More than 4,000 years ago, wine spread from the islands of Crete and Santorini to Greek colonies in the Balkans, Italy and, by 600 B.C., France and Spain. Greece’s most noted philosophers and poets regarded wine as a magical substance, and for the first time in history, it became an essential beverage full of ritualistic significance and central to the everyday diet. Given these foundations, it’s puzzling that contemporary Greek wines remain so unfamiliar, though if the following three bottles are any indication, perceptions may be about to change.
Santo Assyrtiko Volcanic Terroir, Santorini, 2016
Assyrtiko is Greece’s breakout white variety. This bottle is dry, clean and minerally, with soft touches of melon, honeysuckle and Meyer lemon. But it also has a bracing salty aftertaste, making it a great match with any dish involving feta cheese.
$24, Whole Foods, South End
Argyros Assyrtiko, Santorini, 2016
This medium-bodied assyrtiko has a lime, apple blossom and peach-like aroma, with hints of bay leaf and mint. On the palate it’s soft and creamy, with well-balanced spice. Gentle but crisp and firm, this bottle’s an outstanding choice with shrimp or scallops.
$21, Marty’s, Newton
Mylonas Savatiano, Attica, 2017
Located outside of Athens, this winery produces a savatiano with bright notes of apple and grapefruit. Dry and a bit chalky, this wine also shows traces of herb and vegetal characters. Its prominent fruitiness ups its appeal and it would be a delicious choice for smoked fish.
$15, The Cork Stop, North Andover
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.