Easter wine & food. What’s your ideal pairing?

Complete tips from a foodie to have great Easter times

The most traditional celebration of Greece will take place within city walls for another year. For those of us, less fortunate, this is certainly not a problem since there is alternative solution to rooftop, veranda and anywhere else we can set up a spit.

We prepared a short list, with 5 + 1 tips for the dishes of Easter Sunday, in order to avoid the worries of these days. One thing is for sure, that it will be enjoyable even if we don’t go to our favorite destinations.

Pies with aromatic spring herbs:

Necessary while the grill meat is being prepared. Look for intensely herbal whites such as a dry Muscat or a Malvasia Aromatica. Alternatively try a gifted, with complexity Orange wine, from an aromatic variety.


If you are dizzy from hot spit turning, it’s time for a cold glass of wine and a fancy salad. Plenty of ingredients and recipes, while even more the combinations to choose for. Select lively wines with acidity as the aim here is freshness. A mountainous Roditis, an explosive Sicilian or any Provence style rosé will meet the challenge.

Lamb – Goat on the spit and / or in the oven:

If you are a by-the-book type of person, make the safe choice with a Xinomavro or blend like a Goumenissa but also a well-structured Aglianico for the most initiated. Whether you belong to daring ones who match them with white (like the signatory), try a full bodied wine with complexity and sufficient acidity, such as Zakynthino, a five-year-old Santorini or even a barrel ageing Rioja.


Even if oven-baked, its strong spicy and rustic profile, hungers for a rich but juicy red to bring overall balance. A fresh dry Mavrodafni, a Limniona, or a young Touriga will carry out this task.

Easter sweet bread in syrup stuffed with cream:

Pick an excessively but relative in acidity slightly aged Muscat, or a sweet Vouvray to close in epic manner the Easter food.

Extra tip: Considering it is hard to avoid snacking while preparing the above, fill your glasses with a dry sparkling or a smooth Retsina for spreads, eggs and anything else that whets your appetite.

Wines to choose for Clean Monday!

A day dedicated to seafood snacking. In the wake of Swan Thursday, we safely approach this year on Clean Monday. Leaving behind us all the sinful habits of the previous days we move forward to open the Lent period.

Given that we must forget what we knew i.e., a table with food treasures by the sea etc, it’s time to roll up our sleeves…

In our “luggage”, the relaxation of the day and our spring mood will take care of all the consequences. Relaxing, is rather an exception for anyone who will undertake the sacred duty of searching for the good raw material, but also for the one who’ll take care to feed them all. In the case that same person also takes over the wine, then the situation is being complicated and becomes more enjoyable.

Let’s make things easier so that you don’t have nightmares for two days because of anxiety. After all, this is the goal of this article since we have been in relaxing mood. Whatever you choose from the seabed, surely you’ll find plenty of options to ensure a perfect result. Below are some suggestions/ideas that will help tame of these multi-collection dishes.

Some people say that if you have fish roe spread, stuffed vine leaves and freshly baked flatbread, you’re the happiest in the world. Some others prefer to prepare an endless table. Whatever your style is, get ideas from the following and find the ideal wine no matter what you are going to prepare for this occasion.

Fine fish roe spread. A perfect case for Retsina. The majority of this style will tame of the rustic taste of seafood eggs. An Orange wine or a Manzanilla Sherry will be an alternative choice for the most initiated.

Raw shells and clams variety. The point here is the high acidity, which will balance their iodine feeling next to a brut traditional method sparkling. First choice is the excellent local bottles to try, but also those from Loire valley. For cosmopolitans there is always the option of Champagne.

Squids and/or shrimps tempura. All time classic treat. The characteristic oiliness of the frying requires, beyond a classic and relatively light Assyrtiko, a fine Robola or an Albarino (if you can find any) to balance the greasy sensation.

Big grilled squid. Necessary condition is to be about a kilo of each one to enjoy it with your soul. A fragrant, with a sweet touch olive oil (extra virgin for sure), lemon and freshly ground pepper is an ode to sea flavor. A lemony and salty Santorini, a top-notch Vouvray or a white Etna are capable to offer memorable moments.

