How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love Agiorgitiko
Boy was I biased. Downright prejudiced really. I had always been a lover of the Greek grape Xinomavro. It was the underdog, the plucky grape that could. Xinomavro is the second most widely planted red grape in Greece behind Agiorgitiko and I hated Agiorgitiko for it. Agiorgitiko was in first and in my mind did not deserve it. Agiorgitiko was boring, a crowd pleaser, was easy going, and when translated to English had the lamest name ever, Saint George. Xinomavro was sophisticated, temperamental and had a great name: Acid-Black, kind of like a superhero. Xinomavro had Rizz, like all the kids say.
Still, Agiorgitiko was there in first and had lots of proponents. Some wine folks who I respected dearly loved Agiorgitiko and felt it was the grape to bring Greece to red wine prominence. The grape that would get every red wine drinker turned on to Greek reds would be Agiorgitiko they exclaimed. I was having none of it.
To me, Agiorgitiko was all wrong because it was a grape for all, capable of a wide range styles and flavours. I wanted a grape that was more exclusive, more niche.
I was all wrong.
I reluctantly decided to start tasting Agiorgitiko again and see what the fuss was about, and to my dismay then wonder, I was impressed.
The boring, mainstream wines I had dismissed were simply nowhere to be found. Modern Agiorgitiko is nuanced, balanced, and diverse with wines that run the gamut from light and refined to lush and opulent. Producers such as Troupis, Skouras, Aivalis, and Parparoussis are making fantastic wines that simply must be tasted to be believed. So, get out there and taste them. Agiorgitiko is stellar stuff and coming from me, that is saying an awful lot.
Xinomavro still holds my heart, but Agiorgitiko is all in my head right now.