Greece is producing a diverse range of accessible reds, often using indigenous grape varieties and with a more restrained approach to oak. Read this report on 88 wines tasted by our three-strong expert panel, with an introduction by Nico Manessis, regional chair for Greece and Cyprus at the Decanter World Wine Awards.
88 wines tasted with three rated Outstanding
The panel tasters were: Terry Kandylis, Yiannis Karakasis MW and Nico Manessis
The landscape of Greece is mostly mountainous, its vineyards consisting of small plots scattered across the slopes. This means high-altitude viticulture, with sites ranging from 150-750m above sea level.
There’s also an abundance of indigenous vines, with over 150 red grapes – most of them hard to pronounce.
Scroll down to see the top wines from this panel tasting
One name to look out for is Agiorgitiko, which makes accessible, warm-fruited wines with a distinctive black cherry character. Produced in a range of styles from young and fruity to more structured, it’s the backbone of vineyards in Nemea in the Peloponnese.
Greek reds: know your vintages
2017 Snow followed by rain saw yields down by 30% but gave one of the finest vintages on record. Wines are slow to show their best.
2016 Normal ripening season with no issues, giving a largely disease-free, healthy harvest. Drink or keep.
2015 Challenging year, when late-ripening grapes fared best. Keep for two to six years.
2014 Patchy vintage; the late-ripening grapes struggled. But the best wines by top producers will keep for another two to four years.
2013 Healthy harvest with some very good wines. Initially closed but now opening up. Keep for five years.
2012 A mixed bag. Later-ripening, coolclimate styles are best. Keep for up to four years.
2011 A cool vintage of mostly awkward reds. A few ripe, elegant wines. Drink now.
Top rated wines from the panel tasting: