Until recently, most Ontario consumers have been unwilling to try wines from lesser known areas, often made from unknown and hard to pronounce grapes. But curious wine drinkers willing to explore outside their comfort zone are almost always rewarded.
Greek wines have a long and storied history, dating to antiquity when Greece was the epicentre of the wine world. Under the Ottoman rule, wine production and consumption was greatly reduced, even forbidden, and the industry languished for centuries until the early part of the 1900s. Quality waned until a new wave of quality-focused winemakers emerged in the 1970s, and Greek wines gradually regained their status amongst the world’s finest.
Today’s Greek wine industry is primarily led by young, energetic and progressive winemakers. 80% of the wineries are less than 20 years old. When this bourgeoning energy is combined with old vines, over 200 indigenous grapes and centuries-old winemaking traditions, you have the ingredients for exceptional, unique wines that showcase Greece’s singular terroir.
For those looking to seek out new grapes, Greek wines offer up a myriad of interesting and delicious options. Grapes like Assyrtiko, Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro are becoming increasingly popular. Moschofilero is another white grape of Greek origins that is now more readily available in the Ontario market. It has an exotic, distinctive profile and a very food-friendly nature. It typically makes dry, tangy white wine with notes of peach, fresh cut flowers, candied citrus and a subtle nutty character. The best add tension and complexity with zippy acids and salty minerality. It is actually a grey-skinned grape, which allows winemakers to make pale, pretty rosé in addition to traditional white wine.
Moschofilero grows best in the elevated, mountainous Mantinia region of the Peloponnese. This historic plateau is where the largest and most famous battle between Athens and Sparta was fought during the Peloponnesian War in 472 A.D. Surrounded by the stunning peaks of the Mainalo, Artesimo and Parnon Mountains, the foothills and plateau are planted with a variety of grape varieties. Having been cultivated continuously for over 3000 years, Mantinia is one of the coolest and highest elevation wine regions in Greece. And it’s where we found a tiny, focused winery making some of the best Moschofilero in the world.
Expand your palate and discover the near endless array of wine profiles found throughout the world through the LCBO Destination Collection:
2021 Moropoulos Mantinia Moschofilero
91 points - Wine Align
Located in the Greek village of Neochori, in the heart of Mantinia, Moropoulos is a boutique, family-owned and operated winery. The Moropoulos family has a long tradition of vine growing in the region, producing high quality fruit for premium producers over the last several decades. More recently, siblings Konstantinos and Georgia decided to establish their own winery, focusing on making only two wines, both from Moschofilero. Their 12 hectares of vines are planted on well-drained rocky clay and loamy soils and are farmed organically. Despite its relatively southern latitude, the property is located on an elevated plateau (700m), making the climate more Continental than Mediterranean. The warm, dry days and cool nights result in fresh, structured wines with more concentration and intensity than you typically find from the grape and region.
Fruit is harvested by hand, then whole-bunch pressed into stainless steel tanks. The clusters are cold soaked for a short period of time to extract complexity and just a touch of colour. Fermentation is carried out via wild yeasts under strict temperature control to capture all the lovely fresh fruit character the Moschofilero grape provides. The wine spends a short period of time on lees to add richness and nuance before being lightly filtered and bottled at the estate.
This has more colour and depth than most young Moschofilero. Aromas of white flowers, citrus and pear are framed by subtle stony minerality. The palate is nervy and fresh, with an intriguing note of salty apricot. It is mid-weight, though fairly mouth-filling, with a crisp, refreshing finish. A wonderful wine to serve alongside Mezze platters: salted nuts and olives, soft cheeses, grilled eggplant and charcuterie. It will also fare well with grilled calamari, fresh water fish or roast chicken.
Available exclusively at the LCBO Greek Boutique Store at 200 Danforth Ave in Toronto: