Greek Wine, Be Not Afraid!

capital-grille-generous-pour-wineimage-1.jpgDiving into the menu at Estiatorio Milos in the Cosmopolitan (702-698-7930) can be an odyssey in Greek gastronomy. Complementing chef-owner Costas Spiliadis’ cuisine is a wine list that is more than 50 percent Greek, and nearly all of which come from Spiliadis’ son George’s company, Cava Spiliadis Imports. George focuses on the new generation of Greek producers. Here’s a handy guide to help you navigate your way through an epically satisfying Hellenic fantasy on the Strip.

Domaine Biblia Chora, Areti, Pangee, Greece, 2013, $15/glass

Assyrtiko (ah-SEER-tee-ko) is Greece’s finest, most versatile white grape originating from the island of Santorini. Assyrtiko is similar to Loire Valley sauvignon blanc. Both typically are fresh, intense, citrus-driven wines with hints of dried white flowers. Most notable, both share distinctive notes of ash or gunsmoke from the volcanic soils in which they’re grown. Pair with Milos’ Greek salad ($28); the strong vine-ripe tomato aromas will enhance the subtle aromatics of the wine.

Moschofilero, Blanc de Gris, Ktima Tselepos, Arcadia, Greece, 2012, $16/glass

Moschofilero (mohs-ko-FEE-leh-ro) is a white grape with gray skin that is native to the central Peloponnese, hence the style name blanc de gris—white wine from gray skins. If you love highly aromatic white wines such as Argentina’s Torrontés, then this wine is for you. Pair with the charcoal-grilled octopus ($32), as the slight tinge of sugar in the wine will make the char on the octopus pop!

Malagousia, Domaine Gerovassiliou, Epanomi, Greece, 2014, $18/glass

Vintner Vangelis Gerovassiliou saved this Macedonian white grape from extinction. Malagousia (mah-lah-goo-ZYA) offers hints of peach, citrus and pepper, making it similar to Austria’s Grüner Veltliner. Pair this vegetal grape with the Milos special fried zucchini and eggplant ($32) or go for the more daring grilled sardines ($24).

Agiorgitiko, Domaine Biblia Chora, Areti, Pangee, Greece, $16/glass

Agiorgitiko (ah-yohr-YEE-tee-koh) is Greece’s most widely planted red grape, also known as the “Blood of Hercules” in its indigenous region of Nemea in the Peloponnese. Its dominant cherry character with spicy notes makes it similar to a Rhône Valley syrah. Agiorgitiko is a lighter-bodied red that pairs well with fish. Try it with Milokopi cooked in a sea-salt crust ($57 per pound) to enhance the minerality and coastal character of the wine.

Mavrodaphne, Mavrodaphne de Patras, Parparoussis, Achaia, Greece, 2003, $18/glass

Made in both sweet and dry styles, Mavrodaphne (mahv-roh-DAHF-nee) is a red grape from Patras, just above Nemea. Mavrodaphne de Patras is one of a variety of Greek dessert wines, and this one is labeled as organic. A fun pairing is with the real Greek yogurt and berries ($16), as the wine adds a fruit-preserve flavor to the yogurt.


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