Well maybe not the Granddaddy of them all, but maybe it’s fair to say that wine making in Europe can claim to have got going in this gorgeous, hot, and rocky country. These days money pumped in from the EU has revived what was a tough industry and the likes of Merlot and Chardonnay rub shoulders with the ancient local varieties. It’ll take some time for them to arrive on our shelves in the UK maybe, but they’re back, and they’re coming!
Greece, as anyone who’s been there on their holidays will tell you, is a very hot country in the summer. It’s also a magnificent looking place, with amazing rocky landscapes and some of the best beaches around the Med. So let’s throw all these things together. Great sunshine, altitude and coastal areas to cool the grapes down when the need it. Sounds pretty perfect for wine making, right?
There are a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, Greece is almost the exact opposite of the UK. We’ve got the rain and bugger all sun. Greece has the sun and bugger all rain. Drought can sometimes cause the vines to have a few problems, even during the off-season. Secondly, the bad bit about such mountainous terrain is it’s nearly impossible to use modern machines to pick the grapes. Time to strap the basket to your back and head off into the sunset with your clippers. It’s hard work, and it costs a lot of money in terms of labour. Your better wines from Greece will invariably cost a few quid cos of that.
One of the reasons I really wanted to do Assyrtiko this week was cos of the unique methods used on the wind swept holiday island of Santorini. But we’ll crack on with that tomorrow.
In the mean time…
Other Posts in NWTW Week 24: