Greek Whites Varietal Profiles
Assyrtiko is a multi-purpose variety which maintains its acidity as it ripens. It is similar in character to Riesling, and is mostly island-based, being a native variety of the island of Santorini where it’s planted on volcanic soil and produces wines with stunning aromatics, minerality and high acidity.
Athiri is a lower acid and alcohol variety and one of the most ancient. Originally from Santorini, it is now planted in Macedonia, Attica, and the Aegean islands.
Debina is a thoroughbred Greek white wine grape primarily grown on the hilltops of Zitsa region of Ioannina. Delicate, crispy and high in acidity, Debina lends itself to sparkling wine production.
Lagorthi is a well-known variety despite its fairly small planting. It produces a moderately aromatic wine with relatively low fruit and alcohol content. The variety is grown in only a few vineyards, mainly in northern Peloponnese and on some Ionian Islands.
Malagousia is a grape growing mainly in Macedonia, with a special aroma leading to elegant full-bodied wines, with medium-plus acidity and exciting perfumed aromas.
Moschofilero is a Blanc de gris variety from the region of Mantineia, in Arcadia in the Peloponnese. Its wines offer a crisp and floral character in both still and sparkling styles.
Robola is most grown in the mountainous vineyards of the Ionian Island of Cephalonia. It has a Smokey mineral and lemony character, excellently complementing seafood.
Roditis (the “pink” or “rose” grape) is a grape that is very popular in Attica, Macedonia, Thessaly, and the Peloponnese. This variety produces elegant, light white wines with citrus flavours.
Savatiano (the “Saturday” grape) is the predominant white grape in the region of Attica, where it displays excellent heat resistance and shows a distinct floral and fruity aroma when cold fermentation is practised. When fermented without cooling, it produces Retsina or rustic unresinated wines.
Greek Reds Varietal Profiles
Agiorgitiko (“St. George’s [grape]”) is a variety native to Nemea that grows mainly in the Peloponnese area, producing a soft, low acidity, fruity red in many styles. Its sensory attributes compare closely with merlot.
Kotsifali is mainly grown in the Heraklion regional unit of Crete and sporadically on the Cyclades. Single varietal wines bear all the hallmarks of traditional “Southern Mediterranean” wines: moderately red colour, relatively high in alcohol, with smooth tannins and soft acidity.
Limnio, or Kalambaki is an important red grape variety that is indigenous to the Aegean island of Lemnos and has been used in red wine production for more than 2000 years. As a varietal wine Limnio is full-bodied, high in alcohol and very herbaceous, with a distinctive taste of bay leaves.
Mandilaria, also known as amorgiano, is mainly cultivated on the islands of Rhodes and Crete. It produces sturdy wines with saturated colour and robust tannic qualities that require some ageing to temper their mild astringency. Typically, Mandilaria is ideally suited as the blending partner of the Kotsifali grape.
Mavrodaphne, or “black laurel”, is a variety that grows in the Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands. It is blended with the Black Corinth currant grape to produce a prized fortified dessert wine made in the Solera style.
Vertzami is a single-varietal wines produced on the Ionian island of Lefkada. Wines from Vertzami have an exceptionally dark and deep red colour, and possess significant aromatic intensity and a very particular aroma and taste profile of Eucalyptus and Cedar with notes of dark fruit and hints of oak.
Xinomavro (“sour black”) is the predominant grape variety in Macedonia, cantered on the town of Naoussa. This variety has great aging potential with a palate reminiscent of tomatoes and olives, and a rich tannic character. It is often compared to Nebbiolo.