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The Roaring Red of Greece

One of the most recognized Greek mythological stories is when Hercules slayed the Nemean lion. That story was based in the historical region of Nemea, the homeland of the noble red grape, Agiorgitko. Nemea is nestled in the northeast corner of Peloponnese and has an ideal ecosystem that produces well structured and robust grapes. Surrounded by a collection of mountains, hills, and valleys, Nemea is what I consider the Napa of Greece.

Agiorgitiko, which is also referred to as St. George, named after a Byzantine church in Nemea, has come a long way in the modern world of wine making. In the last thirty years or so, it was producing rather lighter style reds with resemblance to Gamay (a French variety from Beaujolais) to elegant reds with ample fruit components and great balance. Agiorgitiko is typically produced in two styles: the first, it’s fermented in stainless tanks which produces a fresh and vibrant red wine with immense aromas of fresh cut berries and the second, it’s produced according to the appellation laws of Nemea, aged in oak barrels for a year, which produces a rather firm and robust wine. Lastly Agiorgitiko is often blended with other local varieties that provide signature styles of the different winemakers of today.

Either style of Agiorgitiko you decide to drink, you will be welcomed by inviting aromas and flavors. A wine that can be enjoyed with sipping and good parea, along with a great selection at the table with a variety of dishes.

Check out our wine section on Greekazon for great Agiorgitikos, like the one below:

https://www.greekazon.com/products/anemos-red

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The Orange Side of Wine

As the world of wine continues to evolve, our curiosity also continues to grow. The selections of varieties and new styles of wines are increasing at record levels that haven’t been seen before. One of those new styles of wines that are hitting the wine programs at many restaurants and wine bars are “Orange Wines”. But don’t let the term fool you, these wines are not made from oranges. (Phew!)

In fact, these are wines produced from white grapes. The production of orange wines dates back to thousands of years ago. The process here is that once the white grapes are pressed into the selected vat for fermentation, they leave the skins in as well. Normally, the skins are removed before fermentation for white wine production. When the skins are left in during the fermentation, it alters the color and texture of the wine. The wine begins to develop darker hues of color leaning towards a bruised apple or a tint of orange. At the same token, during fermentation, compounds are being extracted from the skins, which create richer and bolder textures.

The results of this process is that orange wines become fuller in flavor and composition. They express very unique flavors and textures. For those that have not tried one yet, we highly recommend expanding your palate and trying one. You should definitely take your time in letting the flavors develop on your palate and you should definitely have some salty and savory snacks to accompany the wine.

We provided a link to an orange wine that is being featured on our platform below for you to experience.

Koukos Winery Electra Orange Wine

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Drinking Responsibly

As we are all aware of the moral obligation to drink responsibly for the obvious reasons of safety to ourselves and others, it should also include the environment.  We rarely think of what impact do wineries and companies have on their ecosystem and community from their day-to-day operations.  Have you ever thought, as you’re sipping your favorite wine, if that winery is being environmentally responsible in their practices?  If not, then we definitely need to begin thinking this way.  You would think that a winery being an agricultural operation would be environmentally responsible by default.  But there is always that but!  Here are some questions to always keep in mind when thinking about environmentally responsible practices for wineries:

  • Are they using clean and renewable energy?
  • Are they using glass for their bottles?
  • Are their labels from recycled paper? Is there plastic in their labels?
  • What type of glue are they using for their label?
  • What type of corks are they using? If they are using natural corks, are they contributing to replanting cork trees?
  • What type of barrels are they using? New oak, old oak? Do they contribute to replanting oak trees?
  • Is their supply chain green? Short circuit distribution or large distribution 
  • Farm to table movement?
  • Do they use recycled cardboard? Regular cardboard? Wooden box? Is the wooden box chemically treated?
  • Do they recycle their leftover wine must to other operations to convert into a different product?
  • Is their machinery updated and efficient?  
  • Is their pay rate to their staff more than reasonable?
  • Do they offer jobs to locals in their community?
  • What is the ratio of their operation manual vs. automated?
  • Do they purchase supplies and materials from local vendors?

These are just some questions that come to mind when I think of being environmentally responsible from a winery standpoint.  I truly believe when you are aware of the wineries that make efforts to operate environmentally responsible, the better you will feel about the wine you are drinking. Here are some wines from our collection that are produced from environmentally sustainable practices. We highly recommend you try these, and we believe you will feel better about the wine and yourself from the first sip.

https://www.greekazon.com/products/alexakis-kotsifali-syrah

https://www.greekazon.com/products/skouras-moschofilero

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Off to a Clean Start

As we bid farewell to 2021, we welcome 2022 with as much optimism as possible. And as we continue to navigate our lives with all the challenges we are facing today, we at Greekazon & Greek Wine Club have decided to change directions in featuring and advocating for wines made from cleaner practices. After endless days of extensive research on the subject of wine production on a global scale, we have been astonished at some of the practices that are allowed today. We have made a promise to ourselves and to you that we will continue to make efforts to bring you wines from Greece that are made in the most natural way and with very minimal intervention. Our initiatives will include interviews from winemakers in Greece that are practicing organic and biodynamic farming along with sustainable practices. We will also feature monthly articles and social media posts on the education and awareness of better practices for wine production in Greece.

