Ratings: The Best Greek Wines to Drink Right Now
Greek wine is ancient, and bottles made from the country’s 300-plus indigenous grapes are food-friendly with serious value for money. Why, then, aren’t more people drinking them?
Some think the problem is linguistic: the names of Greek wine varieties intimidate many Anglophones. “If you look at the labels they can be quite confusing, and it’s hard to decipher what you’re looking at,” says John Stanley, founder of Stanley’s Wet Goods in Los Angeles.
That’s understandable—no one likes to feel out of step when talking about wine—but it’s also hard to think of a country whose wine labels are totally transparent. Plus, one could argue that Greek grapes like Assyrtiko and Vidiano are more phonetic in English than, say, France’s Pouilly-Fuissé. Some Greek winemakers even label their bottles of Agiorgitiko, a native red grape planted throughout Greece, as “St. George” in English-speaking markets.
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Regardless, Greek wines are ripe for discovery. The country’s winemakers produce everything from flinty white wines grown in volcanic soils to dynamic rosés to red wines with racy acidity and grippy tannins. They’re increasingly available, too. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest export market for Greek wine, and the caliber of bottles sent our way continues to climb.
“There are more importers that are bringing in really high quality wines from both small and larger wineries, and it feels now that a good range of wines are being represented,” Stanley says.
Caroline Navish, the buyer and manager of Sahadi Spirits in Brooklyn, New York, usually keeps a bottle of Greek wine in the $20 price range open for shoppers to try because “for those who are not yet familiar with Greek wines, tasting is believing.” There’s an education component to selling Greek wine, she adds. “One thing I wish people knew about Greek wines is that if it’s been a while since you’ve given them a go, the market has come a long way from the table wine at the Greek restaurants of the past.”
Eager to dive in? Here are an array of Wine Enthusiast’s top-ranked Greek red, white and rosé wines. Most fall in the $20 range, plus a collection of splurge-worthy bottles if you’re feeling spendy. Affordability is relative, of course, so for the purposes of this collection, we defined a splurge as a wine that costs $40 or more.
The Best Greek White Wines
Anhydrous 2021 Santorini Assyrtiko (Santorini)
This translucent, golden wine isn’t overly aromatic, but it has juicy lemon and lime aromas alongside stony notes indicative of its volcanic origin. Those minerally, citrus-driven flavors continue on the slightly viscous palate whose texture hints at winemaking that includes inoculation with wild yeasts and time spent on its lees. The long, racy finish will have you reaching for your next glass. 91 Points — E.S.
Douloufakis 2021 Dafnios Vidiano (Crete)
From an esteemed Cretan winery comes this lemon-colored Vidiano, an ancient, near-extinct indigenous grape revitalized by historically minded producers like Douloufakis. It has bold lychee and cantaloupe aromas, followed by citrus and floral notes on the medium-bodied palate. Aged entirely in stainless steel, this food-friendly wine has a crisp, acidic finish. Best Buy. 91 Points — E.S.
Santo Wines 2021 Assyrtiko (Santorini)
From a prominent cooperative winery on sunny Santorini comes this inviting, zippy wine with bright lemon rind and floral aromas. It was vinified in stainless steel and sat for 14 months on its lees, giving the palate ripe, juicy tropical fruit flavors balanced by a flinty backbone. Pair it with salads, seafood and any and all grilled proteins. 91 Points — E.S.
The Best Greek Red Wines
Alexakis 2016 Red (Crete)
This sophisticated red wine from one of Crete’s largest family-run wineries blends Syrah with the island’s indigenous Kotsifali grape. Aromas of juicy raspberries and cranberries complement the baking-spice and vanilla aromas, demonstrating the one year the wine spent aging in French and American oak barrels before bottling. The structured palate has rich cherry and plum flavors plus velvety tannins. Best Buy. 90 Points — E.S.
Domaine Sigalas 2018 Mm Red (Cyclades)
A blend of two indigenous red wine grapes, Mavrotragano and Mandilaria, this burgundy-hued pour has a tart nose with cranberry and tangerine aromas. There’s pleasant acidity on the palate, and the bold tannins that can overpower some warm-climate reds have been softened by careful winemaking that includes stainless-steel vinification followed by several months in French oak. The resulting wine is bold but balanced, and would be an excellent partner for lamb, beef or roasted root vegetables. 90 Points — E.S.
Lyrarakis 2020 Liatiko (Crete)
Made from Crete’s Liatiko grapes grown at a 2,000-foot altitude, this lively red wine has black-cherry and blood orange aromas followed by hints of dried fennel seed. The tart, cranberry-centric palate is beautifully structured, with elegant tannins and a lasting finish. 90 Points — E.S.
