- Greek wine
Greeceis one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago [ [http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/03/16/oldgrapes_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070316120000 Ancient Mashed Grapes Found in Greece] Discovery News.] [ [http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=361797&sid=FTP Mashed grapes find re-write history of wine] Zeenews] where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean; Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasiaand other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe. Modern Greek wines now compete in the international market once more.
The origins of
wine-making in Greece go back 6,500 years [ [http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/03/16/oldgrapes_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070316120000&dcitc=w19-502-ak-0000 6,500 year old Mashed Grapes Found in Greece] . Discovery News.] [ [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146412958&mode=thread&order=06500 6,500 year old Mashed grapes found] World’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes] and evidence suggesting wine production confirm that Greece is home to the second oldest known grapewine remnants discovered in the world [ [http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=361797&sid=FTP Mashed grapes find re-write history of wine] Zeenews] [ [http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/03/16/oldgrapes_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070316120000&dcitc=w19-502-ak-0000 6,500 year old Mashed Grapes Found in Greece] . Discovery News.] [ [http://www.dailyindia.com/show/126225.php/Mashed-grapes-find-in-Greece-could-re-write-history-of-wine 6500 year old Mashed grapes found] ] and the world’s earliest evidence of crushedgrapes. [ [http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/03/16/oldgrapes_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070316120000&dcitc=w19-502-ak-0000 6,500 year old Mashed Grapes Found in Greece] . Discovery News.] The spread of Greek civilizationand their worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, spread Dionysian cults throughout the Mediterraneanareas during the period of 1600 BC to the year 0.Introduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.] Hippocratesused wine for medicinalpurposes and readily prescribed it.Introduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.] Greek wines and their varieties were well known and traded throughout the MediterraneanIntroduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p.84 ] . The Ancient Greeks introduced vines such as Vitis viniferaIntroduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.] and made wine in their numerous colonies in Italy,The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Brian Murray Fagan, 1996 Oxford Univ Pr, p. 757.] Sicily,Wine: A Scientific Exploration, Merton Sandler, Roger Pinder, CRC Press, p. 66.] southern France, Medieval France: an encyclopedia, William Westcott Kibler, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, p. 964.] and Spain.Introduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.] The Vitis vinifera grape which thrives in temperate climatesnear coastal areas with mild winters and dry summers adapted well and flourished in the NorthernMediterranean areas.Introduction to Wine Laboratory Practices and Procedures, Jean L. Jacobson, Springer, p. 84.] Classical Greek literature tells of the wines that were most highly prized, while archaeological studies of the amphorasin which wine was transported tell us of the wines that were most widely marketed. These two sources of information are sometimes in conflict.
The most reputable wines of ancient Greece were Chian, Coan, Corcyraean, Cretan, Euboean, Lesbian, Leucadian, Mendaean, Peparethan wine, Rhodian and Thasian. Two other names may or may not be regional:
Bibline wineand Pramnian wineare named in the earliest Greek poetry, but without any reliable geographical details.
Literature and trading records from medieval and early modern Europe, from the 13th to 16th centuries, list several major wines from Greece. They include
Malmsey, exported from Monemvasia; Rumney, exported from Methoni; and Cretan and Candy wines from Crete. The Wine Greek named in English and other sources did not come from Greece; it was produced in southern Italy in imitation of the strong, sweet wines for which Greece was best known.
In 1937, a Wine Institute was established by the Ministry of Agriculture . However, wars, demographic shifts, economic problems, and other conditions retarded the development of the modern wine industry until the 1950s. During the 1960s,
retsina, which had never been a defining part of the Greek wine culture, suddenly became the national beverage. With rapidly growing tourism, retsina became associated worldwide with Greece and Greek wine. However, many in government and the industry realized that the future to a successful industry lay elsewhere. Greece’s first Cabernet Sauvignonvineyard was planted in 1963. In 1966, a winerywas established which was devoted to producing export-quality wines. In 1971 and 1972, legislation established appellation laws. A quality wine revolution occurred during the decade. During the 1960s and 1970s, a group of large producers came to dominate the industry and struggle with each other for market share.
Modern appellations and regions
A system of
appellations was implemented to assure consumers the origins of their wine purchases. The appellation system categorizes wines as:
* Appellations of Origin of Superior Quality
* Controlled Appellations of Origin
The main wine growing regions of contemporary Greece are:
Cretan wines: Peza, Archanes, Dafnes, Sitia
Wine Varieties in Greece
*Agiorghitiko, meaning St.George's, is a variety that grows mainly in the
Peloponnesearea, producing a soft, sometimes fruity red in many styles.
*Xinomavro, meaning "acid black" is the predominant grape variety in the
Macedoniaarea in the North of Greece. This variety has great aging potential with rich tannic character. It is often compared to Nebbiolo.
*Mandelaria, also know as amorgiano, is mainly cultivated on the islands of Rhodes and Crete. Wine from this grape is often very tannic and frequently blended with other grapes to soften the mouthfeel.
*Mavrodaphne, or "black laurel", is a variety that grows in the Peloponnese and the
Ionian Islands. It is blended with the Korinthiaki grape to produce a fortified dessert wine.
*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.
*Athiri is a lower acid variety and one of the most ancient. Originally from
Santorini, it is now planted in Macedonia, Attica, and Rhodes.
*Lagorthi is a variety mainly cultivated on high slopes (850 meters) in the Peloponnese. The grape produces a very malic and fruity wine.
*Malagousia is a grape growing mainly in Macedonia, with an special aroma leading to elegant full bodied wines, with medium-plus acidity and exciting perfumed aromas.
*Moschofilero is a variety from the
AOCregion of Mantinia, in the Peloponnese. Its wines offer a crisp and floral character.
*Robola is most grown in the mountainous vineyards of the Ionian Island of
Cephalonia. It has a smokey mineral character.
*Roditis is a grape that is very popular in Attica, Macedonia,
Thessaly, and the Peloponnese. This variety produces elegant, light white wines with citrus flavors.
*Savatiano is the predominant white grape in the region of Attica, where it displays excellent heat resistance and shows a distinct floral and fruity aroma. [Shara Hall, Lisa, Guide to Greek Wine, "Epikouria Magazine", Spring/Summer 2006, "]
The Greek wine industry faces a number of challenges. They include declining domestic consumption of wine, increasing competition in the international market, and a need to increase exports. It faces difficulty in competing economically with large New World producers and with well-known grape varieties that are popular with international consumers. On the other hand, such consumers are unfamiliar with the hundreds of indigenous Greek grapes. In addition, artisanal producers anywhere in the world tend to lack economies of scale and brand recognition. However, many observers believe that Greece will become successful in promoting its unique varietals in an international niche market of upscale consumers.
* [http://www.santorini-wine.com/start.html Greek On Line Retailer with a lot of info]
* [http://www.globalwinespirits.com/cgi/en/browse.wine.country/GREECE-c_c.html Greek Wine Catalog]
*Harvard reference | Surname=Dalby | Given=Andrew | Title=Food in the ancient world from A to Z | Publisher=Routledge | Place=London, New York | Year=2003 | ISBN=0415232597
*Harvard reference | Surname=Dalby | Given=Andrew | Title=Siren Feasts | Publisher=Routledge | Place=London, New York | Year=1996 | ISBN=0415116201 (Paperback ISBN 0-415-15657-2)
*Harvard reference | Surname=Lambert-Gócs | Given=Miles | Title=The Wines of Greece | Publisher=Faber | Place=London | Year=1990 | ISBN=0571153887
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