Greek Wine 101: A Guide To Varieties, Pairings And Exciting Regions

Kamal Kouiri certainly knows his Greek wine. As wine director and general manager of New York City's famed Molyvos for over a decade, he has put together a list compiling over 400 bottles from 60 grape varietals, representing over 50 of the country's wineries. Wine Enthusiast has recognized the restaurant as one of the city's five best wine bars and bestowed Kamal with an Award of Unique Distinction.

You don't have to be well-versed in Greek wine to enjoy it. By keeping in mind a few simple suggestions to test the waters, you can be on your way to being a full-on Greek-wine enthusiast in no time! I love turning people on to Greek wine. One of the reasons I travel to Greece so frequently is to "hunt down" and discover the most unique and high-quality wines from all over Greece and serve them to our guests at Molyvos. I like to think of our wine list as a passport to Greece: Each region has its own unique terroir, distinct qualities and Greek soul that shine through each sip.

First, a little background. The country has been producing wine since ancient times, and it's always been a consistent staple at any meal, consumed daily. Greek wines were meant to be enjoyed with food — it's the Greek way. Over the last 15 years, the Greek wine industry has seen tremendous improvement with the modern techniques of viticulture, a focus on indigenous grape varieties and the management of vineyards. The vinification process has also seen tremendous improvement in new and upcoming young winemakers who chose to study all over the world before bringing their skills back home to Greece. This has resulted in an increase of great and consistent wines.

Although Greek wine is still relatively unknown, we're noticing a change in how it's being received by our guests at Molyvos and in its availability, as more and more local wine shops are carrying Greek wines in their stores and non-Greek restaurants are offering small selections from some of the bigger producers. Travelers also help put popular destinations like Santorini and Crete on the map, establishing a familiarity with the old wine regions. In addition, the Mediterranean diet — often named one of the healthiest in the world — has been receiving a lot of praise, in relation not only to the foods consumed but also to the overall stress-free lifestyle, which embraces strong familial ties and friendships, exercise and the enjoyment of food, wine and celebration.

Now, when you look at a Greek wine list, it can seem intimidating. We try to offer something for every palate, whether it's your first time trying Greek wine or you're into finding something truly unique and obscure. Here's what you need to know to order something you'll like.

Red WineWhite Wine

Wine Regions