What’s Ancient is Modern: Greek Wine Seminar

The Boston Wine Expo, one of the best known wine events in the US, took place at the Seaport World Trade Center this past Sunday. Prior to the expo, I received an email from my friend Constance, who does the PR for Austrian and Greek wines, asking if I wanted to attend a seminar on Greek wine at the event.

When I checked out the details and saw that the seminar leader was Doug Frost MS/MW, one of three people in the world to carry both Master Sommelier and Master of Wine certifications, I knew that I had to attend.

After Sunday brunch at the Langham, I took a leisurely freezing and brisk walk over to the Seaport Hotel, where I warmed up with a pot of tea with my husband before heading  over to the expo area.

The seminar room was set up as wine seminars are, with glasses of wine in marked areas on a placemat.

wines of Greece

Literature about Greek wine, complete with absolutely gorgeous, jealousy-inspiring photos of Greece, were on each place, along with a sheet for tasting notes.

Greek wine

And of course, tasty water crackers for palate cleansing between each taste.

palate cleanser

The seminar started with a brief introduction of Doug Frost, and then we launched right into the tasting. Right off the bat, he told us to start drinking the whites while he gave us an overview of Greek wine, its history, and some of the challenges that Greece faces, such as a very dry climate and extremely limited ability to irrigate, due to EU regulations.

While Doug spoke, I got to work utilizing my wine school knowledge Smile

Wine #1 – Spiropoulos Mantinia 2009, 100% Moschofilero (grape), Region: Peloponnese

The Moschofilero had a coppery, almost rusty color with a slightly sweet and intensely floral nose. Not in a perfume-y way, just really fresh and beautiful. This wine had a pretty high acidity, such that it made my mouth water for quite awhile. I absolutely loved it. Doug mentioned grilled octopus with this wine, and now I can’t stop thinking of myself eating outside somewhere warm and sunny with a chilled glass of Moschofilero and a big plate of grilled seafood.

Wine #2 – Sigalas Santorini 2009, 100% Assyrtiko (grape), Region: Island of Santorini

I have tasted Assyrtiko in the past and have had some mixed feelings about it. This particular Assyrtiko had a lovely lemon yellow color, but it was the nose that really turned me off. It had mineral smell, almost like salt water that I interpreted as a little fishy. Maybe it was my glass? I did like the acidity with the wine, but I really could not get past the smell. It was a little too much for me.

Moschofilero assyrtiko
Xinomavaro Agiorgitiko

Wine #3 – Boutari Naoussa Grande Reserve 2004, 100% Xinomavaro (grape), Region: Macedonia

I can’t decide which of the reds I liked more as I really enjoyed them both. The Xinomavaro was a deep red color with a hint of rust on the rim and both a nose and flavors of stewed/dried fruits. Yum.

Wine #4 – Skouras Grand Cuvee 2007, 100% Agiorgitiko, Region: Peloponnese

The Agiorgitiko (say that 3 times fast) was a more elegant wine that we actually tasted third instead of fourth as it was on the tasting sheet. While the Xinomavaro had a more rustic, hearty feel to it, this wine was much smoother with a bit of spiciness.

Greek wine seminar

Doug Frost MS MW

While he talked and we tasted, Doug also passed out stones from Greece to show us the unique terrain these wines are growing in. It was very interesting to hold the stones and to SMELL them and then smell the wines. Indeed, the nose of the Assyrtiko smelled like rocks. But was still a little fishy to me Smile

volcanic rock

Overall, the seminar was incredibly interesting, and Doug Frost was an incredibly fun moderator, encouraging the audience to interact and to share why we liked or did not like the wines. I am definitely going to be looking for Greek wines, especially the Moschofilero, the next time I am shopping for wine.

My walk back to South Station was just something I had to share. It was absolutely frigid, but the light was so beautiful, one of the things that makes those winter nights a little more bearable.

Fort Point Boston

On a side note, I did not go to the Boston Wine Expo Grand Tasting, but it looked absolutely bananas! The lines were super long, and the bottleneck of people trying to get in was insane. There were also a lot of pretty drunk people. While I would definitely try to check out more of the seminars, which are in small conference rooms, I don’t know that I would try to attend the larger portion of the event.

Have you ever been to an event like the Boston Wine Expo or other tasting and discovered a new wine?

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Tags: Agiorgitiko, Assyrtiko, Boston wine, Boston Wine Expo, Doug Frost MS MW, Greek wine, Moschofilero, wine, wine class, wine seminar, wine tasting, Xinomavaro

  1. Jason Phelps’s avatar

    I tasted all the Greek wines at the Wine Riot in October. I was very happy I did since I had never had any experience with wines from the country. My overall impression was a clear recognition of the difference between the well known grape types transplanted to a workable climate versus indigenous grapes made in a culturaly traditional way (Greece). I was definitely challenged by the different aromas and flavors but would certainly return again with food in hand to see where the wines would take me!



  2. Emily’s avatar

    I never thought of Greece as being home to many wines but tried a wonderful Xinomavro / Syrah at Oleana last weekend that was phenomenal. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for my Greek wines!


  3. Michelle’s avatar

    I have a hard time with crowds so I’ve actually never been to the Boston Wine Expo.


  4. Daisy’s avatar

    what a cool seminar! the line” “…..grilled octopus with this wine, and now I can’t stop thinking of myself eating outside somewhere warm and sunny with a chilled glass of Moschofilero and a big plate of grilled seafood” literally transports me back to Greece.


  5. Megan’s avatar

    I love that view. It’s even gorgeous at 5:45 am. :)

    I discovered Rook at the Second Glass Wine Riot.


  6. Elizabeth’s avatar

    Amen to winter light. On days when I’m shivering in my apt, I just look out the window and have to marvel at the gorgeously brilliant sunset


  7. alicia’s avatar

    I’ve never attended a wine seminar, but I think I’d like it. I love learning about the different subtleties of flavor in wine – and I hate crowds. :)


  8. Kelly’s avatar

    I’ve never actually tried Greek wine I don’t think, which is weird but I don’t think I had any wine when I was in Greece even. Now I want to.

    The wine expo seems a little crazy to me. I’d probably do the small seminar like you did, but the big thing just seems like a lot of money to wait in lines, maybe its just me though.


  9. Shani’s avatar

    I’ve been to the Sigalas winery, and while I didn’t mind their Vin Santo, the Assyrtiko was really hard to appreciate.


  10. Raija’s avatar

    How did you go from low traffic to high traffic this month! I hope it was all of my visiting :)


  11. Raija’s avatar

    Oh wait…500 left…I get it. It was the lame month of January afterall…I need to do a better job.


  12. Leeanne’s avatar

    We went to Sigalas and Boutari wineries when we were in Santorini. I like Assyrtiko a lot, but I do think it tastes better in Greece.


  13. ashleigh’s avatar

    I love that last photograph! I haven’t been to an event like that because they are always so expensive. I usually pop into wine tastings every now and then though to try and find some new wines to like.


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