What about rose wines?? Obviously they deserve a place at this table. Seafood cooked with or without pasta in light tomato sauces will work perfectly with well-structured ripe rosé including fulfilling acidity. Aged Xinomavro, Limniona and Syrah-blend are some of the options. 

Special Occasion: For the wealthy ones, who will prefer to throw instead of a kite, the unique tasty shellfish (including scorpion fish) on the grill, the choice of a rich white with intricate oak is an absolute must. A Zakynthino or a 3-year-old Nykteri, a 1er Cru Burgundy or a first-class Pinot Bianco will give a stylish touch to this tasteful frame.

Extra Tip #1: The rawer the material the more acidity and freshness is needed.

Extra Tip #2: For the unrepentant spirit drinkers there are highly acclaimed grape spirits and ouzo.

Natural wines! How real are they?

It seems that more and more consumers are seeking and trying everything new from the most talked-about scene in the world of wine. But I realize that you have the same query as the signatory, since until recently it wasn’t officially clear, even in bibliography, who and what exactly defines a wine as natural.

Are low interventions the next global trend in the Wine World?

In the above case we are not dealing with fashions and styles, but with a phenomenon that may indicate a return to the past. Let me remind you here that the specific philosophy of “natural winemaking” has deep roots in Slovenia and Georgia who held the flag high with excellent samples to try. Of course, they have not been highly acclaimed and were lost in time, either because they were “few against many”, or because their strange taste profile concerned specific palates.

But what happens when the “natural” phenomenon takes shape?

It took a decade of patience, with wine producers insist on a vested framework for defining this category. The French Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with INAO (Institute National des Appellations d’Origin) gave the “green light” to be certified and officially recognized as “Vin Methode Nature” (VmN). In order for a wine to categorize as natural (according to recent regulations) the following required: certified organic or biodynamic cultivation, manual harvesting and use of indigenous yeasts.

Among those mentioned in the protocol, particular emphasis is given to sulfites which should either be zero or have a maximum of 30 mg/l and only before bottling. Therefore, they are defined as VmN sans sulfites ajoutés and VmN <30 mg/l de sulfites ajoutés respectively. Finally, it is worth noting that the whole process will be re-evaluated in the near future after a three-year trial period.

Many dared to, but they didn’t get the desired result.

Don’t forget that the practices and the production methods that are followed often have a certain risk for the final result in our glass. But those who faithfully walk this difficult path, their choice justified them and receive the recognition they deserve.

So don’t be hesitant about choosing natural wines. Sometimes they may be appeared a little blurry, or may need a little more time. Consult, try and enjoy!

The only sure thing is that they express a different approach and seal inside them a part of creator’s soul and history. 

Hatzidakis Winery Goes Vegan

A Vegan Friendly Santorini

The Hatzidaki family winery is one of the pioneers who designed and implemented low intervention practices and the Vegan / Vegetarian certification was the next step in the evolution of the estate’s wines.

The importance of certification

Very few wineries in our country are Vegan / Vegetarian certified. A process that particularly delights the vegetarian community, allow those who belong to it to have access to products of non-animal provenance. Practically this means that no substance of animal origin is used, at any stage of the production process and especially in that of clarification. It should be noted here that in some wineries the specific phase of winemaking is completely bypassed. They follow alternative methods that, after the relevant checks, will allow them to bear the specific certification mark on the label.

But how clarification is achieved?

From the first steps of the winery’s operation, they apply organic protocol always respecting the land. Dedicated to the raw material, they use indigenous yeasts and do bottling without filtration. Therefore formulations such as egg albumin, casein and gelatin obviously could not have a place in future winemaking. Thus an extended duration of stabilization in the tank, at particularly low temperatures, comes to seal the result to achieve the above process.

Therefore, regardless of eating habits and the taste preferences of people, Hatzidakis family gives the opportunity to a growing category of consumers to enjoy their creations.

