A Public Service Announcement for Northern Greece
So, although the season is not nearly over, as the 95-degree temps here in Boston will quickly inform you, I feel a lot like my summer has already wrapped up nicely. You see, I had the pleasure of going to Greece not once, but twice this summer. Once in June and again in July. I visited a bunch of wineries and tasted more wine in a few weeks than most people drink in a year. Now before you start sending hate mail to the editor, understand there is no editor, your complaints will just go to me, and I will simply chuckle as I read them and drink Malagousia. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
These were trips to wineries and although they are a blast, they are also not sitting on the beach drinking cocktails and tasting wine at one’s leisure. There are schedules, appointments, and meetings that must be attended, notes to be taken, and in general more work than you would imagine at first blush. Yes, it is not digging ditches but the difference between a casual visit to a winery and a professional one is significant. (I know you still hate me, keep those letters coming)
I wanted to just jot down a few quick notes about my trip and hope that aside from inspiring you to loathe me, it would motivate you to get off to Greece and visit a winery or two.
First, go north. Northern Greece you say? Pray tell. Now of course everybody loves Athens and for good reason. The Peloponnesos is sublime. The islands of the southern part of the nation are postcard perfect. That is all well and good, but the north of Greece is another world, and the wineries are stop-you-in-your-tracks incredible. I was drunk on beauty the whole time I was there, not fermented grape juice. I was in northern Greece from the east in Serres to western island of Corfu and everywhere in between and I have never had such an enlightening and absorbing time. Northern Greece is where it is at kids, trust Pappou Evan.
Second, while in the north, eat everything. If it is put in front of you, stuff it in your face and be prepared for bliss. The cuisine in northern Greece is so diverse, so multidimensional, and hyper-regional that you will have cuisine that will change mile by mile, village by village. You could eat your way across northern Greece a hundred times, and it would be different each one. Bonus, I ate like a death row prisoner on his last meal and did not gain weight. Double win.
Third and finally, DRINK EVERYTHING YOU CAN FIND. The wines of northern Greece are just pitch perfect. I am surprised I can see straight from my eyes rolling back in my head over and over at wineries across the north. The work being done by these brilliant wine makers and grape growers is worthy of a standing ovation. They are all working organically, letting the grapes grow in harmony with nature, and making wines that honor history that is thousands of years old. You will experience grapes you have never heard of, (Koniaros or Moschomavro anyone?) taste flavors alien to most palates and find wines that will change your worldview wine wise.
So, get your wine-loving self to northern Greece, your soul will thank you. And if you have lost your soul, northern Greece will bring it back to you.