Northern Greek Wines: A Taste of Macedonia, Thessaly, and More
Northern Greece is home to some of the most exciting and underrated wine regions in the world. Did you know that with its rich history dating back thousands of years, the region has been producing wines that are complex, flavorful, and unique? That’s right, folks, it’s time to put down your Bordeaux and pick up a bottle of Xinomavro!
One of the most famous wine regions in Northern Greece is Naoussa, located in the heart of Macedonia. This region is known for producing red wines made from the Xinomavro grape, which is often referred to as the “Greek Nebbiolo”. These wines are characterized by their deep ruby color, high acidity, and bold tannins, which make them perfect for aging. The grape is grown on the slopes of Mount Vermio, where the vineyards benefit from the region’s cool climate and the mineral-rich soils. These conditions give the wines of Naoussa a unique character that is both distinct and recognizable. They typically have notes of dark fruit, herbs, and spices, and pair well with grilled meats and hearty stews. One of the signature wines from Naoussa is the Naoussa Reserve, made from the Xinomavro grape, which is aged for at least two years in oak barrels before being bottled. This wine is characterized by its dark ruby color, aromas of red fruit, spices, and herbs, and a complex palate that combines flavors of cherry, plum, and tobacco. The tannins are firm and grippy, making this wine ideal for aging. Finally, Naoussa also produces a spirit called the Naoussa Tsipouro, which is made from the pomace of the Xinomavro grape. This spirit is characterized by its rich flavors of dried fruit, honey, and nuts, and is typically served as a digestif after a meal.
Another notable wine region in Northern Greece is Amyndeon, located in the northwest of Macedonia. This region is known for producing white wines made from the Assyrtiko grape, which is also grown in other parts of Greece. These wines are crisp and refreshing, with high acidity and notes of citrus and mineral. They pair well with seafood and light dishes, and are perfect for warm summer days.
Thessaly is a region in central Greece known for producing high-quality red and white wines. Its unique combination of sandy soil, high altitude, and temperate climate provide the perfect conditions for the Limniona grape to thrive, producing bold and complex red wines with notes of black cherry, blackberry, and dark chocolate. Thessaly also produces crisp and refreshing white wines using the Roditis grape, with citrusy aromas and flavors of peach and apricot. With its versatility and unique flavors, the wines of Thessaly offer a taste of Greece’s rich wine culture and are sure to impress any wine lover.
Moving eastward, we come to the region of Thrace, which is located in the northeastern part of Greece, near the border with Turkey. This region is known for producing both red and white wines, with a focus on indigenous grape varieties such as Limnio and Mavroudi for reds, and Muscat of Alexandria and Sauvignon Blanc for whites. The wines from Thrace are often characterized by their intense flavors and aromas, with notes of ripe fruit, herbs, and spices.
Finally, we come to the island of Thassos, located in the northern Aegean Sea. This island is known for producing a unique sweet wine called Muscat of Alexandria, which is made from sun-dried grapes. Muscat of Alexandria, also known as Muscat blanc à petits grains or Zibibbo, is a white wine grape variety that is thought to have originated in North Africa, but is now grown in many parts of the world, including Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Australia, and the United States. The Muscat of Alexandria grape is known for its large, oval-shaped berries and its characteristic musky, floral aroma, which is often described as similar to the scent of orange blossom. The grape produces wines that are typically sweet and fruity, with flavors of honey, peach, and apricot. The wine is often used to make sweet fortified wines, such as Moscato and Muscatel, as well as dessert wines.
In conclusion, Northern Greece is a region that is rich in wine history and tradition, and is producing some of the most exciting wines in the world today. Whether you are a lover of reds, whites, or sweet wines, there is something for everyone to discover in this hidden gem of a wine region. So why not try a bottle from Naoussa, Amyndeon, Thrace, or Thassos today, and discover the flavors of Northern Greece for yourself!