Above: Some of the world’s top wine professionals gathered for the New Wines of Greece grand tasting and seminar at the end of May in New York City.
We recently came across a great post on the New Wines of Greece grand tasting and seminar in New York (May, 2010) by wine blogger and wine professional Christine Berenger, author of Fava Beans and Chianti.
Christine gives readers a great overview of the seminars we attended and a solid backgrounder on Greece, its wines, and its grape varieties. But our favorite part of her post was devoted to the two “divas” of Greek wine, Assyrtiko and Xinomavro:
With over 350 indigenous varieties that are not genetically linked to any other varietals in the world, the wines of Greece are truly unique. While Greek wines are distinct and not directly comparable, this forum gave people a side-by-side comparison with other more popular international varietals, so if someone liked some of the characteristics of “X popular varietal,” then they might also enjoy a glass of “Y Greek varietal.” The tasting was lead by Doug Frost, one of three people in the world who is both MS and MW. He is true lover of Greek wines. I tried quite a few of these Greek wines, but the ones I thoroughly enjoyed (and plan on buying for myself) were made from the following two varietals — Assyrtiko and Xinomavro. Doug described these two varietals as “the divas,” which I concur as being a good descriptor. Here’s the secret decoder ring. If you enjoy the austerity, acidity and minerality of a Chablis or Riesling, you might fancy an Assyritko. If you like the dustiness and earthiness of Barbaresco (Nebbiolo) or Brunello (Sangiovese), you might want to try Xinomavro.