Greek food is celebrated for a variety of ingredients as unique as the islands that make up this Mediterranean country. Each island is has its own twist on food, and just like the dishes, there are delicious native grape varieties that pair perfectly.
How to Pair Greek Food
by Matthew Lorman
Greek food is celebrated for a variety of ingredients as unique as the islands that make up this Mediterranean country. Each island has its own twist on food, and just like the dishes, there are delicious native grape varieties that pair perfectly. Join me as we go island hopping through Greece one grape at a time, and learn about what makes these wine and food pairings so much fun! Ya mas!
First up on our tour of the Greek Islands is Nemea. Nemea is known for producing delicious wines from the Agiorgitiko grape. This is the most widely-planted red grape in Greece, and benefits greatly from the rich soil and diverse climate. It produces wines with flavors of fresh berries, plum, baking species, and black pepper. The medium to full-bodied wines are excellent paired with loukaniko (a Greek country-style sausage), grilled lamb chops, and chicken souvlaki.
Up next we will hop over to the beautiful island of Santorini, known for its picturesque cliff top villages, beautiful sunsets, and most importantly: delicious wine. Assyrtiko reigns supreme in Santorini and makes terroir-driven white wines that express notes of passion fruit, flinty minerality, and bright citrus. Santorini is a very dry island with lots of volcanic soil making it the perfect climate for this grape to make concentrated wines that pair well with a range of Greek dishes. See for yourself and try it with fried halloumi cheese, or cucumber, tomato, and feta salad. The bright acidity and freshness of the wine complement salty cheeses.
Moscofilero calls the Peloponnese region home and is found widely throughout the rest of Greece. Moscofilero is an aromatic white grape that makes wines with a floral bouquet and flavors of citrus and melon. A variety of dry, sweet, and sparkling wines can be made from this variety. However, the dry styles are most commonly found here in the U.S. Try these wines with dishes such as fried calamari, grilled fish, and Greek Salad.
If you’re a fan of Nebbiolo and all of the delicious Italian wines that it produces, this next wine is for you. Xinomavro, most commonly grown in Naoussa, makes pale-colored wines that pack a punch. Flavors of strawberry and raspberry mingle with notes of tobacco, rose petals, and spice making for a very food-friendly wine. Try pairing this wine with Greek classics like dolmadakia and lamb koftas. Alternatively, pair Xinomavro with anything you would normally pair a Nebbiolo with. Creamy risotto and grilled ribeye steak are always great options!
We will finish our tour on the island of Crete. The Liatiko grape is planted in the higher elevation site where it thrives in cooler climates. This light body wine displays aromas of red fruit and baking spices. These wines are fun to drink on their own, and can even handle a slight chill. For a fun pairing, match Liatiko with spanakopita, revithada (traditional baked chickpeas), or braised lamb.
Are you ready to start your own tasting adventure? Check out our online shop for all of your Greek wine needs. Happy tasting!