France, Italy, Australia, the U.S.: these are just a few countries represented in the wine aisle of your local wine store. But lately when I'm looking for an interesting new white wine, I look to Greece. While historically Greece has made some pretty mediocre wine, Greek winemakers have stepped up their game and are turning to both indigenous and international varietals to produce high-quality wines. (The climate is the main reason: 300 days of sun, varied soils, and the proximity to the sea--in Greece you’re never more than two hours from the water--are a grape's paradise.)
International varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, are being grown alongside the indigenous varietals like Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Agiorgitiko, and Mavrodaphne. It's the indigenous varietals that are the most interesting; grapes that are found only in Greece produce fabulous, food-friendly wines. Many winemakers have devoted their efforts to dessert wines, producing late harvest wines as well as fortified wines, which are some of the best in the world. There are 300 wineries in ten wine regions. My favorite wine from Greece is the fragrant, medium-bodied Moschofilero, a fragrant, lively white that is fantastic with seafood and Greek food, of course.
The most well-known Greek producers include Boutari, Evharis, Tsantali, Gaia Estate, Sigalas, Porto Carras, and Xerolithia, and a good wine store should be able to help you find at least one of these, and the online wine store wine.com carries a few as well. Three smaller producers are worth seeking out: Biblia Chora is a small winery producing organic wines in Macedonia while Katogi Strofilia produces excellent reds, whites, and rosé, and Alpha Estate is making some tasty reds. Prices for Greek wines usually start around $14, so give the big boys of France, Italy, etc. a break and try something from Greece instead.