With its roots dating back some 6,500 years, Greece is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world. Within the last few decades, the Greek Wine Region has gone through significant modernization, specifically the planting of international grape varietals. It wasn’t until the early 1970’s when Greece joined the European Union that its appellation laws were established. The AOSQ/OPAP is a designation for quality light wines, with 20 regions awarded this classification. The PGI wines, quite similar to Vin de Pays, are often blends of indigenous and international varietals. Many of these blends have found their way to the top of our Greek Wine Ratings. The AOC/OPE classification is specifically for liqueur wines with 8 regions holding this status.
There are three main wine regions within Greece, each housing a major appellation and a grape variety exclusive to that specific appellation. Northern Greece is home to the region of Macedonia, with Naoussa being the stand out appellation. The Xinomavro grape is used to make high acid and tannic wines quite similar to those of Italy’s Nebbiolo-based Barolo. Even though they are light in nature, they tend to be quite complex and unique. Peloponnese is responsible for about one third of all Greek wine production and is home to the Nemea appellation. According to our Greek Wine Reviews, these soft and fruity Agiorgitiko wines tend to be low in acid and can exhibit lush and spicy plum flavors. The last of the major Greek Wine Regions is the island of Santorini where dry and crisp white wines made from the Assyrtiko grape are renowned for their racy acidity and keen minerality. Below the AOSQ/OPAP and AOC/OPE classified wines are the PGI wines, which often are blends of local grapes with the addition of popular international varieties. Many of these blends hail from Crete, Greece’s biggest and most southern island. To find out more about the wines of Greece be sure to check out our Greek Wine Guide.
Sigalas sets the bar high for Assyrtiko as usual. This 2010 is a balance of rounded citrus, crisp sea salt and sparkling minerality. Delicious with grilled fish, fruit or alone on a hot day, this is an elegant gem of a white that represents some of the best of Greek wine offered today.— S.K. (9/1/2011)
This Merlot from one of Greece’s most exciting producers offers aromas of plum, black cherry and vanilla on the nose, followed by smooth, integrated flavors of black fruit, cinnamon, pepper and a spin of mint on the finish. Layered and elegant, with good acidity for food pairing.— S.K. (3/1/2014)
Blackberry, cherry and cedar start this rich, elegant red from Tselepos. On the palate, rounded flavors of cedar, vanilla, black berry and spice are well integrated and juicy. The wine finishes with touches of wood and smoke.— S.K. (9/1/2014)
Ripe white fruits, Turkish delight and spice lead this complex, aromatic Chardonnay. Balanced on the palate, with layers of peach, citrus and tropical fruit, this is buoyed by fresh acidity. Suitable for fuller-bodied meals, it’s also delicious on its own.— S.K. (9/1/2012)
Zesty lemon, minerals and sea salt on the nose lead into fresh, balanced citrus fruit and spice on the palate. Bracing, but offering attractive fruit body, the wine has poise and food-driven panache. An excellent example of what the variety can do. Pair with grilled seafood and poultry.— S.K. (9/1/2014)
Cinnamon, black cherry and spice aromas lead into cigarbox, leather, cedar and dried cherries on the palate in this balanced, integrated red. Distinctive but versatile, this is a classic wine that will pair well with lamb and beef.— S.K. (9/1/2014)
This appealing red starts with a nose bursting with exotic tobacco, cocoa and red berries, followed by a juicy palate of black fruit, cocoa and sweet smoke. The oak is obvious here, offering vanilla and spicy notes, but the round fruit character keeps the wine in check. Elegant and fun.— S.K. (3/1/2014)
Aromas of red fruit, vanilla and cigarbox start this Cabernet Sauvignon from Greece. Its flavors are rich but balanced—cinnamon, cedar, cherry and savory spice—and the wine finishes clean and dry. Elegant with ageable potential.— S.K. (3/1/2014)