Greek Island Wine – Taste the Place
Living on the island of Paros I drink a lot of Greek island wine, yet I am not a connoisseur. I am an imbiber. I drink what is available at the time and place. Just as Greek light and air have influenced art since the dawn of civilization so do the atmosphere and sun at our local taverna influence the taste of the wine before us.
All restaurants and tavernas on the islands serve an “open” or barrel wine at usually a very low price –sometimes the price is so low I double the tip out of guilt. The best part is that it is almost always excellent in flavor.
I always try the local offering and am only rarely disappointed. When sitting on a shaded veranda with the sound of the sea lapping against the sand and either the villa-clad hills or open sea in the background it would have to be a very bad wine to take away from the sense of well being. Though, I have found that when the Greek male host is especially boastful of his own wine it tends to not be to my liking, usually because it is too sweet.
While some of this open wine may come from the proprietors home stock, most comes from a large plastic jug and is produced at a central island winery. Each island tends to specialize in a different variety. Santorini produces mostly wh produces mostly white wine using the Assyrtiko grape that was originally cultivated there and now is grown all over Greece. Paros is famous for the quality of its Mandelaria red grape. The white variety most grown here is Monemvasia; both are ideally suited for Parian climate and soil.
Perhaps when comparing the world market including France, California, & Australia then wines from Greece would not sell well on the High Street wine shop shelves. Yet when in Greece at one of the many “fine dining” restaurants enjoying the well-cooked lamb or the octopus, would it not be a sacrilege to order a wine from Germany, for instance? There are many quality bottled Greek wines. Here on Paros we have the Moraitas family-run winery producing superb hand-crafted wines for that special occasion. --See our review below. The Agricultural Union also produces several popular wines in the mid to low price range.
My recommendation, whether you are a wine connoisseur or just an imbiber like me, is to make your next winery tour on the Greek islands. Come to Paros and I will show you my favourite taverna at Palm Beach, where you forget life’s problems regardless of what you are drinking.
In October 2006 we have been having heavy rain and wind the last couple days.
Just before it started Karin and I discovered an excellent place to weather the
storm, the Moraitis Winery.
The winery has an excellent reputation on Paros but like Greece wines in general it is not known much elsewhere. In fact I was quite surprised at its large size and extensive storage. We have been in many Oregon and California wineries that are smaller. The photos will convey this better than my words. There is a large central vault/hallway with numerous smaller vaults to each side; right for bottles, left for barrels.
We regularly drink their reds so took advantage of the tasting room to try their premium white and a rose'. Both are made from a Monemvasia-Asyrtiko blend. We found them excellent--certainly better than what we normally drink. The white had great character and depth; the rose' had a berry fruit taste without being too sweet. They also produce red and white from organically grown grapes. The organic red is actually my favourite of them all.
The winery is not only open most days for tastings and tours it has a large
tasting room with a grand piano and an audio-visual room for presentations. So
it is available for meetings and conferences, that is social and cultural
The tasting rooms and storage facilities also serve as an excellent museum of by-gone wine and ouzo production. Karin did her usual job of many excellent photos. I had to severely limit what was included here to just convey the winery and not the museum.
Originally posted here in our Paros Paradise blog
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More Travel Thoughts:
Another great region for tasting the place is Andalucia. See Andalucia Guide for everything to do with Andalucía, Spain: Islamic Art and Architecture of Moorish Spain and created wonders such as the Alhambra in Granada and the Cordoba Mosque.
Of course no wine education is complete without a pilgrimage to France. France Travel Info is an attractive and informative site that is fun to browse.
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