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Wine varietals in Greece.

One of our friends said that most wine in Greece is white and sweet. Are there any descent red varietals available at reasonable prices? I guess we are too spoiled by Italy and the many great wines available.

Posted by
4535 posts

No offense, but your friend has no clue about Greek wines.

First, there are plenty of red wines from Greece.

Second, their white wines run the range from dry to sweet.

Retsina is the most famous type of Greek wine. It is white with a pine resin. Not sweet. It does have a unique flavor that some don't care for and might take some getting used to (it's by no means weird, just a slightly different taste and finish). If you don't like it, there will be plenty of others to choose from.

The good news is that wine is pretty cheap in Greece, so just try different things. Often it will be house wine and you may not even know much about what you are getting. But nicer restaurants will have a wine list to choose from.

Greek wines have definitely improved over the years. It used to be mostly just table wine but they are producing some very good wines now.

The other thing I highly recommend is tasting some liquors. Greek liquors are famous but other than ouzo not easily available in the US. Masticha is a sweet liquor made from the mastic gum plant only grown on one Greek island. Unique aroma and flavor. Tentura is a cinnamon and clove flavored liquor from Patras. They are typically drunk as after dinner drinks in small amounts. Ask your waiter for something after your dinner and they will probably be happy to have you try some things.

Posted by
3141 posts

My favorite red wine comes from the Nemea district of Pelopponnese ... it's full-bodied but not acid-y, and not over-soft as Merlot seems at times. Santorini has a well-regarded (an not cheap) white wine, with a lovely crisp citrusy aftertaste. I've been to Greece 11 times since 99, trip #12 coming up, almost always drink the taverna's "house wine." Greek wine is hearty, meant for consuming with food ... Greeks don't sit around and drink without eating, at least some Mezedes (Greek version of tapas, appetizers). Wherever you go, ask & try the local stuff. Only proviso, the Crete "house wines" in the reds tend toward the brownish hues, strong & w. edge. The bottled stuff from wine stores is smoother.

Posted by
5675 posts

I remember having very good wine in Greece and only had Retsina once or twice. It's odd to hear this comment about sweet wines as it seems to me like it is more typical to think that they only produce retsina. We would always get the house white or red. I remember Domestica being an alternative, but I had always thought that that meant house wine. :) I think we were clueless, but Greek wines have come along way since my first visit. I have bought Greek wine in the US. Here's an interesting website to give you some ideas.

We drank all our wine if Cafes and considered developing our skill in cafe sitting to be the most important part of our trip to Greece. I hope that you perfect your skill on your visit. You've probably been honing it in Italy. :) We shot for five different cafes a day minimum.


Posted by
1064 posts

We always buy the house wine at restaurants which are very cheap and usually good. We also buy local wine at markets. Many of the local wines are bottled in plastic bottles with screw-on caps. Don't let that scare you . . . we found many of them to be very good and you can't beat the prices . . . many under 3 euros for 1 liter!