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06.23.2011

Off to Greece to Taste Some Wine

santorini.jpgI'm a very lucky guy. I'll admit that when I started this whole wine blogging thing, I had fantasies that someone would send me some free wine one day (now sometimes, I have to tell them to stop). But I never imagined that one day people would would want to fly me to foreign countries and pick up the tab just with the hopes that I'd write something about it.

The chance to go on an occasional press trip sponsored by a government or a regional marketing association is a great pleasure and perk of what I do here on Vinography.

Increasingly, I get asked to go on a lot of these kinds of wine trips. Unfortunately, I can't accept most of them. Many are offered by individual wineries or wine companies, and I don't feel comfortable taking such trips for the inherent conflict of interest they pose. My pesky day job and need to pay the bills rule out most of the others.

Greece, or rather, their designated representatives, have been nudging me for a while about coming to visit, but the timing never worked out until now.

So here I go, off to spend some time in Santorini and on the Peloponnese to explore Greek wine, which I've had enough exposure to here in the U.S. to get excited about. With an obviously long history of winemaking, and a treasure trove of ancient vines and indigenous grape varieties, I know there are a lot of wonderful wines waiting to be discovered there.

With the family in tow (for the first time -- it's a bit of an experiment), I'm going to spend about 10 days pretending that I actually do write about wine for a living. Which isn't quite a vacation (no one really believes me that these trips are fairly grueling) but certainly is my idea of a good time.

I'll be posting along the way, WiFi signals, three-year-old's demands, and ouzo-induced naps permitting.

Comments (11)

1winedude wrote:
06.24.11 at 5:36 AM

A bit of advice: do NOT play cards for money with locals while drinking ouzo, unless you have a lot of money to loose! :) Enjoy, you are gonna love it there!

Steve Raye wrote:
06.24.11 at 6:12 AM

Alder, on behalf of the Wines of Santorini we are pleased to host you on this trip. We know you’ll see how Santorini is one of the most unique producing regions in the world. In fact, the island essentially defines “terroir”. From the phylloxera-free volcanic soils (really rocks), weather patterns of morning mists generated by the wind patterns of the Aegean sea, age of the vines and propagation techniques, unique vine management in hand-woven basket shapes, being the real place of origin for Vinsanto … well, I could go on and on. Suffice to say wine produced on Santorini simply can’t be duplicated anywhere else…it is truly a global treasure.

The sad news is that the land generates far more revenue from hotels and other tourism-related businesses and so the vineyards are rapidly disappearing. Add to this an aging cadre of winemakers lacking a new generation interested in the backbreaking labor required to farm this land and we’re looking at something that really needs the kind of visibility and appreciation you can bring.

Adam wrote:
06.24.11 at 6:12 AM

First got interested in wine in Greece, I will say I was not too thrilled with the Santorini wines I tried, but part of it might have just been the shock of drinking Wine at 7:30 in the morning. But I did visit Mercouri Estate Winery on Peloponnese, whose wines I quite enjoyed.

OB wrote:
06.24.11 at 8:23 AM

I've had a number of beautiful wines from Santorini - I think you'll love it! They pair wonderfully with Greek cuisine, as you might expect. 1winedude is right - don't delve too deeply into ouzo. Go for tsipouro instead. It's a delightfully floral ouzo alternative that's not easy to find in the U.S. Tentura, a Greek cinammon liqueur, is also worth seeking out.

Constance C wrote:
06.24.11 at 9:46 AM

Very happy to read of your excitement! Don't worry - the high acidity in the wines will keep you lively and awake :) That being said, certain ouzo's are definitely worth a try (I just discovered this myself and I've spent many months there in my lifetime) but Joe's probably right about the card playing.... and of course about the enjoyment. I look forward to your tweets, posts, recaps, etc. Pleasure to have you be part of this trip (although I'm quite jealous I'll have to hear about it from afar this year!)

Chuck Hayward wrote:
06.24.11 at 2:53 PM

Drink ouzo, vote communist, avoid riots and banks and be glad the soccer season is off this summer.

rs wrote:
06.26.11 at 4:01 PM

Glad to see you having fun. Watching and listening to the news, you'd think the only thing happening, at least in Athens, was riots. I guess the press overdid it this time.

Mike Dunne wrote:
06.26.11 at 5:16 PM

Have fun, Alder, though I was looking forward to your input re: Vintners Hall of Fame. Now I'll look forward to what Greek white-wine grape varieties you think would do well in California, given that the Santorinians are running out of vineyard space and California has yet to find a green grape that does exceptionally well in this arid and hot setting.

david pierson wrote:
06.26.11 at 8:28 PM

Have fun Alder... you'd have to be dead not to have some fun in Greece... so much for that grueling stuff. ha ha.. did ya make it to the Aspen Food And Wine fest this year??

06.27.11 at 12:14 PM

Ouzo and grilled octopus! The perfect pairing, especially watching the sun set over Santorini. You feel absorbed by the colors and the intnesity of the scenery...okay...maybe that was the ouzo...

Federica wrote:
07.03.11 at 7:25 AM

How AMAZING Greece is!
You'll enjoy that for sure :)
@Nurit: yes, Ouzo and Grilled octopus are a great pairing, but what about tzatziki and Retsina? Amazing!

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