Wine has been blamed for almost every bad decision-making process throughout history. Really think about it- Helen going to Troy, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, even lately with all these Referendums- wine has most certainly played a part either at the pre, or post decision making.
Enjoying a glass of good wine can release the appropriate chemistry to think of the unthinkable and “why not?” make it look like a good idea, well then if it goes south- the wine will be there to make you relax enough and give it another try, or devise a new plan.
And trust me in Greece we know our wine.
Dionysus, the god of winemaking, harvest, theatre, joy, fertility and some very mystical rituals, got all his attributes from the benefits that wine offered to ancient Greeks through all its colours and tastes, as similarly to now- wine escorted all major meals and parties.
It was as today is- a lubricant of social events and would work equally well if one wanted to attend, or even if one felt uncomfortable and would prefer to stay home watching a TV show (a glass of white wine would be my choice).
So, covering the needs of both party-goers and home-bodies, Greek climate through sunshine, low average rainfall and fertile soil helps some 300 grape varieties (some of them dating way back) to grow healthily and strongly.
Winemaking from Greece’s fertile lands dates back to over 4000 years, with some of the currently most popular producing regions being Aegean Islands (namely presenting Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Lemnos, Samos), the Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Sterea Ellada, Epirus, Thessalia and Macedonia, more or less everywhere.
I am introducing you to the six best varieties and the top five wine bars in Athens without delaying any more according to my experience and research!
Top six Greek varieties →
- Agiogirtiko- (or Mavro Nemeas or Saint-George) coming from Peloponnese, known for its rich aroma and deep colour. This red wine grape is considered to be one of the country’s oldest varieties.
- Assyrtiko- originally coming from the island of Santorini. It is one of the finest white grapes variety.
- Malagousia- the wine producer Gerovasiliou, was the first who realised the potential of this white wine grape variety and the first who started experimenting with it. Malagousia is highly aromatic.
- Moschofilero- known for its floral aroma with hints of spices.
- Xinomavro– the predominant grape variety in Macedonia, is known for its complex aromas.
- Rhoditis- very popular in Attika, Peloponnese, Thessalia and Macedonia. Rhoditis is a rose coloured grape with an elegant and light taste.
Top five wine bars in Athens (yes, the places where you can find many of the above labels!) →
A wine bar that satisfies those seeking good Greek wine. You can choose between the 20 different labels of Malagousia and Agiorgitiko, and you can accompany your wine with cheese and cold cuts from local producers. Moreover, every Monday, Greek winemakers present their varieties, and you have the chance for wine tasting. I have to stress out, as well, the wonderful atmosphere of this place.
A: 2 Fokionos street & 30 Petraki 30, Athens centre
♥By the glass
It stands out because of its location and because it owns a system which maintains open wine bottles, something that allows you to choose the portion you want. Its wine list includes 200 labels, and it keeps changing, whilst the environment is truly amazing.
A: 3 G. Souri street & Filelinon, Stoa Ralli
♥Fabrica di Vino
More than 350 labels of-mainly- Greek varieties are waiting for you to taste, in this industrial style bar, with a vintage secret room. Tapas and other bites accompany your wine perfectly!
A: 3 E. Benaki street, Athens centre
This bar creates the ideal atmosphere, and it serves by the glass almost 100 labels from Greek varieties. The vintage style bar is located in a historic building.
A: 66-68 Mitropoleos street, at the centre of Athens.
♥Kiki de Grèce
Ipitou street’s sidewalk introduces the cute wine bar Kiki de Grece, which loves Greek wine and serves it the best way it can!
A: 38 Ipitou & Voulis street, Syntagma
Lastly, I would like to suggest a few wines that I personally love: Biblia Chora, Lemnia Gi and Malagousia.
“IS IG-I-AN” – Greek Toast to “Good Health!”