They operate in different wine areas of Greece (Goumenissa-Chloe Chatzivariti, Kavala-Thodoris Tsikrikonis, Thessaloniki-Argiris Gerovasiliou) and their wine making philosophy is significantly different. However, the new generation of Greek wine has something in common: they are experimental, innovative and ambitious. Here, they answer three questions for Oenosophy…
Tell us about the three best wines you’ve tried recently.
C.H – One that stands out is a 2016 Sklavos Estate Zakinthinos in a magnum bottle. I find this to be one of the best examples of the Greek vineyard. It’s a very balanced wine, with excellent acidity which gives it a vitality and body characterized by distinctive tannins. I didn’t want it to end!
Another one is a red 2016 Pithari from Afianes Estate on the island of Ikaria. It is a very unique wine—a Fokiano variety fermented in amphoras. It has a brick-red color and an intense nose that balances out the intense aromas to produce a very integrated result. Its body is well structured. A very distinctive and noteworthy wine.
Sainte Obeissance of Domaine de Kalathas 2016 on the island of Tinos. It’s a wine that caught my attention because of its color and very intense aromas. It’s a peculiar and unique wine. I like the curious!
T.T – The more wines I try, the more I add to my list of favorites! This is due to the admirable efforts of all my fellow wine producers in Greece. Greek wine has progressed tremendously, in my opinion!
If I must limit myself to three favorites I have tried recently, I would choose the following:
1 – Limnio Aslani 2017
2- Clos Stegasta Assyrtiko 2014
3- Mega Spileo Sauvignon Blanc 935 2019
A.G – At our New Year’s table this year, we had the special privilege of tasting some exceptional wines from my father’s personal wine collection. The ones that are truly unforgettable are a Marcassin Chardonnay, an outstanding Riesling from Rheingau and an aged red from Ktima Katsaros.
Could you recommend a few wines with an excellent value for money?
C.H – From our winery, I would recommend Mosaic (red and white), as well as Goumenissa. From other wineries, I would recommend Atma from Thimiopoulos, Nimbus Retinitis from Kamara Winery and the Robola from Sklavos.
T.T – Most Greek wines (with some exceptions) go for between 8€ and 12€ and, as such, have hit the value for money sweet spot. I think this is the recipe for all things, including wine. You have to offer an honest wine to people so that when a person drinks it, they’re left feeling that it’s worth the money! I could elaborate on many things. However, because I would leave some things out, I will say the following: There are many little gems from small wineries that focus on rare Greek varieties. There you will surely find value for money!
A.G – The ultimate value for money white wine, and perhaps one of the best wines in Greece in general, is Ovilos from Ktima Biblia Chora. To avoid being predictable, for a red wine I’ll choose one that’s not from one of our wineries—Ramnista from Ktima Kir-Yianni.
What is your opinion about the present and future of Greek winemaking?
C.H – I think Greek wines have taken huge steps in the last decade, as far as quality and marketing are concerned. Personally, I think that the economic crisis forced Greek wine producers to turn to exports and become part of world competition. There – in the international market – we learned that our basic strong point is our indigenous varieties. We must not forget that Greece has about 300 indigenous varieties, second only to Georgia. And so, we started turning toward quality and Greek varieties and toward a coordinated and collective attempt beyond our borders.
Disregarding the coronavirus crisis and the changes that it will bring about internationally, I think that Greek wine is currently in a very good place and is continuously on the rise, as it has attracted international interest. For the future I see that cooperation and friendly competition (not rivalry) can help us promote the Greek wine brand even more, so that at some point it will become synonymous with quality, as is true of French and Italian wines. Also, I believe that in order for us to have a sustainable expansion of the wine-production sector, the price of wines must be adaptable to the very small production that we have. I think it’s a mistake for small wineries to try to compete with Chilean wines, since this is an unequal battle. Greek wines must not be very low-priced, but always of a high quality, given that most Greek wineries are small, family wineries with very small agricultural cultivation.
T.T – I am a Greek wine believer! Even though presently it does not have the prestige it deserves in the international scene, I think that in the future, it will find its rightful place there, as long as correct steps are taken. Greek wineries can and must take their place in the international scene as boutique wineries, and Greek wine must be recognized as wine of high quality.
A.G – I belong to the generation of winemakers who will have to make the leap, and not just simple steps, towards the international recognition of Greek wines. The previous generation fought hard to successfully put Greece on the wine map. With a focus on our indigenous varieties and on high quality I believe we will achieve success.