As we continue to make efforts to eat clean and make better choices for our meals, we should also take the same approach when it comes to wine. Greece is becoming a leading force in Europe’s wine industry by making huge efforts to produce cleaner wine. Now, just to clarify the term, clean wine, in simple terms it means wines that are produced with the least amount of chemicals and synthetics from farming to production.

We look forward to a better 2022 with all of you. Let’s raise our glasses and toast to #drinkingclean and #drinkinggreek!

Drink clean with us with the following wines!

Koukos Winery Electra Orange Wine

Mylonas “Naked Truth” Savatiano

Skouras Salto Moschofilero

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Greece is More Than Sparkling Seas

When we think of Greece, we think of sparkling blue waters and sun drenched beaches.  But when we think of sparkling wine, we never think of Greece, until recently.  I felt the timing was appropriate to write a piece about the new movement in sparkling wines in Greece as we approach the end of the year.  By default we gravitate to Champagne and Prosecco as the standard options for quality, but in the last ten years, Greece has been producing bubbles that will match up with any production.

Typically, sparkling wines can be produced from both white and red grapes.  When using red grapes for the production of sparkling wines, the skins are removed prior to fermentation.  Greece has so many versatile and diverse indigeneous grapes, that they can produce refreshing and crisp sparkling wines.  Greece’s transformation into producing high quality sparkling wines are a result of skillful and progressive winemakers such as Stelios Boutaris of Kir Yianni Estates and Yiannis Tselepos of Domaine Tselepos to name a few.  Stelios is using his estate grown red grape, Xinomavro to produce an amazing rosè sparkler called Akakies and Yiannis is using his estate grown white grape, Moschofilero to produce his refreshing sparkler called Amalia.  Both exceptional examples of well crafted and produced sparkling wines.  

Finally, sparkling wines have made their way to the table to pair with foods and not just be offered as a selection for toasting.  The structure of sparkling wines and the cuisine of many Greek dishes that incorporate olive oil, lemon, herbs, and spices make an amazing pairing.  

I highly recommend trying a few and your palate will thank you.  Stin Ygeia Sas! 

Fun Facts:
On a sparkling wine bottle if you see the terms:

– Blanc de Blanc – the wine was produced from 100% white grapes
– Blanc de Noir – the wine was produced with both white and red grapes

Get a bottle of Kir Yianni Akakies Rosé

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Wines for Thanksgiving Part 2

For those of us that are hosting this Thanksgiving, the challenges begin as to what to prepare and how many offerings are considered enough.  I feel for the most part we constantly over think and over deliver for the feast.  As we explore ideas and recipes for the big day, we are introduced to wonderful dishes beyond, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and classics.  Same goes for our wine selections for the big feast as well,  Chardonnays have dominated the table over the years as the proper pairing on Thanksgiving, but the field has opened up to a variety of wonderfully structured wines that will enhance turkey day.  On that note, I’d like to introduce three exquisite Greek wines that will really drive the balance of pairing.  

Our first offering will actually be a sparkling rosè from the region of Naoussa.  We don’t often think of bubbles when it comes to Thanksgiving, but it’s actually a great way to begin any experience or feast.  Sparkling wines wake up the taste buds, cleanse the palate, and stimulate flavors.  My recommendation would be Kir Yianni Estates ‘Akakies’ Sparkling Rosè. Ideal with salty appetizers, sharp cheeses, tiropitakia, and spanakopitakia.

Our next selection will be a dry rosè that is eloquently balanced to work with our appetizers and multiple dishes that will accompany the big bird.  Dry rosès are eventually becoming a preferred option rather than a trend.  Their structure, which consists of great fruit qualities along with adequate acidity and crispness, makes it ideal to pair with foods that are well seasoned and have good amounts of oils and fats.  My recommendation is Mylonas Winery Rosè, which is produced from Mandilaria & Malagousia, two indigenious Greek grapes that create wonders.

Lastly, I will be choosing a red wine over a white wine for our turkey.  This might be an unorthodox approach, but I’m all about the chemistry of how we are preparing our dishes.  A light bodied red wine with slightly sharp tannis can really drive home the pairing.  Poultry that is well seasoned and buttered sitting in a bed of root vegetables and fruits will pair wonderfully with a light bodied red wine.  My recommendation is Vaeni Winery Xinomavro. 

Enjoy these pairings and your feast.  Always keep exploring with wine, you never know what you might fall in love with.  Stin Ygeia Sas!

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Assyrtiko Beyond Santorini

Thanks to the popularity and familiarity of Santorini, Assyrtiko has become the most requested white wine coming from Greece. Lately, the demand has been constantly on the rise for Assyrtiko from Santorini that the pricing has been comparable to white Burgundy. The vibrant aromas and refreshing citrus flavors make Assyrtiko easy to fall in love with. As it makes its way onto many prestigious wine lists across the globe, it’s availability is becoming more and more limited. But thanks to a handful of progressive and forward thinking winemakers, such as the Mylonas family in Attiki and the Alexakis family in Crete, they have been planting and cultivating Assyrtiko to bring us an exceptional alternative to this wonderful grape from Santorini.

You can still experience vibrant aromas, citrus flavors, precise structure, and a clean finish in both of these selections. The only difference I find in Assyrtikos from outside of Santorini, is that they are not as ‘minerally’, which in my opinion is still just as good. And what makes these Assyrtikos even better, is that they are usually half the price of the selections from Santorini.

Test these wines for yourself and see how amazing they truly are.