Red wines from Greece to savor
No, I don’t think it’s fear so much as ignorance, as a few readers have suggested, although it’s true that what separates those feelings can sometimes be a fine line.
“Being new to Greek reds, I find their names distracting complexity,” said Shweta of Michigan. And, referring to a Greek varietal, Bunk McNulty of Northampton, Mass., (A late alias derived from “Thread“, I hope) said:” Agiorghtiko doesn’t exactly come out of the American language. “
Perhaps, with an additional complication: Greek words must be transliterated from the Greek alphabet into the English alphabet. This does not happen consistently, so most Greek grapes have multiple spellings in English. Unlike Bunk McNulty, for example, I would use the spelling “agiorgitiko” which is preferred by the authoritative book “Wine grapes, rather than the alternative spelling “agiorghtiko”.
Here at Wine School, we are keenly aware of the subtle messages conveyed by words and language, and the discomfort that can arise when faced with something new. Wine is quite difficult and intimidating in any language. Add a different alphabet and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
This is to be expected, and it is a testament to the important role restaurants and sommeliers play in familiarizing the public with new and different wines. In my introductory article on Greek red wines, I alluded to the few opportunities to learn more about Greek wines, in part because few restaurants exist to play a significant educational role, just like the scarcity of German and Austrian restaurants does not help Americans feel more comfortable. with Germanic wines.
One wine, the grüner veltliner, is an exception to this notion. By the turn of the 21st century, grüner was virtually unknown to Americans, but it quickly became a popular restaurant wine. How did it happen? Sommeliers adopted it, transcending national borders. American restaurants have started serving it by the glass, with bartenders and waiters ready to reassure hesitant people at the table.
I don’t expect that to happen with the Greek reds. It will be a long journey with many small steps including the first one, just trying the wines because they have so much to offer. As usual, I have offered three bottles to drink in the past month.