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.