90

2020 Found Moschofilero & Roditis, Peloponnese

( £8.50, 12% )

Part of an exciting new range of little known grape varieties from Marks & Spencer, most of which are at very reasonable prices, this is  a cuvée of Moschofilero with 20% Roditis from two separate vineyards in the Peloponnese peninsula. Winemaker Leonidas Nassiakos of Semeli has produced a tangy, scented, seafood friendly white with lime, lemongrass and wild herb flavours and a long, refreshing finish. Bring on the summer!

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Greece, White, Moschofilero, Roditis
92

2016 Ktima Foundi Xinomavro, Ramnista, Naoussa

( £14.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

Calling all Burgundy and Barolo drinkers in search of a bargain! Greek Xinomavro has become one of my go-to wine styles over the last year and this is a delicious example of its charms from a traditional producer. Benefiting from a few years in bottle before release, it’s pale, scented and enticing, with aromas of rose petal and rosemary, savoury red cherry and tobacco leaf flavours, sinewy tannins, understated wood and thrilling freshness and minerality.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
92

2019 Thymiopoulos Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes, Naoussa

( £10.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

Xinomavro is one of those grape varieties that ought to be wider known, but isn’t because it’s mostly confined to northern Greece. Crafted by the talented Apostolos Thymiopoulos, this example from Naoussa is way less toothsome than some examples, partly because it’s made with fruit from young vines. Peppery, spicy and scented, it’s like a cross between a Gamay and a Nebbiolo. with rose petal aromas, red cherry and raspberry fruit, tangy acidity, hints of liquorice and mint and a nip of underlying tannin. Ludicrously good value at only £10.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
94

2019 Argyros Estate Assyrtiko, Santorini

( £28, 14%, Bottle Apostle, Philglas & Swiggot, Tanners )

Oh to be sitting in a bar in Santorini drinking a glass of this amazing wine. But sipping it in London’s still a pleasure, reminding me of the lure of the Greek islands. Made from old, ungrafted bush vines grown on volcanic soils, it’s a stunning white from Matthew Argyros, demonstrating Assyrtiko’s classic combination of salty, briney aromatics, crunchy minerality and flavours of preserved lemons and wild herbs. Long, focused and beautifully balanced.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-24Similar Wines: £20-£30, 90-94, Greece, White, Assyrtiko

A Virtual Tour of Greece

by Peter Pharos
Let me invite you to a concert for the world’s smallest bouzouki. Rationally, I know full well that whining about not being able to travel in these circumstances is akin...
91

2017 Atlantis, Santorini

( £8, down from £12, 13%, Marks & Spencer )

Currently on a deal that has reduced its price by £4, this was worth buying at £12, but is especially so now. Made from Greece’s increasingly trendy Assyrtiko, with 5% each of Aidani and Athiri for company, this is a brilliant seafood white that’s crunchy, pithy and slightly salty, with lemon and lime zest fruit, an undertone of wild herbs and a long and very refreshing finish. If the summer ever starts again, drink a bottle outside in the sun. If not, imagine you’re on a Greek island. Drink young and well chilled.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-21Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Greece, White, Aidani, Assyrtiko, Athiri

In praise of Retsina

by Peter Pharos
An English acquaintance of a certain age, likes to bring up Nana Mouskouri every time we meet. He appears to find her not only an endless source of amusement, but...

Floral testimony

by Matt Walls
In the car park on my street there is a rose bush. Every so often when walking past I pause to cup one of the red flowers in my hand,...
90

2015 Gentilini Robola, Cephalonia

( £14, 13%, Oddbins )

Best known as the setting for Louis de Bernières’ novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Cephalonia also makes some very tasty wines from indigenous Greek grapes. This tangy, bright, wild herb-scented white, made from Robola, will delight lovers of fiction and non-fiction alike. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White

How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....