Popular Posts

Monday 28 July 2014

Matching Food And Wine: Greece‏

Matching Greek mezes from Gaea with a Greek wine from Tanner's
- I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from
Eddie Izzard, Dressed to Kill

Europe's general claim as the greatest wine region in the world is not based solely on its grapes, terroir or viticultural practices.

Rather it is the combination of all these things plus centuries of experimentation of grape varieties, growing conditions and local cuisine.

Tuscany's rasping reds cut perfectly through bistecca all fiorentina or meaty ragu; Burgundy's hedonistic Pinot and succulent Chardonnay complement its rich, gamey cuisine.

By contrast, Greek wine is a typically Balkan series of contradictions - ancient, yet modern; historic yet forward-looking; unified, yet diverse.

What we call "Greece" is not an homogenous country at all; a disparate collection of islands plus a mainland whose borders have shifted around over the years, Greece defies easy definition and is more a geopolitical faultline between east and west than a country.

Mezes are no more indicative of the breadth and variety of Greece's national cuisine than pasta is of Italy's or tapas of Spain's. But like pasta and tapas, it is something familiar and as good a place as any to start.

Strongly-flavoured olive-based foods need a relatively neutral wine with plenty of body and acidity to stand up; Assyrtiko is perhaps Greece's ultimate food wine. From the volcanic island of Santorini, it is linear, mineral and sharp-yet-full - the Greek equivalent or fino or Gruener Veltliner.

The mezes
Gaea D.O.P. Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil (£5.49 for 500ml from Waitrose and Ocado) from Kalamata in Southern Peloponnese, made from cold-pressed Koroneiki olives
Gaea Kalamata Olive Tapenade
Gaea Sweet Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Tapenade
Gaea Flame-Roasted Red Peppers
Gaea Garlic-Stuffed Green Olives
Gaea Pitted Kalamata Olives

Gaea speciality foods are available in Waitrose, Ocado and independent retailers.

The wine
Santorini Dry White, Hatzidakis 2013 (£13.20, Tanner's Wines) sandy yellow, orchard fruits on the rose; sweet, ripe cooked peaches, but dry, fresh and mineral. A touch of salinity; long, mineral finish. Good.

Mezes and wine provided for review.

Other related articles
Nico Lazaridi
Kefalonia - A Guide
Greek Wine Under Different Lenses

No comments:

Post a Comment