Just as we dress seasonally, reflecting changes in the weather, we choose seasonal destinations for our vacations. The weather also determines our eating habits; as certain recipes are ideal for summer and others are better cooked in winter. And so, it also makes sense to choose our wine dependent on the season.
Although in simple terms ‘seasonal wine’ seems to focus on colour, with refreshing whites and rosés of spring/summer being exchanged for warmer reds in autumn/ winter; colour is in fact not the most significant factor when drinking seasonally. The texture and weight of the wine are what really counts; with crisp, fresh whites and light, fruitier reds headlining the warm summer months and the heavier whites and reds taking centre stage during the cold winter.
This brings us down to November, and towards the end of fall before winter begins. What better way to get you through the dreary cold months than a night in with some great food and delicious wine to match?
My own preferences during the cooler days are full-bodied reds, with tannins and higher alcohol levels, and full-bodied, oaked whites. Here I list five Greek wines that I prefer in winter and also recommend some food options that pair well with each bottle.
90% Syrah – 10% Agiorgitiko
Kapandriti – Athens
-The small area yield (approximately 250kg per acre) gives enormous condensation to all levels of wine.
-Intense and complex aromas of cherry, plum, vanilla, fig and chocolate.
-It has a rich flavour with balanced acidity and silky tannins while its finish is very long interspersed with notes of vanilla.
Pairs well with: Beef fillet, as well as with other red meats cooked on the grill.
-Merlot is usually fleshy and sweet. In the case of Kokkinomylos we find condensation, structure and the ability to evolve what few Greek merlots can give.
-The fruits of the forest predominate in a ripe version, the tannins are very soft, and its acidity gives freshness. The elements of the barrel give it aromatic complexity and a sense of vanilla, chocolate and sweet spices in the aftertaste.
Pairs well with: Braised beef, hare, or wild boar stew. Also a good choice with yellow-aged cheeses.
Mega Spileo (Grand Cave)
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
-A Cabernet Sauvignon could not be missing from this list. With an acre yield of fewer than 500 kilos per acre, one thought comes to mind: Condensation.
-The 24-month maturation in the barrel gives aromas of butter, spices, chocolate, caramel that in combination with the aromas of red fruits, eucalyptus, lavender and green pepper create a complex set of aromas and flavours that are characterised by intensity and exuberance.
Pairs well with: Roast pork or wild boar, as well as braised meat dishes.
-This is probably the first Greek chardonnay wine that matured in oak barrels somewhere in the early 1990s. Although its name refers to smoke due to the long stay in a barrel, the elements of oak are very distinctive.
-It has a rich flavor and creamy texture and in the mouth, there are constantly alternating flavors of tropical fruits, herbs, honey with discreet notes of vanilla.
Pairs well with: Fish, pasta in white sauces, as well as roast chicken.
-A Santorini wine could not be missing from the list. Tradition says that Nykteri is the wine that the sun does not see, as the harvest becomes night. In this case, the overripe grapes rest for 12 months in oak barrels creating a complex whole with a perfect structure.
-Sweet lemon, orange peel, dried peach, grapefruit, vanilla, toast, butter, and vanilla. The sharp acidity balances with the intense oiliness and all this in a background of sea air and intense minerality. An impressive wine that expresses a unique terroir.
Pairs well with: Lamb or goat in the oven, as well as with a thick piece of fish on the grill.