Brand-new Lon­don wine fes­ti­val show­cases made-in-Greece la­bels

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY RICHARD VINES

The plea­sures of Greek wines have passed most of us by in the UK, where sales are dom­i­nated by Aus­tralia, France and Italy.

Greece doesn’t even come near the top 10, which also fea­tures the US, Spain, South Africa, Chile, New Zealand, Ger­many and Ar­gentina, ac­cord­ing to the Wine and Spirit Trade As­so­ci­a­tion.

The first Lon­don Greek Wine Fes­ti­val, to­day and to­mor­row, of­fers a chance to get to know grape va­ri­eties such as As­syr­tiko and Malagou­sia, which are slowly gain­ing at­ten­tion in Lon­don.

Greece is gain­ing from a tiny base. Wine ex­ports to the UK in the first seven months of this year surged 64 per­cent from a year ear­lier to 1.94 mil­lion pounds ($2.95 mil­lion). Sales in 2014 were up 24 per­cent from a year ear­lier at 2.18 mil­lion pounds. That’s barely a drop in the 15bil­lion-pound Bri­tish wine mar­ket that year, ac­cord­ing to Euromon­i­tor.

Nonethe­less, some va­ri­eties now make it onto Lon­don wine lists, in­clud­ing that of the Ivy, where 2014 Hatzi- dakis As­syr­tiko pounds.

“Greek wine is re­ally, re­ally in­ter­est­ing and dis­tinc­tive,” Master of Wine Jan­cis Robin­son says. “There are fan­tas­ti­cally var­ied re­gions and nat­u­ral ter­roirs: All those great is­lands with their own char­ac­ter.”

The fes­ti­val is tak­ing place near King’s Cross, cen­tered on King’s Place and the Greek Larder. That’s the es­tab­lish­ment of fes­ti­val founder Theodore Kyr­i­akou, best known as cre­ator of the the Real Greek res­tau­rant, which has grown into a chain since he sold it.

The fes­ti­val in­cludes talks and tast­ings, plus match­ings of food and wine and a pop-up wine bar.

“I love As­syr­tiko,” says Robin­son, who is an am­bas­sador for the fes­ti­val. “It’s in­dige­nous to the is­land of San­torini, which it­self is a lovely place. It’s amaz­ing that it can pro­duce such a re­fresh­ing wine so far south.

“Greek wine has got bet­ter and bet­ter,” she says. “And the wine that peo­ple bother to im­port is of a very high stan­dard. You don’t find Greek plonk here. It’s got to be good.”




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