Special Report: Texas Sommelier Conference in Las Colinas

Vines in Nemea, Greece

The final session at Texsom yesterday was a tasting of eight wines from Greece. When I first heard this I almost cut out early. I have never had a good Greek wine. They give me memories of alcoholic, flabby, simple fruit bombs.

However, it was a good thing that I stayed. The wines presented were the biggest surprise of the day. Six of the eight were red, and they were the stars. However, each reflected the grapes from which it was made. Two of the best were wines made from Nemea, a region noted for its wine making by Homer (who may have described them as ‘yummy’).

Jump for the glorious details.

Gaia Estate

2006 Gaia Estate Nemea (approx $18 retail)

Skouras Grand Cuvee

2006 Skouras Nemea “Grand Reserve” (approx. $25)

These wines are great substitutes for Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, or Merlot. Have them with steak or barbecue.

The grape  is, Agiorgitiko, an ancient Greek variety colloquially known as “Blood of Hercules.” Herein lies the problem facing Greek winemakers:  Greek wine and grape names are frequently long and hard to remember which makes it hard for winemakers to education consumers and distributors. It’s a little easier for the wines of Nemea–Agiorgitiko is the only red grape allowed  so when you buy a wine from Nemea, you know the grape to expect. Greek wine makers might also consider putting the English-language name of the grape (St. George) on the label in English-speaking markets. In the meantime, look for these labels pictured above as a useful starting point.


  • it was a very nice tasting. made me want to go visit Gus Katsigris in sunny Old Greece.

  • So great to see you writing your honest opinion. There are still a lot of misconceptions out there about Greek wines, but the rules have changed. There has been a tremendous improvement in the quality over the last years. I always see similar reactions when wine lovers taste the wines from Greece. The hardest part is to ensure they don’t “cut out early”. Thank you!

  • I am the importer for GAI’A’s wines in teh US. The price for the GAI’A Estate is incorrect. The average retail price is $35-$40 a bottle.

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