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One of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, the first evidence of Greek wine dates about 6,500 years ago when wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, the wines of Greece were exported all around the Mediterranean basin and in Roman times, it was considered the best wine of the Empire. In the Medieval ages, wines in Greece from Crete, Monemvasia and other regions were exported to countries of northern Europe.
Wines in Greece today are highly connected to the Greek gastronomy. Almost every garden in the villages and greek islands has a vineyard and all taverns have house wine, produced by locals. Over the last years, there is a large effort to bottle and export Greek wine to various countries around the world.
All types of Greek wines (white, red and rose) are produced in the country and depending on the grape variety and the soil elements, the taste is different. Crete, Santorini, Nemea, Kefalonia, Patras, Naoussa, Paros and Samos are the most famous wine-producing regions in Greece. Here are the most popular grape varieties in Greece:
Information about different types of red wines in Greece: Agiorghitiko, Xinomavro, Mandilaria, and Mavrodaphne.
Agiorghitiko (the grape of Saint George) is a variety of wine native to Nemea Peloponnese, producing a soft, fruity wine.
Xinomavro (sour black) is mainly a variety of Naoussa, in the prefecture of Macedonia. This variety has great aging potential.
Mandilaria, mostly cultivated on the islands of Rhodes and Crete, gives very tannic wine, which is frequently blended with other grapes to soften the taste.
Mavrodaphne (black laurel) grows largely in the region of Patras Peloponnese. This is a very strong wine and it is mostly used in Holy Communion in Greece.
Information about different types of white wines in Greece: Assyrtiko, Athyri, Moschofilero, Robola, Roditis, and Savatiano.
Assyrtiko is mostly native to the island of Santorini and keeps its acidity as it ages.
Athyri was originally cultivated in Santorini but today it is also planted in Macedonia, Attica, and Rhodes. This is an ancient variety of wine and of lower acidity.
Moschofilero is a delicious variety planted in Matineia Peloponnese. Its wine has a crisp, sometimes sparkling style.
Robola is grown on the island of Kefalonia and has a smokey, mineral and lemony character.
Roditis is popular in Attica, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Peloponnese and gives elegant, light wine with citrus flavor.
Savatiano grows in the region of Attica. When cold fermentation is practiced, it gives a distinct fruity aroma. When fermented without cooling, it gives the famous wine Retsina.