The next time you are browsing through a wine store—most of which are arranged by varietal and/or country or region of origin—bypass the typical “Cabernet,” Chardonnay,” or “Bordeaux” sections and head straight for the rack labeled Agiorghitiko. Reaction? Are tears streaming out of your eyes with laughter? Because if I was an all-things-vino stand-up comedian this would certainly be the joke I would come in with to soften-up my serious-as-suicide audience.
For three years I have combed every rack inside my favorite Saratoga wine store, Purdy’s, and never once noticed the Greek section. I asked my favorite Purdy insider what was new, interesting, and/or worth trying.
“We have a very tasty and inexpensive red that just came into the Greek section.”
“Oh, you have a Greek section?”
“Yes, it’s pretty pathetic though.”
“Pathetic? Compared to what? All the other non-existent Greek sections? I’m actually pretty impressed that you have something official—an actual designation with multiple offerings rather than a lone dusty in a section marked ‘other’.”
So today I purchased my first Greek red. 95% Agiorghitiko (Saint George to the Amerikaner) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. From what I could gather from the poorly translated website. This is an oak-free red that went through a partial carbonic maceration process—like a Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is young, and meant to stay that way, spirited, and spiced with nutmeg-like characteristics.
Bakery notes on the nose initially, a touch yeasty perhaps, with very ripe strawberry and cherry aromas. Sweet cola, copious amounts of nutmeg, a touch of generic earth, and gym floor round out the flavor profile. I accidentally did taste a gym floor once—it’s much like it smells. Incredibly soft mouthfeel—light on tannins. I would compare this wine to Gamay, the grape Beaujolais Nouveau is made from. Very deep garnet and purple tones—that is where it differs. At $10, I would buy this wine again in a heartbeat. I’d pull it out at a party too!