Douloufakis 2019 Dafnios Liatiko (Crete)
Tart cranberry, currants, lemon rind and leather lead the palate of this dry red wine made from Crete’s Liatiko grape. The nose is subtle, with red fruits offset by sage and thyme. After vinification in stainless steel, it’s aged for nearly a year in French oak barrels. The results are grippy but well-integrated tannins on the long, almost savory finish. Best Buy. 89 Points — E.S.
Gaia Wines 2021 Notios Red (Peloponnese)
A blend of Syrah and Agiorgigitiko, an indigenous Greek grape, this dry red wine hails from the hills of Nemea, a region in the Peloponnese (its name means “the southerner” in Greek). While not very aromatic, the palate bursts with concentrated cranberry, raspberry and black pepper flavors. The wine is aged in French oak and that subtle and elegant influence provides roundness to the textured palate. A long finish combines bright acid and velvety tannins. Best Buy. 89 Points — E.S.
Skouras 2021 Saint George Agiorgitiko (Nemea)
Clove, thyme and dried fennel aromas complement fruity black-cherry notes on the nose of this Agiorgitiko from Skouras, a 1986 winery in the Nemea region of Greece’s Peloponnese. The light-bodied palate has ripe red and black fruits plus faint cinnamon flavors, indicative of the winemaking process: This wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged in old French barriques for a year. It then sits six more months in the bottle before release. The results are easy drinking and enjoyable, with balanced fruit and acid followed by velvety tannins on the long finish. 89 Points — E.S.
The Best Greek Rosé Wines
Domaine Papagiannakos 2021 Granatus Rosé (Attiki)
There’s a stony quality to the aromatic nose of this copper-colored rose made from Agiorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose has floral, papaya and juicy strawberry aromas offset by a few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper. The pleasantly round palate is rich with honeysuckle and ripe stone fruit, and is followed by a lingering, tart finish. 90 Points — E.S.
Mylonas 2021 Malagousia Mandilaria Rosé (Attica)
A blend of Malagousia and Mandilaria, this pale salmon-colored rosé from Attica has juicy summer peach aromas with floral undertones, plus a slight whiff of lemon zest. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine was left on its lees with frequent stirring, providing nuance to the finished pour. The palate is tart and balanced with a long, racy finish. 90 Points — E.S.
Domaine Costa Lazaridi 2022 Single Vineyard Rosé (Drama)
From a single vineyard of one of the most prominent estates in Northern Greece’s Drama region comes this pale salmon-colored rosé. A blend of indigenous Agiorgitiko grapes and international varieties Merlot and Grenache, the wine has ripe summer-peach aromas of tart lemon juice and delicate white flowers. The refreshing palate has zesty acidity and faintly herbal flavors offset by ripe red fruits and a long finish. 89 Points — E.S.
Skouras 2021 Peplo High Elevation Rosé (Peloponnese)
Equal-parts Agiorgitiko, Syrah and Mavrofilero comprise the mix of this salmon-colored pour from Peloponnese. All the grapes are grown on vineyards with nearly 2,000-foot elevation, and undergo an array of fermentation processes: the Agiorgitiko ages in acacia barrels; the Syrah on its lees in stainless steel; and Mavrofilero in amphora with skin contact for four months. The results are bright and balanced. It has tangerine, melon and floral aromas followed by papaya, melon, lemon pith and a touch of minerality on the palate. 89 Points — E.S.
Splurge-Worthy Greek Wines
Anhydrous 2021 Icon Assyrtiko (Santorini)
From 60-year-old vines on the volcanic shores of Santorini comes this beautifully structured Assyrtiko. The nose has lemon-zest aromas alongside minerally notes, both of which continue onto the bright, bracing palate that’s also accented with salinity. Made via spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts, the wine sits on its lees for nine months in a cement egg, gathering complexity and nuanced flavors. Drink now or age up to five years. 92 Points — E.S.
Gaia Wines 2021 Assyrtiko by Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko (Santorini)
This engaging Assyrtiko introduces itself with notes of sage and white pepper on the herbaceous nose, plus the faintest hints of vanilla thanks to fermentation in both stainless steel and acacia, French barrique and American oak barrels. There are lovely lemon pound cake flavors on the palate, with savory flavors and a citrus-driven finish that keeps perceptible sweetness beautifully balanced. It’s also vegan, in case that’s important to you or your drinking companions. 90 Points — E.S.
Skouras 2019 Megas Oenos Red (Peloponnese)
Cinnamon, allspice, cloves and other baking spice aromas give this Agiorgitiko-Cabernet Sauvignon blend the scent of fresh-baked gingerbread. The dry palate has grippy tannins and nicely integrated red fruit and orange rind. A long, tannic finish is offset by orange peel. Would be great with beef stew, roasted root vegetables and other hearty fare. 89 Points — E.S.
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All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
Last Updated: October 23, 2023