I am very excited today as we have our first wine from Greece, a place famous for making wine centuries before the Romans planted the first vines in Burgundy. My early experience of Greek wines happened in my early twenties when I was skippering yachts in the Mediterranean. I have to say, it did not go well as it involved cheap bottles of Retsina – a wine infused with pine resin-- which, truth be told, was better used polishing the chrome railing on the boat than imbibing. Ouzo and kumquat brandy then became the mainstream grog on the ship’s manifest, the latter of which was brewed by monks on an island monastery. If you wanted any, you had to be totally covered up from head to toe, no matter the weather, so that you'd be allowed to enter the holy building. Somewhere there are pictures of me looking like a cross between Mother Teresa and a minotaur.
Our white wine today is from grapes grown in the shadow of Mt Olympus, known as the home of the gods, especially the father of all the gods, Zeus, who gazed down upon the Greeks and bestowed out mercurial justice to anyone looking for a golden fleece.
This fourth-generation winery at the base of the Olympian foothills seems to have pleased the gods and is producing some wonderful wines that are lightyears ahead of the Greek wines I tasted many years ago. This minerally Chardonnay, with notes of lemons and almond shells, is just delightful. It has some lovely rich notes similar to those you would find in Macon, Burgundy. Chardonnay is not a traditional grape for Greece but is getting more popular as people discover its wonderful expression in the Greek terroir. I would have this with a sheet pan roast chicken, Mediterranean style, with zucchini, olives, feta, roasted tomatoes, and red onions. Delicious and so easy. Check out this recipe for inspiration, and take a leaf out of the Durrells -- give Greece a go! I think you will be more than a little surprised.
Trouselle Santenay 2020 ($36)
We’re excited about the new vintage of this wonderful Pinot Noir from Trousselle. Last week we featured his Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, which was perfumed and elegant. His Santenay this week is from the southern-most appellation of the Côtes de Beaune, and is richer and more powerful. The 2020 is full of deep cherries and baking spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. It has a wonderful nose and character enough to be, for me, the perfect pairing to a good burger, or, if you want to be fancy, a lovely bit of duck. I did discover this great little charcuterie that makes truffled duck prosciutto, and I demolished a good amount with a glass of this and some aged Delice de Bourgogne cheese. Local lore says that Santenay is also home to the god of wine, Bacchus, so having two wines grown close to the dwellings of deities seems very auspicious and I will be consulting a local oracle to decipher a positive meaning from it.