Wines, restaurants, aromas, moments and ideas, captured in a journal.

They say the restaurant Pharaoh is for an alternative audience. They say Pharaoh is a bit trendy. They say Pharaoh is all about “natural wines”. Well, I just went with friends and – whatever Pharaoh is – we had a phenomenal time! Just a five-minute walk from the National Archaeological Museum, this fun restaurant serves authentic Greek cuisine, heavily slanted towards Crete, cooked over wood, as in a traditional Cretan village. They don’t do international cuisine, only real Greek. Music is only from vinyl and later in the evening the DJ got a bit louder, creating a party atmosphere. The friendly and knowledgeable sommelier helped us select a fine Malagousia from Anatolikos Vineyards in Thrace, northern Greece. I loved its texture and the ability it had to complement both seafood and meat; the food, by the way, was all extremely tasty and well-prepared. Many reasons to come back!

“I don’t like retsina.” Well, that’s just so “last year”! Have you tried the new Rezine Wild Ferment 2303 NV Retsina? You’ll be blown away! Beautiful aromas of mastic, pine forest, mint, lemon and green apple offer a very delicate nose, while the refreshing acidity and medium body makes an ideal pairing with small fried fish (such as sar- dines), fried calamari, fried cod and nearly any other Greek-style meze. Handcrafted in smaller quantities from that legend of retsina production, Malamatina, this wine is made from Savatiano, the classic retsina grape. Spontaneous fermentation in oval-shaped concrete tanks and maceration on lees for three months produces something that’s highly recommended. It does cost more than the usual mass-produced retsinas, but that’s to be expected.

Visiting Monemvasia on the southeastern edge of the Peloponnese is always a pleasure. The fortified town was founded in the sixth century, and has been continual- ly-inhabited since then. The thick town walls and many Byzantine churches reflect the past and add to the atmosphere. In medieval times, the local wine, Malvasia, was one of the most important products of the area, with a trans-continental out- reach, making Monemvasia one of the most important commercial centers in the eastern Mediterranean. The Tsimbidi family has given Malvasia wine back to Greece and the rest of the world, working hard with the authorities to re-establish it as a protected, PDO wine (PDO Monemvasia – Malvasia). We visited their new winery and had a blast! Thanks to the Tsimbidi family, we now know what that famed medieval sweet wine tasted like (it’s delicious!); they also produce a range of dry white, rosé and red wines from local varieties such as Kydonitsa, Monemvasia and Asproudes.

Δείτε Επίσης

My friends and I organized a private event at Metropolitan Foods, a premium food importer in Greece. Our menu was very special: burrata with cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and pepper jam; bruschetta with guineafowl breast and kimchi mayonnaise; tuna tartare; Wagyu carpaccio; quail breast with Japanese rice and eggplant; and Pluma Iberico. We paired them with equally impressive international wines: Cloudy Bay Sau- vignon Blanc 2021 from Marlborough, New Zealand; Jean-Paul and Benoit Droin Fourchaume Chablis Premier Cru 2020 and Louis Jadot Lavaux Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2020 from France; Ramey Wine Cellars Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 Carneros Napa Valley and Joseph Phelps Freestone Pinot Noir 2020, Sonoma Coast, both from Sonoma County, California; Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione 2016, Chianti Classico from Italy; and Hunga- ry’s legendary Royal Tokaji Essencia 2009. It was something really special!

Sometimes you just want to be comfortable. In which case, your food and wine should feel comfortable, too! No decanting, no vintage selection, no complex pairings. Just good company and tasty, cheerful wines. Green salads, cold finger food, pizzas and two of my favorite Greek wines. First was La Tour Melas Idylle d’ Achinos 2022; a mouthwatering rosé from old vines, produced by Central Greece’s leading winery La Tour Melas. Kyros Melas began as a red wine expert but he soon became a serious rosé wine producer as well. We also enjoyed an all-time favorite red: Ktima Papaioannou Nemea Agiorgitiko 2019, with ample red fruit, sour cherries, strawberries and the silky tannins for which Agiorgitiko from Nemea in the Peloponne

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