Tuesday, 6 October 2015


It's odd, for a country whose wines I've spent the last three years pursuing and working with I've found it remarkably difficult to write about Greece and her wines.

Perhaps it's the fact that I've not visited the countries vineyards, not emptied the grit of Amyndeon sand out of my shoes not, at least by my standards, really gotten stuck in. My drafts folder is stuffed to the gills with my attempts to put together a piece on late night Xinomavro tastings or wildly speculative pieces on the aromatic similarity between Moschofilero and Torrrontes (if in doubt between the two Moschofilero is more mineral and slightly fuller bodied on the palate).

Anyway all that is by the by, the weekend just past was the inaugural Greek Wine Festival as put together by Theodore Kyriakou of the Greek Larder, and though possibly not as packed as he'd have hoped I thought it was a success. More to the point it got me thinking about my own relationship to Greek wines and how it has developed over the past few years.

When I first started casting my net for Greek bottles, there were a few obvious places to look. Hallgarten Druitt, the current home of the esteemed Steve Daniels, ex-Oddbins buyer and the person who introduced pretty much an entire generation to the new(in the 90s)wave of Greek wine. Along with HgD, I had a small deli in Bloomsbury with a pretty fun selection, though little did I realise then quite how much trouble it would be getting any sort of straight answer out of them.

Thankfully I soon discovered Mary from Eclectic (I think it was Gus Gluck who suggested I contact her) and with a neat synchronicity I was back in contact with Theatre of Wine, who dealt with Eclectic's wines for smaller restaurant sized orders.

Things were falling neatly into place. I could now fill my list up with Alpha Estate, Domaine Gerovasilliou, Thymiopoulos, Hatszidakis, Gaia Estate, soon there would be Economou to flesh out the top end and no end of exciting, fresh and vibrant whites. I was starting to realise that far from being a country defined by her coast line, as far as wine was concerned it was her mountains that set the tone.

And then, all of a sudden I was sitting at a table this last Saturday, a glass of Thymiopoulos' Earth and Sky 2012 thrumming with earthy, black olive and orange peel aromatics, bawdy almost, like catching up with an old friend in a noisy pub, next to Dalmarra 2011, an estate that was new to me. Apparently the winemakers are good friends and it was obvious why, this was a little more rustic, the fruit toned down a little bit, there was a dustiness, the vineous equivalent of the 6 o clock shadow of someone who is in the fields at 4.30am. It finally felt right. I've still not managed any sodding vineyard visits though.