by Markus Stolz


byMarkus Stolz
April 13, 2010, 6 Comments

I am being asked on a regular basis what wine to serve at different occasions. Most of the times, people look for general advice, rather than specific food and wine pairing combinations. In Greece, events are usually attended by a large number of people, as socialising is a big part of the Greek culture. I have kept the budget in mind at the following suggestions:

New Year’s Eve: Instead of Champagne, try some sparkling wines made from Athiri (Island of Rhodes), Debina (Zitsa), Moschofilero (Mantinia) or Xinomavro (Amyndeo). Fine examples from these wines are being made in the traditional method.

Easter: The Easter Sunday calls for red wines that accompany the roasted lamb dish! While many grape varieties are up to this task, for me, Xinomavro is the perfect partner.

Christening: Christenings are typically held during the spring and summer months, and take place late morning or early afternoon. Dry and crisp Greek rosé wines are a fine choice – and they keep surprising me in a very positive way.

Wedding: Weddings also happen mostly during the summer months, however, usually late afternoon is the chosen time for the ceremony. The celebration will follow in the evening hours. It is important to offer wines that are “mainstream” – for a white, I recommend Roditis, which pleases most palates with its high fruit level. For the red, my pick would be an unoaked Agiorgitiko: It is a perfect food companion for many dishes, and a real crowd pleaser. It is tradition for the groom and the bride to cut the wedding cake before dancing starts late at night. A demi-sec bottling of one of the sparkling wines mentioned earlier is in order!

Funeral: After the official ceremony, guests are offered strong coffee and Greek brandy. I am not going to argue with this combination, but I am quite interested what the tradition is in other countries.

Christmas: Go on, just treat yourself to some really top wines, and include at least one grape variety that you don’t know yet.

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  1. Viviane Bauquet Farre / Food & StyleApril 13, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Markus, this is brilliant. I am printing this post and will refer to it frequently. I have ALL Greek wines to discover!

  2. elloinosApril 13, 2010, 11:11 pm

    Viviane, thank you so much for your kind words, this means a lot to me. The post was written with a focus on the Greek community and I am truly delighted that it is of use to non-Greeks. I have to say that the consumers in the US are refreshingly open-minded in regards to wine and I am grateful for your support!

  3. Marnique DeswarteApril 14, 2010, 11:40 am

    Concerning the traditionals after a funeral in Belgium, I am pleased to give you some information.
    In my region, West-Vlaanderen, it is usual to invite the guests after the ceremony to go together with the family to a restaurant, in a private room.
    Family, nearest friends, neighbours and relations stay together for several hours.
    They start sometimes with coffee and brand or jenever (strong rink like tsikoudia, made from wheat)
    Afterwards they take a aperitif before taking a meal. This can be a hot meal or bread with all kind of meats and cheese. A lot of them drink beer, but a important part will drink wine with the hot meal. With the bread meal they mostly take soup and after it some alcoholic drinks. They end with coffee.
    The people who stays till the end, near family and friends will end with a few beers together.

  4. elloinosApril 14, 2010, 11:58 am

    Marnique, thank so much for sharing the belgian funeral traditions with us. I find it very interesting indeed that a private room at a restaurant is chosen after the official ceremony has ended. It sounds like the proper surrounding to seek comfort.

  5. Christina KroApril 14, 2010, 12:38 pm

    After coffee and brandy that is accompanied with some kind of cookies and/or rusks (koulourakia, paksimadia etc) tradition has it for family and close friends to eat fish and usually with fish soup. That can be at a restaurant or in the house of the deceased, depending on the number of people invited. In the villages, practically everyone may be invited. In any case, even within Greece traditions vary…
    PS: This is a rather awkward subject… Let’s drink to it!! :-)

  6. elloinosApril 14, 2010, 1:53 pm

    Christina, thank you for adding more details – I did not know about the fish soup, then again, thankfully I have not yet been to many funerals.