The wines of Greece suffer from a stigma that relates to retsina—that not-entirely-pleasant mix of usually dry white wine and the resin of the pine tree. As you can imagine, the wine-making prowess of a country that’s been drinking the stuff for millennia has more to offer than that. One has to look no further than the wine lists at The Black Olive and Ouzo Bay to see more choices than ever.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID COLWELL. WINE COURTESY OF WINE WORKS.
Mitravelas Estate “Red on Black” Nemea 2010
$14, LAN Imports LLC
Located in the northeastern segment of the Peloponnese, Nemea is one of the oldest and largest wine-producing regions of Greece. Its vineyards are mentioned in Homer’s works and have endured ever since. This wine tastes of cherries, plums, a hint of black olive, and a dash of spice—and in a fresh, mid-weight package. Made from the Agiorgitiko grape, it’s as delicious and versatile as it is impossible to pronounce.
$22, Constantine Wines
The vines for this intriguing white wine are native to the island of Santorini, where they have been cultivated on the island’s volcanic slopes for more than 3,000 years. It is a thrillingly fresh, focused offering with flavors of Meyer lemons, sage, fleur de sel, and chalky minerals. It sings with fish or scallops, and is also the ticket for washing down fresh oysters or sipping with grilled veggies.
$11, The Country Vintner
This iteration of Agiorgitiko from the Semeli winery has an intense nose of plums, cherries, and sweet spices. It’s remarkably smooth and friendly, without coming off as heavy. And how can you beat the price? Switch this out for your usual weekday red and give it a whirl with pizza, burgers, or red-sauced pasta. It will turn the lowliest dinner into a feast fit for the gods.