Greece is producing wines that are more diverse than those from most wine producing countries. The sheer number of indigenous and international grape varieties grown in this country offers numerous aromatic and flavour profiles. This has been widely acknowledged to the point of now being common knowledge: the diversity of Greek wines is unique about them.
At the same time, Greek wines share an abundance of similarities. The likeness among them is a topic seldom discussed, however I believe that it is in the resemblance of their qualities where part of the deep soul of Greek wines lies. Agriculture has always played a major role in Greece, and viticulture has been interwoven with the Greek culture for thousands of years. Generations of families have made a living out of wine-growing.
Greek wines are usually characterised by moderate alcohol levels and being high in acidity. They are also distinctive in that they convey a sense of place. Finally, they are light to medium bodied and are never too heavy. Oenological practises highlight the fruit aromas, yielding wines that are refreshing.
This basis of Greek wines forms fertile ground for the diversity in their refinement, which results in this offering of plentiful wine variations. It also makes Greek wines the perfect food partners – a true trademark for this country’s wines: if one adds to that the notion of diversity that Greek wines offer, there is almost no limit to the food varieties that can be matched.
It is no surprise that the single largest buying group for importers in countries like the US or the Netherlands are in the gastronomy, namely restaurants. Yet the end-consumer does not really seem aware of the value proposition of Greek wines. Their ability to pair naturally so well with food is still grossly underrated.
I have no doubt that this will change dramatically in the near future. The millennial generation is eager to explore new wine regions, and they will sooner rather than later be on the lookout for exciting food and wine pairings. Greek wines over-deliver exactly in that aspect, and are very approachable in their pricing. There is real potential for Greek wines to become hip and word of mouth will convey the message that the Greek wine industry has not yet focused on marketing.