilled Eggplant w/ Cumin Yogurt, Pomegranate, Pistachios
- 2 medium eggplant, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 150 g low-fat Greek yoghurt
- 1 pinch sea salt, adjust to taste
- 1 handful pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Preheat the grill.
- Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook until light brown in color. Allow to cool.
- For the dressing: Pour the olive oil into a non-stick pan, add the cumin seeds and heat on a high heat until the seeds start to sizzle in 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add turmeric while the oil is still hot. Cool.
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger and chilli flakes with yogurt. Add and combine cooled oil-and-spice mixture. Add salt to taste. Add milk, cream, or olive oil for desired creaminess.
- Place the eggplant on a serving plate with greens (optional but desirable); drizzle dressing.
- Scatter pomegranate seeds, pistachio nuts, cilantro over the top.
- Wendy is tasting Assyrtiko from Santorini paired with Greek Mac and Cheese at A Day in the Life on the Farm.
- Camilla is Waiting for the Temperature Drop: Still Eating al Fresco and Pouring Moschofilero at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
- Andrea asks Do You Know Fokiano? at The Quirky Cork.
- David is having a Greek Spaghetti Recipe and Wine Pairing at Cooking Chat.
- Cindy is exploring how Xinomavro Thrives in Naoussa Where Key Elements Define Its Character at Grape Experiences.
- Deanna is testing an Almost Paleo Greek Menu + an Aged Sparkling Zitsa at Wineivore.
- Gwendolyn is pairing 2 Greek Wines with Grilled Eggplant, Black Cod, Lamb Kebabs at Wine Predator.
- Nicole is showcasing Three Off-the-Beaten-Path Pairings for Holiday Cheese & Charcuterie Platters at Somm’s Table.
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Who else is tasting which Greek wines with what pairings?
Join our twitter chat 8-9am Pacific on Saturday Dec. 12:
- 11:00 a.m. EST
- Welcome to the #winepw chat on the wines of Greece! Introduce yourself and where you are tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable.
- 11:05 a.m. EST
- Q1 When you first heard about this month’s #winepw theme on Greek Wines, what were your initial thoughts? Had you tried Greek wines before? If you had not, did you have any preconceived notions or thoughts about the region?
- 11:15 a.m. EST
- Q2 What Greek wine did you choose to write about today? What grape varietal(s) did your wine have? Were these native to Greece? Share a link to your post, so we can read about it! #winepw
- 11:20 a.m. EST
- Q3 Tell us about the region and/or producer of the wine you chose. What part of Greece was the wine from? Did you learn anything about the producer you would like to share with us? #winepw
- 11:30 a.m. EST
- Q4 What kind of food did you serve with your Greek wine? Show us some photos! How did the pairing turn out? What worked well together and what didn’t? #winepw
- 11:35 a.m. EST
- Q5 Let’s talk about prices. Would you say that Greek wines are value wines or special occasion wines? Will you purchase Greek wine again?
- 11:40 a.m. EST
- Q6 Have you traveled to Greece? Tell us about your trip. If you haven’t traveled to Greece yet, where and what would you want to visit? #winepw
- 11:50 a.m. EST
- Q7 Share your parting thoughts on the wine region of Greece. What was your key takeaway, fun fact, something interesting or something new that you learned from this exploration? #winepw
- 11:55 a.m. EST
- Shout out to @lemieuxandrea @cookingchat @Culinary_Cam @wendyklik @artpredator @grapeexp_Cindy @sommstable @wineivore for participating in this month’s exploration of Greek wines! #winepw
- NOON. EST
- Thanks for joining the December 2021 #winepw chat on the wines of Greece. Stay tuned for the next #winepw chat in the new year on 1/8/22. Join @@lemieuxandrea for an exploration of bubbles around the world!
I’ve not heard of Plyto before! Can’t wait to look for this!
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever had it either! So many Greek grapes to discover!
I don’t know how you do these extraordinary feasts on weeknights, but it is truly admirable and enviable! Whole fresh fish, fresh greek eggplant salad, lamp chops, and homemade raspberry tartlets. So good, and really interesting Greek wines to pair with it. Thanks for sharing the recipe for the eggplant that would also work well as a vegetarian main dish!
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I have help! It truly takes a team. Sue and Marsh are indispensable. And yes that eggplant dish is fabulous as a side or main for lunch or for dinner!
This spread looks FANTASTIC and both of the wines sound delicious.
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Thanks Nicole! Great wines, both! And a fabulous spread to go with them.