"Mezes" is a Greek restaurant in San Francisco owned by Nikos Maheves a CIA- certified Sommelier from Greece. Who better to take us on the journey of learning about Greek wines and food? I recently attended a fun get-together at the restaurant for a food and wine pairing session.
Here is a short primer on Greek wines:
*There are reportedly 300 varietals indigenous to Greece. The main growing regions are shown on the map above.
*Greece is known mainly for their white wines
*With some exceptions Greek wines are not made to age. According to Nikos,very few reds are aged for more than 8 months in French oak. The wines are meant to be drunk sooner rather than later and they are defintely made for food.
Here are four of the most common varietals that you will find at a Greek restaurant:
The first wine for the evening was the 2007 Petra Rodytis by Kir Yiannis. Rodytis (ro-DEE-tees) is a white varietal and this one was from Naoussa in Thessalia which is a province in Northern Greece. Petra is the word for "rock" and indeed there is a strong mineral quality on the nose and palate. There are also grassy and citrus notes. It is light gold and highly acidic, dry, light-bodied and slightly tannic. In other words "food-slutty.) Perfect match with seafood and this was served with lightly-fried calamari with garlic aioli.
The second white of the evening is the 2008 Mantinia Moschofilero from Tselepos which is on the island of Peleponesse. Moschofilero (mo-sko-FEE-lay-ro) literally means "scent of flowers" and the nose is very floral with notes of rose, honeysuckle and honey. the mouthfeel was silky with light acidity and light tannins. We drank this with zucchini cakes but it goes equally well with seafood.
Our first red of the evening was the 2008 Notios Peleponnisis Dry Red Wine. It is made with a common varietal called Agiorgitiko (Ah-George-GEE-tee-ko) which means "St. George." This is a medium ruby-colored wine. The nose is filled with red plum, cherry, blackberry and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is like velvet and there is a lovely olive note on the mid-palate. This was served with grilled sausage and beans in tomato sauce. I also like this one with dolmas and spanakopita.
The last wine of the evening is known as the "treasure" of Northern Greece, Macedonia to be precise, and it is called Xinomavro (Ksee-NO-mah-vro.) Easier to drink than to say! Xino means "sour" and mavro means "black." We had the 2008 Paranga Dry Red Wine by Kir Yianni. The nose is redolent of roasted tomato, red cherry, and black olive. Xinomavro is usually aged in oak for around 8 months so there are some tannins on the mouth feel. It is medium-bodied, nicely acidic. And no, it does not really taste sour! It is the match for highly-spiced meats like lamb, beef and pork.
I will soon be attending a seminar on Greek wines put on by "All About Greek Wine" where I hope to learn more about the Greek wine industry, many of the wineries, and the different varietals. Until then, enjoy and visit Mezes at 2373 Chestnut St., in San Francisco, where they do have a large list of Greek wines.
07 April, 2010
Number 1 was Eric Ross Saralee Vineyard 2007. It was an amazing clear, salmon pink color. I expected it to taste flinty and restrained. Wrong! Whiffs of strawberries, rhurbarb and apricot. Flavors of fresh strawberries, cedar and toast. The mouthfeel was almost creamy. Delish! We got to meet the winemaker and see some of his excellent photography, too
05 April, 2010
Hey Bay Area folks!! Come support vicitims of the Chilean earthquake by attending this charity event. There is quite a selection of Chilean Wines, foods and entertainment.
"Raise a Glass and Funds for Chile - Tuesday, April, 6th
Bay Area Chileans, Presidio Cafe, Chilean Consulate SF and Chilean Importers will host “A Taste of Chile: A Benefit for Earthquake Relief” at the Presidio Cafe, from 6:30 to 10 pm. Guests will sample various wines from a multitude of Chilean appellations paired with empanadas from Café Valparaiso of Berkeley .
All proceeds benefit COANIQUEM, a private non-profit Burn Center foundation that operates three rehab centers in Chile. The February 27th earthquake comprised their facilities and they need immediate funds to continue treating their young patients.
COANIQUEM’s U.S. Director will attend to accept donations. We ask that guests contribute a minimum of $25.00 donation, and those who give $100 or more will be included in a raffle drawing.
We are excited to have Alex Geiger, the Consul General of the SF Chilean Consulate as an honorary special guest and our co-sponsor "Wines of Chile-USA".
Participating Wineries and Wine Entities include:
Apaltagua, Calcu, Domus Aurea, Penalolen
Parqua, Maquis & Tercos - (Global Vineyard Imports)
Terranoble -( Winebow Chilean Imports)
La Playa Family of Wines - (Cabernet Corp. Imports)
Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca Valley
Aresti, Curico Valley - (Broadbent Selection Imports)
Cono Sur - (Vineyard Brand Imports)
Los Vascos - (Pasternak Wine Imports)
Veramonte, Primus & Ritual - (Huneeus Vintners LLC)
Alto Sol, Cucao, Chono, Vina Quintay, Rayun,
Palin & Vina Litoral - (North Berkeley Imports)
Casa Marin & Vina Chocalan - (Domaine Select Wine Estates)
Concha y Toro & Palo Alto - (Banfi Vintners)
Arboleda - (Frederick Wildman)
Montes & Santa Ema - (TGIC Imports)
Concha y Toro (Banfi Vintners)
Vina Ventisquero (Austral Wines)
Vina Santa Carolina (Rapel Valley)
Empanadas (Vegertarian & Beef) by Cafe Valparaiso Berkeley
Shrimp Anticucho w/ Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto & Alfajores by Sabores del Sur
Breads & Savory Tarts provided by La Boulange Bakery & Cafe
Cheese provided by Say Cheese of Cole Valley
Araucaria Dance Organization will perform "Cuecas" (Chile's National Dance)
Presidio Golf Course Gift Certificate- A Round-Of-Golf for 4
Don Melchor Reserve Cabernet 750ml bottle
Los Vascos "Le Dix" Cabernet 750ml bottle
Casa Marin Pinot Noir "Litoral Vineyard" 750ml bottle
Veramonte "Primus" Red Table Blend 1.5L magnum bottle
Local Bay Area Chilean Artist, Javier Urzua's Landscape Oil Painting of Central Valley
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar Gift Certificate
Nopa Gift Certificate
Ozumo Gift Certificate
XYZ Restaurant @ "W" Hotel Gift Certificate
Citizen Cake/ Orson Gift Certificate
Sauce Gift Certificate
Jardiniere Gift Certificate
Fifth Floor Gift Certificate"
If you want to know more about the effects of the Chilean earthquake on the wine industry go here: http://www.winesur.com/news/serious-effects-of-chilean-earthquake-on-wineries-and-vineyards