Evidence of Greek winemaking goes back, oh, a mere 8500 years before Ernest and Julio were born. Greek wines have never made a major impression in this country, but Greece produces a lot of great wine. Happily, interest in wines from all over the globe has risen lately. And as with wines from everywhere else, technological advances have improved wine quality. Greek wines may just be the next thing.
Greek wines, for the most part, are made from varieties little known outside of the country. That’s not a bad thing. The ubiquitous planting of varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay threaten to produce a worldwide sameness in wines. Of course we love cabernet and chardonnay, but not at the risk of losing local traditions. Local wines, after all, were developed with local cuisine in mind.
Perhaps the two most famous Greek wines, Retsina and Mavrodaphne, give folks the wrong impression of Greek wines. Retsina, uniquely, is flavored with pine resin, a holdover from when resin was used to seal wine amphora. Mavrodaphne is a sweet, red, port-like wine unlikely to be served with the main course. Though grape varieties in Greek wines may be strange to us, the styles of the wines will be familiar enough.
Skouras is a modern-minded producer making wines with character and distinction. Skouras’ wines also give value to your dollar. At $10.99 a bottle (less than 9 bucks with our case discount), both make fine anytime bottles to open.
This wine is a blend of two major Greek varieties, roditis (pronounced ro-DEE-tees, if it comes up in conversation) and moscofilero (mos-co-FEE-le-ro). Both grapes have pinkish grey skins, like pinot grigio, but produce white wines, mainly, and sometimes roses. Skouras White presents crisp floral and citrus tones in its aroma. Moderate skin contact adds grip to the flavors, which again show floral and citrus notes. Certainly a perfect accompaniment to Greek salads (feta, yogurt, and olives), poultry, and fish. Pour it like a pinot grigio, which is to say, it will serve any occasion, casual or gourmet.
Skouras Red claims a modest 5% cabernet sauvignon. The rest of the blend is Agiorghitiko (pronounced ah-yor-YEE-ti-ko). The name means St. George, and that is how it is usually called in English. The cabernet supplies structure upon which tasty fruit tones hang. Full-flavored but not over ripe or heavy, the wine will carry the day with lamb. It will also serve nicely in most any red wine situation.