What are Greek grape varieties?
Greece is rich in over 300 indigenous grape varieties, some of which have been in use since ancient times. Internationally, this is seen as the trump card of Greek wine marketing. Fortunately, there is a trend to plant more native varieties. But much use is also made of international varieties, often in blends with their own varieties.
Agiorghitiko or Agiorgitiko
This Greek grape variety grows mainly in the wine region of Nemea, in the south of Greece. The blue grapes grow both on a plain and on slopes and therefore yield different types of wine. The wines can be recognized by their deep color, strength and complexity, soft tannins and a balanced acidity. In general, they can be kept for years.
The Aidini can be found mainly on the Cyclades, a group of 56 volcanic islands in the Aegean Sea. The group to which Santorini also belongs. The fertile soil, many hours of sunshine and location by the sea yield wines with a pleasant aroma and a slightly softer taste. The grape also blends well with other varieties, such as assyrtiko and athiri.
Anyone who has ever visited volcanic Santorini must undoubtedly have heard of this noble grape. But this popular white wine variety grows just as well in the northern and central parts of Greece. A relatively high acidity is typical of these wines.
One of the most popular grapes in the islands of the southern Aegean and Chaldikiki. Characteristic: fruity with lime aroma and not too sour. This wine variety is also used in some parts of Greece to make the typical Greek retsina. With us you will find it in combination with Aidani; in the form of a particularly fresh dessert wine.
Greco di tufo
It is not surprising that these wines are generally a bit spicier and more powerful. The white grapes grow in volcanic soil and in a fairly dry microclimate. Wine aficionados know this grape from the Naples area, but it was the Greeks who brought “the reddest of all white grapes” centuries ago. Meanwhile, the greco di tufo is fully revived in Greece. For example in the form of a fresh, fruity Rimpatrio.
This thousands of year old blue grape variety is named after the island of Limnos (or Lemnos). It appears that Aristotle was already drinking limnio wine. In blends, this variety gives just that little bit more spiciness, firmness and acidity.
Glad the Malagousia has been rediscovered. At the end of the last century, winemaker Gerovassiliou saved this quality white grape from extinction and since then Malagousia has grown into one of the most popular Greek wines. Characteristic of these wines: full, aromatic, fresh and a moderately high alcohol percentage. Favorite among wine connoisseurs worldwide.
As Santorini attracted more and more tourists, the Mavrotragano grape fields had to make way for hotels and apartments. Wine growers also increasingly opted for other varieties, such as assyrtiko, for financial reasons. Until the moment when this variety covered only 2 percent of the vineyards. Fortunately, this small grape variety with thick skins has been reclaiming terrain since the late 1990s. Mavrotragano produces bright red wines with rich, yet soft tannins. In blends, this type adds aromas of spices, stewed fruit and minerals, among other things.
Don’t be fooled by the meaning of mavroudi: “little black one”. Because this variety is brimming with aromas such as forest fruits and herbs. And brings a high acidity, robust tannins and a long aftertaste. In short: small, but powerful. In blends, mavroudi gives just a little more spice to the wine.
This rose-colored grape full of aroma grows mainly on the Peloponnese, the largest peninsula in Greece. The striking color ensures that the wines also have a light pink glow. The wine is generally floral and spicy, but above all wonderfully fresh.
The vidiano was almost extinct 25 years ago but is now reviving. The species grows mainly in Crete, but in other Greek regions such as Macedonia the grapes are also processed into delicious wines. Typical vidiano: full, a remarkably fresh acidity and diverse fruity aromas.
One of the most important Greek wine varieties. These “sour blacks” are mainly found on the northern Greek vineyards in the highlands. It doesn’t have its name for nothing, because the Xinomavro has a remarkable acidity. Due to their spicy character, the grapes are well suited for wood aging and they produce white and red wines that gain character when left aside. But very aromatic rosés are also made from this grape.
Discover the taste of Greece?
The special taste of Greek grapes comes back in our wines. Do you want to learn more about our Greece wines? Go and visit our blogs.