Wines of Greece: Drinking Like a Local

Wines of Greece: Drinking Like a Local
We rented a fabulous place, Villa Arkadia, here in the hills of Nafplio. The benefits started before we even got here. Those being that due to our late arrival the caretaker was willing to stock the house with groceries based on our direction. Knowing that we would be rolling in with a minimum of 24 hours of travel under our belts I certainly wanted some wine to be on hand. In truth, I thought champagne may be more appropriate after extensive travels with two children but I digress. I literally added it to our grocery list as just “wine” curious to see what would be waiting upon my arrival.

So what did I find waiting for me? The Tsantali Medium Sweet Red. In the fridge of all places, color me skeptical. A magnum bottling, 11% alcohol by volume, price unknown. The first evening it was impossible to be objective. We were here. We all made it one piece without killing each other. With all of our luggage to boot! Sitting on our terrace looking at a lighted castle in the distance this just needed not to be terrible and it easily delivered on that. Over the next few days I took a closer look at the label and came to realize the wine label one I had come across during my preview of Greek Wines. The winery, Evangelos Tsantalis, seems to cover all ends of the market here in Greece from the cheaper bulk wines to the more premium selections. This one certainly falls more towards the former than the latter checking in at 5.50€ for 1.5L. No nose worth mentioning. On the palate, the sweetness is on the dry side which I prefer, medium bodied and slightly tannic on the finish. The closest parallel I can draw is to an Aussie Sparkling Shiraz. The chilled aspect certainly helps, not sure I would want to meet this one at room temperature. I’ll trust the local, who left it in the refrigerator, on that one thought the bottle advocates for serving at 61 degrees. Good for drinking, not tasting, which makes it a perfectly acceptable sipper for a nice spring evening on the patio.

Wines of Greece: Drinking Like a LocalThe Saturday following our arrival the caretaker, Mattina (pictured with yet to be mentioned dinner), offered to meet us down at the local weekly market to help us pick out some good food. Fortunately for us she wasn’t all that impressed with what was on offer and decided to bring us a homemade Greek meal for dinner that evening. What a stroke of fortune that found our way to her. She was a tremendous help throughout our stay in Nafplio, especially when she took my wife to the local medical facilities when her ear infections were near dehabilitating. Thanks again Matina!

Back to the wine, along with that meal she she brought her 2nd offering of wine. Let’s call it the Matina Cola Reserve NV White. The ultimate in blind tasting. Obviously nothing else to go by, all Matina tells us is that this is a house made wine she gets from a friend and “das ist gute”. She speaks German, me very little but fortunately my wife is fluent. Based on my limited knowledge of Greek wines I was able to deduce and/or assume a few things. First off the wine must be young given they don’t age their whites. Second, based on the golden, translucent hue to the color it can’t be 100% Moschofilero as that would require zero skin contact which would be difficult to achieve in a home wine making arrangement. Now to the wine, at first the nose seems nearly pungent, perhaps it was the plastic. With time it became indescribable. Meaning I was continually searching for an answer but having difficulty pinpointing one. I finally settled on a medley of fruits; banana, peaches and maybe even cantaloupes. I noticed there is an ever so faint presence of bubbles in the glass, perhaps residual from the soda that use to reside in this bottle. On the palate you first notice the fullness of the body weight on your tongue which is unexpected. You quickly find some citrus notes towards the back of the palate but this fullness keeps them at bay until the end. In the mean time, the aforementioned fruits our rotating through the palate. There is little to no acidity to be found in this wine. I’m guessing it is a blend of the Moschofilero and Roditis varietals. Right or wrong, a fantastic wine experience and a pleasant afternoon quaffer at that.

Stay tuned for more! Next up, my adventures at the local wine store and supermarket…

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3 thoughts on “Wines of Greece: Drinking Like a Local

  1. Interesting article waiting for you when you return: a profile of Bronco Wines in The New Yorker. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. . .

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