Greek Wine Fair - Melbourne 2021

The re-birth of the Greek wine industry (actually they’ve been making wine since the Bronze Age!) has been causing much excitement in other markets around the world for some years now. The distinctiveness of both the varieties and styles has captured the imagination of merchants and wine critics in both the UK and US for the past decade, making this diverse wine country a staple on the shelves of the most reputable retailers in those countries. Here in Australia, the uptake has been a little slower – perhaps the memory of bad retsina still lives large for many of us – but the views are gradually changing and the quality of the wines coming to Australia is also getting better and better.

While some of the names may be hard to pronounce and the wines a little daunting, the grapes are in fact like their brethren in western Europe – largely a reflection of their terroirs. Regionality is as historic and important here as it is anywhere in the wine-growing world and we are just beginning to appreciate this fact when it comes to Greece. To help things along, the Greek wine-growing authorities have adopted the same AOC style system as the French, with specific grapes and rules for each appellation. So as what Pinot Noir is to Burgundy, Xinomavro is to Naoussa.

But there the comparisons stop because the most exciting thing about Greek wines is the whole new palate of flavours, aromas, and textures that await. There is a wild edge to many of the reds and while the blending of international varietals like cabernet and merlot were once common the world has come to appreciate the uniqueness of the native varietals in their true and unadulterated forms – something we have been supporters of for some time. For the whites, textured and crunchy are the norm with some wonderfully aromatic varietals used in blends while the likes of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc are thankfully being fazed out which can only be a good thing.

Greece’s Topology is also extremely varied and informs both style and varietal. Macedonia and Nemea’s warm interior climate are perfect for the likes of aghirghitiko and xianamavro while a rush to the cooler coastal climate of Santorini produces some of the countries most famous wines from assyrtiko. From the central Peloponnese, the dry and aromatic moschofilero excels in the cooler climates while malagoussia from the northern reached offers a more textural and rich white.

Ultimately, this is just a drop in the ocean and the country offers up a rich and diverse set of dinking pleasure with a plethora of fascinating and delicious varietals, much more than we have the room or time to talk about here. The future of Greece looks as bright and promising as we have ever seen and this is a wonderful opportunity to take a deep dive into what’s on offer.