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.
2006 Gaia Estate Nemea (approx $18 retail)
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.