Wine has been blamed for almost every bad decision-making process throughout history.
Really, think about it. Helen going to Troy, Caesar crossing the Rubicon…
Wine has most certainly played a part either in the pre, or post decision making of these earth shattering events.
Enjoying a glass of good wine can release the appropriate chemistry to think of the unthinkable and all of the “why nots?” that make them look like good ideas.
And well then, if it all happens to go south, the wine will be there to make you relax enough to give it another try, or to devise a new plan.
Trust me, in Greece we know our wine.
Dionysus, the god of winemaking, harvest, theatre, joy, fertility and some very mystical rituals, inherited all his attributes from the benefits that wine offered to ancient Greeks through its colours and tastes in a time when, as similarly to now, wine accompanied all major meals and parties.
Wine was, as it is today.
Covering the needs of both party-goers and home-bodies, wine is a lubricant at social events that works equally as well whether one wants to attend, or whether one would prefer to stay home watching a TV show (a glass of white wine would be my choice).
The Greek climate with its sunshine, low average rainfall and fertile soil helps some 300 grape varieties (some of them dating way back) to grow strong and healthily.
Winemaking from Greece’s fertile lands dates back to over 4,000 years, with some of the currently most popular producing regions being Aegean Islands (namely Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Lemnos, Samos), the Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Sterea Ellada, Epirus, Thessalia and Macedonia, more or less everywhere.
So, without further delay, I introduce you to the six best varieties and the top five wine bars in Athens according to my personal experience and research!
Top six Greek wine varieties:
- Agiogirtiko- (or Mavro Nemeas or Saint-George) coming from Peloponnese, known for its rich aroma and deep colour. This red wine grape is considered to be one of the country’s oldest varieties.
- Assyrtiko- originally coming from the island of Santorini. It is one of the finest white grapes variety.
- Malagousia- the wine producer Gerovasiliou, was the first who realised the potential of this white wine grape variety and the first to start experimenting with it. Malagousia is highly aromatic.
- Moschofilero- known for its floral aroma with hints of spices.
- Xinomavro- the predominant grape variety in Macedonia, is known for its complex aromas.
- Rhoditis- very popular in Attika, Peloponnese, Thessalia and Macedonia. Rhoditis is a rose coloured grape with an elegant and light taste.
Top five wine bars in Athens (yes, the places where you can find many of the above labels!)
A wine bar that satisfies those seeking good Greek wine.
You can choose between the 20 different labels of Malagousia and Agiorgitiko, and you can accompany your wine with cheese and cold cuts from local producers.
Moreover, every Monday, Greek winemakers present their respective varieties, and you have the opportunity to join in with some wine tasting.
I have to stress also, the wonderful atmosphere of this place.
A: 2 Fokionos street & 30 Petraki 30, Athens centre
♥By the glass
By the Glass stands out because of its location and because it owns a system which maintains open wine bottles, a system that allows you to choose the exact portion you want if you prefer to buy by the glass.
Its wine list includes over 200 labels, and it keeps changing, whilst the environment is truly amazing.
A: 3 G. Souri street & Filelinon, Stoa Ralli
♥Fabrica di Vino
More than 350 labels of mostly Greek varieties are waiting for you to taste in this industrial style bar, with a vintage secret room.
Tapas and other bites on the delicious menu are designed to accompany your wine perfectly!
A: 3 E. Benaki street, Athens centre
Vintage Bar creates the ideal atmosphere, and serves by the glass almost 100 labels from Greek varieties.
The vintage style bar, as its name suggests, is located in a historic building.
A: 66-68 Mitropoleos street, at the centre of Athens.
♥Kiki de Grèce
Ipitou Street’s sidewalk is home to the cute wine bar Kiki de Grece, which loves Greek wine and serves it the best way it can!
A: 38 Ipitou & Voulis street, Syntagma
Lastly, I would like to suggest a few wines that I personally love: Biblia Chora, Lemnia Gi and Malagousia.
“IS IG-I-AN” – Greek Toast to “Good Health!”
Photos of the heroes of the 1821 Revolution adorn major street in Athens