I recently created a press release for PRNewswire on Spanish wine grapes, indigenous only to a 20 mile area in Spain. The least traveled area in the country, and it sparked my interest in other grape varieties which led me to Greece.
What is the term indigenous? A geographical area which is in a certain part of a country where grapes only are grown in the region. So for Spain, Zamora, the least traveled are in Spain is a 20 mile radius of a city. Zamora is home to Prieto Picudo and Albarin, not to be confused with the popular grape variety Albarino. Albarin is not related to Albarino. 99% of the population guaranteed, has never tried Albarin, not even the experts. I will expand further in another article about these two intriguing grape varieties.
Back to Greece:
I will touch on two grape varieties and leave the other varieties for future adventures on the Greek route:
A white grape selection: Assyrtiko [ A seer’ tee ko ]
Assyrtiko was first cultivated on the island of Santorini, it is one of Greece’s most popular grape varieties. Assyrtiko is one of Greece’s finest multi-purpose white grape selections, and is widely planted throughout Greece. As the grape ripens, the acidity is not lost producing a very aromatic, and unique flavor profile. Citrus nuances, minerally on the palette and in the finish, this wine is surprisingly bone-dry. Santorini is famous for their volcanic soils. The grape variety is also used in blending with other grapes such as Athiri and Aidani. When blended this combination of varietals becomes much sweeter. I just makes you want to sit overlooking the sea on a beautiful day, and sip on Greek wines. Grill a piece of swordfish, pair it with your bottle of Assyrtiko and if you are not on a Greek Island, pretend to be!
A red grape selection: Agiorghitiko [ Ah yor yee’ ti ko ]
I chose this grape as it is one of the noblest of the Greek red grapes, Mainly grown in Nemea, in the Peloponnese area, it is an AOC region of Greece. Agiorghitiko, (meaning St. George’s) ,could reference the Chapel of St. George or St. George’s Day. The character of the wines stand out for many reasons, they are luxuriously soft on the palette, and not too tannic. The wines are inky, deep red and extremely aromatic. Balanced acidity, fresh aromatic rose wines and reds, and they age well. I think I will make some sort of BBQ dish tonight and have a bottle with my meal. Fabulous combinations ensue!