Greek wine 101: Doug Frost breaks down his favorites

High-quality Greek wines are becoming more widely available in America.

Greek wines are relatively new to the American market, and with long names like Agiorgitiko and Moschofilero, they can be a little intimidating.

Doug Frost, one of three people in the world who holds the titles of master sommelier and master of wine, calls the arrival of Greek wines a genuine movement.

He says that Greece’s turmoil has taken a toll on the wine industry — but now there are finally high-quality wines, especially white wines, that can be bought at relatively low prices.

Despite Greece’s hot climate, Frost says that the grapes retain their acidic identity, allowing for crisp, citrusy wines — something he says California winemakers dream of.

We asked the master to break down some of the best ways to enjoy these wines.

Assyrtiko: This grape mainly grows on the island of Santorini and pairs well with foods like mussels and oysters.

“The jolt of acidity is kind of like lemon over your oysters,” Frost says.

He adds that there’s really nothing like this white wine. He begins to say it’s like a high-quality Chablis, but stops himself: “Even that is a silly comparison.”

Moschofilero: Don’t let the aromatic, floral smell trick you into thinking that this is a sweet wine. Frost recommends serving it as an opener to a meal with appetizers like veggies and simple seafood.

Malagousia: This is a fairly new wine, with aromas of peach and apricot. It’s citrusy and tangy and a bit richer in body. Frost recommends having it with grilled scallops and lobster.

Agiorgitiko: Since Greek wines are still relatively unknown in the U.S., Frost says Agiorgitiko is the one people understand the most. Its red cherry flavors make it comparable to a pinot noir. It pairs well with medium-bodied dishes like chicken and mushrooms.

Expert tip

Don’t dig deep into your wallets; Greek wines can be bought for $10-$20, which make them fun and easy to explore.

Where to go

Frost says Greek wines are still not the easiest to find at wine shops. In New York City, check out Loi restaurant on the Upper West Side. Maria Loi’s Greek restaurant offers an extensive list of wines from all over Greece.
   
Loi
208 W. 70th St.
212-875-8600
www.restaurantloi.com


Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant



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