Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Can you tell me about Greece’s Muscat of Patras wines? Are they made with sun-dried grapes?
—Anthony, Virginia Beach, Va.
Patras is a wine region on the northern coast of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. Muscat of Patras is not typically made from dried grapes. Rather, the Muscat grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and fortified with a spirit made from distilled wine. The resulting fortified wine showcases a mix of dried fruits and nutty notes, sometimes with an appealing resinous thread.
But there is another dessert wine from the Patras region, made from the red Mavrodaphne grape. Traditional Mavrodaphne of Patras is made by sun-drying the grapes to concentrate the flavors, or fermenting the grapes in large, sun-exposed vats. Mavrodaphne of Patras is also fortified with a spirit (sometimes distilled from previous vintages) and the wine is barrel-aged and blended across vintages via a solera system.