Greece is a country with a long and rich wine history, it is said that the origins of winemaking here date back 6,500 years. Between the mainland and the country’s numerous islands, many wine styles exist, made mostly from one of Greece’s 300 indigenous grape varieties.
During the 1960’s, Retsina became the national beverage and was associated with Greece and Greek wine worldwide. Retsina is a white or rose wine that derives part of its flavour from pine resin. A storage method from ancient times, pine resin was used to seal wine vessels, keeping air out and infusing the wine with resin aroma. The traditional grape for Retsina is Savatiano with Assyrtiko and Rhoditis sometimes blended in.
Assyrtiko is one of the most popular Greek white grape varieties. From the island of Santorini with volcanic soils, it does not lose its acidity as it ripens. It is sometimes compared to Riesling but with a saline character.
Notable red varieties from Greece include full bodied and fruity Agiorghitiko, Macedonia’s savory and tannic Xinomavro, and Mavrodaphne, used commonly to produce fortified wine in the Peloponnese.