Take Note of Tradition and Innovation in Greek Wine

March 12, 2012

greek wine

There is so much to learn about concerning the diversity of Greek wine. Speaking with Yiannis Paraskevopoulos of Gaia Wines offered a great chance to learn more about how the combination of modern techniques and ancient history is producing exciting Greek wine. Though the traditional grapes used to make Greek wines, like Moschofilero for white wines and Agiorgitiko for reds, may sound unfamiliar, Paraskevopoulos maintains, "Most wine drinkers are fed up with yet another Cabernet or Chardonnay. It's time to taste something different, have the curiosity to explore new frontiers." (Incidentally, if you are looking for a great introduction to traditional Greek wines, Paraskevopoulos recommends starting with the aforementioned Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko as they are "crowd-pleasers."

And Greek wines are not just pleasing to drink, they also are fantastic wines to enjoy with a variety of cuisines. As Paraskevopoulos reminisces, "One of the most exciting moments pairing Greek wines was in Sydney with Japanese cuisine." And though when Paraskevopoulos travels the globe he drinks the local wines to broaden his experience and palate, he feels that there is one dish that demands a Greek wine: oysters. A bracing white wine made from the Assyrtiko grape on the island of Santorini alongside a plate of freshly-shucked oysters makes Paraskevopoulos feel "as if oysters were made for this wine." Not only does the Assyrtiko grape produce a fantastic wine for shellfish, the vines are unlike anything you've ever seen. Because of the extremely strong wines on the island, the vines are woven into a basket shape to protect the grapes from taking flight:

greek wine

The traditional and the innovative in Greek wines have converged with the emergence of Bordeaux-trained winemakers like Paraskevopoulos. But he, along with other foreign-trained winemakers, is not trying to make facsimiles of Bordeaux wines in Greece. "From day one," Paraskevopoulos explained, "we knew we would apply international wine techniques not to make copies but to bring forward proper [grape] varieties and tastes." To Paraskevopoulos the issue is not acquiring these tools but, rather, "How will you use these tools?" Tasting the wines of Gaia and other producers of high quality Greek wines shows a fascinating combination of respecting tradition and embracing innovation.

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Warren Bobrow's picture

Love this piece my friend. The picture of the man with his basket is brilliant. I'm THIRSTY..

Jameson Fink's picture


Thanks. If you check out the image source, there are some more great photos from Santorini.

Appreciate the kudos as always.



Nico Manessis's picture

Discover more on Greek wine @ www.greekwineworld.com

Kirstyn Kralovec's picture

I came to really appreciate Greek wines during the 16 months that I lived in western Crete. The availability here in the United States is very limited, but my preconceptions were happily blown away once I began tasting all the high-quality, interesting indigenous wines that were available at extremely reasonable prices in Greece. I miss them so!

Jameson Fink's picture


Thank you for your comment and perspective. I hope it becomes easier for you to find these wines; hopefully with more fans of Greek wines like yourself it will be!