Greek wines have an uphill battle to climb here. The country had a history of oxidized and resinous whites, along with pruny, dull reds. The local grape varieties aren’t exactly well-known outside of their home country, and Greek wineries don’t help themselves much with labeling that often combines Greek and English. But ultimately, quality is in the bottle, and if the wines can be as good as the Christoforos Pavlidis Drama Thema White 2008—for only $19—it won’t take long for savvy consumers to catch on.
Christoforos Pavlidis is a young winery, founded in 1998, and this white is fermented in stainless steel and then aged for three months on its lees (the sediment remaining after fermentation) for added texture. The Drama Thema blends the indigenous Assyrtiko grape with 60 percent Sauvignon Blanc—and the tired, resinous style of old Greek whites is nowhere in sight. The 2008 wine is bright and tangy, with racy citrus peel, tarragon and chive flavors backed by a mouthwatering finish. it cut like a knife through some lightly breaded chicken cutlets that had a dusting of piri-piri on them (a small, hot pepper used frequently in Portuguese and African cuisine). A delicious 89 points, non-blind, and a hopeful sign for Greek wine.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Greek wines with very good and outstanding ratings.