Say Greece, and you’ll speak of all things summer: sun-soaked Santorini cliffs, taverna tables practically groaning under the weight of grilled fish and sunset strolls through vineyards as old as the Acropolis. Experiencing Greece is even more fun with one of its intriguing wines in hand. But even if you’re just armchair traveling, these sips will give you an immediate sense of place, with a freshness perfect for the season.
After strolling the boardwalk in Thessaloniki, Macedonia
Domaine Gerovassiliou 2015 Single Vineyard Malagousia (Epanomi); $23, 92 points.
Luscious peach and lychee aromas start this distinctive white from northern Greece, made from a variety that was almost extinct in the country until its revival in the late 20th century. The medium-weight, rounded mouthfeel offers flavors of honey, melon and tropical fruit balanced by minerality and a dry finish. For fans of Riesling, this is an exciting and exotic alternative.
After touring the Minoan ruins of Knossos on Crete
Lyrarakis 2015 Volia Vineyard Assyrtiko (Crete); $16, 89 points.
From a small, family-run winery championing local varieties, this gives aromas of fresh lemon zest and sea salt, followed by ripe citrus and ginger flavors. Medium bodied, it boasts good acidity and a food-friendly mineral character. Though its birthplace is Santorini, Assyrtiko is made successfully throughout Greece, and this wine reflects its Cretan climate and terroir.
With lamb souvlaki in the Plaka, Athens
Domaine Costa Lazaridi 2016 Amethystos Rosé (Drama); $18, 90 points.
A bright nose of strawberry and cherry leads this fresh but full-bodied Cabernet-Merlot blend from northern Greece, where international varieties with a local flair have won accolades worldwide. Cherry, raspberry and spice are balanced by a clean mineral edge, topped with an earthy spin that plays to the spices of this Athenian street-food specialty.
Shopping in Nafplio’s Old Town, Peloponnese
Mercouri Estate 2015 Foloi (Peloponnese); $18, 90 points.
This delicate blend of native grape Roditis (90 percent) and Viognier (10 percent) has a floral nose and an array of tropical fruit flavors. Made by one of Greece’s oldest wine estates, it’s an elegant, layered white that’s refreshing, with a peppy finish. Paired with grilled fish at one of this picturesque town’s family-run restaurants, this blend is an ode to the refined and energetic wines produced here.