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remarkably little fine wine from that country can be found on the shelves.
Instead we have the litre bottles of cheap bulk wine of unknown parentage.
It is a shame, as many very fine Greek wines exist, though they are largely
from varieties whose names we have again never heard. Here is one.
During the past decade Moschofilero has become regarded in Greece as
an important grape for production of premium white wines. This cultivar
has a long history on the Peloponnesus and genetic research suggests it is
related to several varieties from the eastern coast of that region and is
thought to have been employed in the production of wines since the Middle
Ages. It is often compared to Muscat or Traminer wines in style, though it
is not related. Most serious production of Moschofilero wines is centered in
the Mantinia plateau, a soil-rich plain in the centre of a mountain range in
northern Arkadía on the Peloponnesus. It has a pinkish skin and the wines
can sometimes have a slight pinkish hue, though most are clear. It is aromatic
with floral and spicy hints and citrus flavours.
BOUTARI MOSCHOFILERO 2017
O.P.A.P. (Appellation Superior) Mantinia, Greece #177154 $17.49
This version is from vines up to 35 years old from Palaiopyrgos, Partheni
and Zevgolatio in the Mantinia region. It has aromas of lime and grapefruit
with wet stone mineral, some white peach and a bit of herb, and it tastes of
lemon-lime, lemongrass and green peach, with a lively finish. It is somewhat
like a blend of Riesling and Pinot Gris. Like most of the wines
reviewed this time, it has a modest alcohol level (11.5 per cent). Greek food
is an obvious choice, especially seafood, but any lighter Mediterranean dish
will pair well.
PINOT AUXERROIS OR AUXERROIS BLANC
There are many wines that start with “pinot”: white, red and in between
(especially “gris”—and while “grey” wine sounds less than appetizing, it
refers to the skin colour and not the elixir). So it gets confusing. One of the
lesser known is Pinot Auxerrois, also called Auxerrois Blanc or Auxerrois
Blanc de Laquenexy. It is a white wine grape that is important in Alsace and
is also grown in Germany, Luxembourg, parts of the United States and most
notably as a single varietal wine in B.C. It is thought to have originated in
Lorraine, rather than near Auxerre in the Yonne. Recent DNA fingerprinting
suggests that it is a cross between Gouais Blanc and Pinot Noir—the
same ancestry as Chardonnay. The French mostly blend it into wines they
called “Pinot Blanc” (which may actually consist of Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc,
Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir). The most traditional of style of this blend are