We are celebrating the Olympics today. The birth of the games which started a long time ago in 776 BC in the exquisite country of Greece. The games back then allowed for all the countries to compete. If at war a truce was enacted so that the athletes could travel in safety to participate. The Olympics today haven taken a 12 century sabbatical were rekindled in 1896 in Athens. Greece have now transitioned to a global competition. More than 80 countries at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ( out of 195 in the world) participated. We thought it would be fitting to find out more about the glorious country of Greece, the history of the games, the myths and legends, the culture, food and of course the wine.
It’s All Greek To Me! Greece. The Wine Ladies TV explore the wines of Greece with Boutari Santorini.
Joining us in studio to explore the origin and the history of the games and to bring the beautiful country of Greece alive for us we were honoured to welcome the Consul General of Greece, Dimitrius Azemopoulos. The ancient Greeks, the Consul General revealed to us, “knew that in order to have a healthy mind you need to have a healthy body.” That Greek philosophy is evident in the beautiful ancient nude statues celebrating the beauty of the body. In fact, stated Dimitrius, “the ancient Olympic athletes competed in the nude which was meant to showcase the form and beauty of a fit body often covered in olive oil for greater appearance of the body.” The Renaissance period , with its classical literature and mythology had a lot to do with the resurrection of the Olympic games.
Today we honour our athletes with gold, silver and bronze medals, but in ancient times the athletes were awarded an olive branch, much honoured throughout Greece, especially in the athlete’s home town, or large sums of money and prizes including vats of the famous Greek olive oil. “Although the truth , myth and legends are often intertwined or lost about the ancient Olympics, the spirit lives on”, noted Dimitrius.
Dionysus, one of the twelve Greek gods is the ancient Greek god of wine.
The inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy freeing one from one’s normal self, by madness, ecstasy or wine.“The wines of Greece have had an exceptional history, in fact the Roman nobility preferred the wines of Greece over those of Rome”, Giovanni Priorello from the Kolonaki Group revealed on the show. There is evidence of wine stored in clay jars as far back as 7000-5000 BC.
Grapes are grown in all parts of Greece, including Macedonia and Thrace, Peloponnessos, Ionian Islands Cyclades ( which includes Santorini) With over 300 grape varieties planted in Greece, the country has a vast diversity of climates throughout from the coolver vineyards in the mountains of Pelopennese to the intense heat such as Crete and Rhodes where the grapes are picked in July. Giovanni stated that, “where before Greek wines were often used as just a house wine, now they are exceptional wine lists made with the wines of Greece”. Wines we tasted on the show available through the Kolonaki Group
1.2008 Boutari Santorini ($16.95) is a wine with a brilliant, pale yellow colour and a pleasant distinctive aroma of exotic fruits. A fatty wine with a very good balance, full taste and long aromatic aftertaste.
2. 2008 Boutari Moschofilero ($14.40) LCBO general list Moschofilero Boutari presents a brilliant, crystal-clear, white yellow colour with grayish tints. A fresh wine with intense floral and fruity aromas, dominated by the aromas of white rose, melon and citrus trees. A well-balanced fresh wine, with intense flavour and long aromatic aftertaste (orange blossom, grapefruit).
3. Boutari Agiorgitiko ($12.95) LCBO general list. Deep ruby colour and intense aroma of red fruits marmalade, berry, cherry, accompanied by sweet ageing aroma. On the pallet the wine gives a velvet taste with good structure. Round and fatty with flavours of chocolate, honey and dry nuts.
4. 2004 Boutari Grand Reserve Naoussa ($18.00). A wine with deep red colour, typical aromatic character of Xinomavro, cedar, olive, tomato juice, spices and mint. In mouth it is balanced full-bodied with good acidity and sweet flavor of vanilla, cocoa, berry surrounded by the oak barrel.
The proprietor Tony Pethakas of Mezes Restaurant which means a “selection of appetizers” brought in the classic Greek cuisine including Spanakopita ( spinach phyllo pastry, Dolmathes (stuffed green vine leaves), grilled shrimp and lamb chops. This style of cuisine represents the idea of a selection of appetizers or small dishes to taste, nibble and share with friends and family. The food was delicious, refreshing and wonderful with the wines. Opa!