I went to the Greek island Mykonos on holiday last summer. And the summer before that. And the summer before that. You may ask why. It isn’t because I am secretly Greek (I’m not), or because I have an irrational love for 8-hour Agean Air journeys, or because I’m too lazy to research new destinations. It’s because I love everything about the place – the beaches, the wine, the sunshine, the nightlife, the food, the people, and (repeating for effect) the wine.
Visitors to Mykonos absolutely must visit the bar Caprice – it is known among regulars and locals as “the” spot to watch the sunset. Go an hour before the sun is due to set, grab a seat or sofa, order wine and/or cocktails, and enjoy a truly sensational experience.
There is something so immeasurably perfect about lying on a white sandy beach, gazing at the beautiful ocean, relishing an impeccably chilled glass of vino. Unfortunately, as hard as I have tried, this feeling can never be replicated back home (in my case rainy London). This is the case even if you drink the exact same bottle of wine – most likely because part of the enjoyment we derive from drinking wine comes from the surroundings.
But that doesn’t mean you should shelve the thought of drinking Greek wine outside the country – Greece produces some delicious (and often underrated) wines using indigenous grape varieties – such as Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri – as well as the more recognisable international grape varieties (Merlot, Chardonnay, etc).
When I was browsing wines in M&S earlier this week after a long day, I stumbled upon this 2012 Assyrtiko from Santorini. Nostalgia took hold and I immediately put it in my basket. It was delicious – it had the acidity and refreshing zing of a typical sauvignon blanc yet was an explosion of tropical fruit in the glass. On the finish, it managed to maintain the calm and subtle minerality of a stone. This wine really surprised me – it had an array of complex flavours and aromas but was still perfectly accessible and drinkable as an aperitif. Later on, I paired it with grilled prawns and a beetroot & avocado salad – delicious.
In spite of the London rain, I almost felt like I was back in Mykonos gazing at the sunset in my favourite bar Caprice. I promptly went onto Expedia’s website to book my trip this summer.
For more food and wine pairings, download Grapeful for free on iPhone and Android – http://www.grapeful.co.uk
What is Assyrtiko? Grapeful explains:
Assyrtiko (pronounced ahs-serr-tee-koh) is a white grape variety originating from the Greek island Santorini. Although it can be used to produce sweet wine, it is most commonly found as a dry white wine with a fruit-forward, mineral character. Assyrtiko wines typically offer citrus and tropical notes with balanced acidity. This wine style has a truly unique character, heavily influenced by the volcanic soils of the island Santorini. Assyrtiko is the perfect companion to grilled white fish and shellfish. The acidity in the wine balances brilliantly with tomatoes, making this wine a great match for a typical Greek salad (think feta, olives and tomatoes). Santorini is famous for its vegetables and it is no surprise that this wine sits extremely well next to tomatoes, beans, aubergine and fennel.