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Column: Today's recommended wines don't have to be Greek to you

Red and white wines to complement Greek dishes
Greek wines column
Explore the delights of Italian Bardolino and Greek Moshofilero and Naoussa.

When asked what they think of Greek white wines, most wine drinkers will think of Retsina and will grimace! Retsina has the distinctive smell and taste of pine resin or Pinesol. And that is an acquired experience!

For something completely different, do yourself a big favour and select a bottle of 2020 Boutari Moshofilero ($18.99; 91points). Boutari was established in 1879 and it is one of the top wineries in Greece.

This is a lovely aromatic Greek white wine made from the indigenous Moshofilero grape from the Peloponnesus. It has a pale straw colour with a warm pink tinge. The Moshofilero releases an enchanting aroma of spring flowers showered with a few squeezes of citrus. This refreshing dry white wine is fresh and crisp with hints of ripe apple  along with grapefruit and lemon and concludes with an extended fruity finish.

It’s a perfect wine for seafood: calamari, Manhattan clam chowder, grilled octopus, ceviche, fish tacos… the possibilities are endless! And it sure doesn’t taste like Retsina. It’s instantly delicious!

Boutari also has a red wine made from indigenous Xinomavro grapes, Boutari 2018 Naoussa ($19.99; 89 points). It was first produced at the turn of the 20th Century and is now sporting the original label. If you want a red that is not created in a ripe and fruity style, Boutari Naoussa is your ‘cup of tea’!

The Naoussa displays a medium light terra cotta hue. Its aroma has multiple components: tea, beetroot, and tobacco with cherry and tomato, and cranberry and earthiness. It reminded me of drinking a Pinot Noir.

On the palate there’s a light body with lots of terroir along with touches of herbs and spice. The tannins are on the strong side for a wine with this light body. It’s definitely a food wine! When I tasted the Naoussa with a rack of lamb, the wine revealed its best character. It brightened up with more fruit than was evident tasting it solo!

Other than lamb, enjoy it with moussaka, beef souvlaki, or roast chicken with rosemary and oregano.

My final recommendation is the Monte del Fra 2019 Bardolino ($16.99; 90 points). Last week I highly recommended the Monte del Fra Custoza Superiore, a white with four indigenous grapes. Today’s Bardolino is also a blend of indigenous Italian grapes: 65 per cent Corvina, 30 per cent Rondinella, and five per cent Sangiovese, from 55-year-old vines. Bardolino is the less well-known neighbour of Valpolicella in the Veneto region of northeast Italy.

There’s a medium garnet colour in the glass, and on the nose expect black and red fruit with spice. Enjoy the juicy and crisp flavours of red and black cherries, kirsch, with medium-light tannins, a kiss of cinnamon and cloves, and a subtle-bitter finish.

The Monte del Fra Bardolino pairs well with pork tenderloin, tuna poke, or spaghetti alla puttanesca.

All of today’s Italian and Greek wines are available at BC Liquor Stores.

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