“People do not remember days; they remember moments.” Wines, restaurants, aromas, moments and ideas, captured in journal form.
I recently visited Milos Restaurant in the center of Athens, just behind the Old Parliament. I just love Milos and there is more to that love than just the fact that it offers authentic, unadulterated Greek food, paired with top-notch Greek wines. What I like most is that it celebrates the simplicity, freshness and sincerity of the Greek cuisine, with no chef’s ego being imposed whatsoever. The raw material, mainly seafood and vegetables, is the real star. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the world’s first Milos Hotel and is part of the “Milos concept,” which presents Greek cuisine through restaurants in cities such as London, Montreal, Miami, New York, Las Vegas, Los Cabos and Dubai. We loved the oysters, the caviar, the raw fresh tuna and the salmon, while the grilled sea bass was just phenomenal. With the raw food and the starters, we enjoyed the bubbles of an Amalia Vintage by Ktima Tselepos, before switching to a powerful Domaine Costa Lazaridi Sémillon 2021. We’ll be back!
Thiseio is the place to be if you’re visiting Athens from abroad; ideally located near archaeological sites such as the Agora, Kerameikos and Pnyx Hill, and with plenty of cafés and restaurant terraces with jaw-dropping views of the Acropolis, the area surely deserves a visit. It has, however, become a little touristy, and it’s difficult to find quality-oriented wine places here. But there’s a brilliant exception called Caravin Wine Bar, where owners Leoni and Anna offer a great list of selected Greek wines, with a variety of foods considered classics: octopus carpaccio; moussakas; stuffed vine leaves; and more. We chose a Gentilini Robola from Kefalonia that was lemony, mineral and extremely mouthwatering.
What’s the status of the Domaine Sigalas legacy, after Paris Sigalas departed from the winery he founded? I recently had a great opportunity to revisit all their wines and I was pleasantly surprised! Santorini was as lemony and mineral as ever, Kavalieros was focused and precise, Mavrotragano was dense and powerful, their Vinsanto was luscious and exotic, and Apiliotis was still charming and compelling. I later met Paris Sigalas and asked him his opinion of his old Estate. “I think the wine culture we established is still there,” he responded, even as he offered me a glass of his new baby: an out-of-this-world Tria Ampelia Santorini 2021, from his new winery Oeno Π. Yes, life is good!
Seafood is the most popular Greek island food. But Greece also has a mainland, and there, and especially in Central Greece, lamb is king. Grilled or baked, lamb is very popular among Greeks for its deliciously meaty, savory and earthy flavors. So when we visited a village near Amfilochia in the west of Central Greece, we had some amazing kokoretsi, which is (hold your breath!) lamb intestines wrapped around seasoned offal consisting of sweetbreads, hearts and lungs. We chose Thymiopoulos Earth & Sky Naoussa 2020 to pair with the rustic and earthy flavors, and the pairing was classic! The pronounced acidity of Xinomavro refreshes the palate, while its structure and firm tannins work wonderfully with the protein. I never get bored of classics like this one!
Jerár: what a restaurant it is! Youthful, full of energy and clearly wine-oriented, it’s located in Dafni, a quiet neighborhood in the southern portion of the city center. While it offers an inspired wine list, we chose the BYOB option as part of a Spanish wine evening, with wines such as R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco 2015, Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5, and Ribera del Duero 2017… not bad! We enjoyed a little bit of many different flavors: a creamy tarama with smoked herb oil; their home-cured charcuterie hand-crafted in-house; a sophisticated and rich pâte en croûte made with free range pork; a foie gras, dry fruit, nuts and date purée; an umami-tasting beef tartare; and a velvety risotto Amarone with smoked chestnut, lard, red basil and red-wine pickled onion. The epic dinner ended with a lovely medovik (a Russian honey pie) with poppy seeds and ice cream. It was a delicious evening from start to finish!

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