Homer mentioned them in The Illiad and The Odyssey. Dionysus, the god of celebration, embodied them. Ancient philosophers held their symposia around them. For nearly 4,000 years, in fact, wine has been an integral part of Greek life. Yet it is only in the past decade, after the country made tremendous strides in modernizing its winemaking, that the rest of the world has discovered Greek wine. Made mostly from native grapes virtually unknown in other winemaking countries, Greek wines can now be found in wine shops across the country at prices usually ranging from about $10 to $23.
Among Greece’s white wines I’ve recently enjoyed is Domaine Mercouri’s Roditis 2008 from the Foloi area of Ilias; pale, fresh, tasty and dry, it is the perfect apéritif. Sigalas Assyrtiko 2008 from the island of Santoríni, on the other hand, is a full-bodied, assertive white that can easily accompany full-flavored entrées.
Greece’s prime red grape is Agiorgitiko, and it makes some of the country’s best rosés and reds. For a rosé, I highly recommend Gaia Estate’s Agiorgitiko 14–18 2008 from Nemea, a delicious wine with a beautiful strawberry-pink color and a long, appealing finish. And made as a red wine, I recommend Gaia Estates’s Agiorgitiko 2005, also from Nemea — round and velvety with a hint of cardamom in the aroma and a lingering aftertaste. The country’s second-most popular red grape is Xinomavro, often used in a blend, as it is with Krasato and Stavroto grapes in a 2003 reserve wine by Tsantali in the region of Rapsani.
For a sweet finish to a meal, pour a glass of Parparousis’ elixir-like Muscat of Rio-Patras 2003. For a taste of Greece’s own dessert wine, try the red Mavrodaphne. An example is Kourtaki Mavrodaphne in Patras. A non-vintage wine, it is liqueur-like in texture with a high sugar count. I like to sip it after a meal, its sweetness tempered over ice and with a twist of lemon.
Because the names of these grapes and wines are transliterated to English from the Greek alphabet, there are often variations in spellings — an “i” on one label may be a “y” on another, for example. In any spelling, however, Dionysus still reigns.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.