We officially welcome Hatzidakis winery to the domestic Vegan Society

Spanish Wine Virtual Tasting

Two days before the 2nd lockdown was imposed to us, we had the opportunity to taste Spanish wines, the majority of which are not imported to Greece. Obviously we didn’t gather in a central hotel or a restaurant as we would have done in the pre-Covid era. But there are some entities or rather some people who find alternative ways to make us happy trying new things. Credits given to Spanish Embassy and specifically its enterprising commercial department that provided us with ten wines to try. So everyone was able to try them in his place and watch the whole presentation via his computer. The wines covered almost all categories of Spanish vineyard, except Sherry. We started with two Cavas, continued with three whites and ended up with five reds. Below are the wines in the order they were tasted.

Parxet Cuvee 21 Ecologico 2018 D.O. CAVA (Imported from All About Wines)

Beautiful foam in the glass, with gentle secondary aromas, that testify the short stay with the yeasts. Soft, slightly oily mouth feeling that makes this sparkling flexible even for brunch.

Laieta Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2016 Alta Alella D.O. CAVA

Typical bread crust aromas, with ripe fruit, result of 30 months aging with the lees. Dry creamy texture, with sharp acidity, that gives the wine freshness. The fine bubbles and length add extra points to a high performance set.

Sapientia Verdejo Ecologico 2018 El Lagar de Moha D.O.P Rueda

Next stop is Rueda and the Verdejo grape that emerges as one of the key strength of Spanish vineyard. Not unfairly after giving us gracious aromas of pear, nectarine and pepper in a fine body. Stone fruit with discreetly oily finish that composes a profile worthy of domestic reds.

Turonia 2019 Albarino 2019 Quinta Couselo D.O. Rias Baixas

There is no tasting of Spanish wines without Albarino since we are talking about the most important white variety of the Iberian Peninsula, which in our case appeared introverted with full of citrus aromas on the nose. Although quite young in the mouth, it has intensity, acidity and complexity that will reward in 2-3 years those who know to wait for the white wines.

Ciclic Blanc 2015 Garnacha Blanca Lagravera D.O.P. Costers del Segre

This variety gives great examples in the French South, known mainly for red wines. Here it is introduced to us in its white version and is expressed through great intensities and taste depth. Maturity combined with a slightly mineral feel puts Spain on the world map of variety and shows us a different face.

Rioja Crianza 2016 Ramon Bilbao (Imported from KP Spirits)

The first red wine comes from the country’s most famous region, enriched with earthy-herbal aromas, exuberant oaky flavors and tannins that reflect an older style.

Purgatori 2017 Familia Torres D.O. Costers del Segre (Imported from GENKA Commercial)

The distinguished Torres winery presents a wine with plenty of black fruit, dried herbs and finely crafted tannins, to celebrate its 150 years of existence. Purgatori is a remarkable representative of its Catalan origin that fully highlights the character of the Carinena and Garnacha varieties.

Partal Cepas Viejas 2017 Monastrell Bodega Balcona D.O.P. Bullas

Spain is full of hidden treasures and one of them from Valencia comes to our glasses. Monastrell (Mourvedre), also known from the “GSM” blend, gives us a generously sweet spice, pleasant animal character and few but somewhat unripe tannins.

Tinto 2015 Casa La Rad D.O.Ca Rioja

The second Rioja of this tasting set consists of three more varieties in addition to Tempranillo with Garnacha as the main one. In the mouth the spicy fruit flirts with the juicy tannins, with the acidity contributing to the balance. A wine full of energy, with a high concentration that reflects the formality of the country’s most famous wine region.

Vina Pedrosa Reserva 2016 Perez Pasquas D.O. Ribera Del Duero

Spain’s most sought-after region could not be missing from this line-up. The wines are characterized by generous dark fruit, oak intensity, and rich body just like in the case of Vina Pedrosa which retains all the above taste elements to a great extent.

We hope to have such opportunities in the future, even virtually, to further enrich our knowledge of a country that is undoubtedly extremely important for gastronomy and the wine industry. Until then Viva Espana !!!

Wines from the ‘’White Soil’’

….Somewhere in 500 BC in Andalusia-SW of Spain, the first samples of wine making made their appearance (consider that flamenco was first mentioned in the literature in 1774). Topographically, Andalusia is entrapped by the Atlantic to the west and the Mediterranean to the east. It dominates the wine interest in the country’s south with a focus on fortified wines from Jerez city.

But why the Jerez vineyard is of strategic importance?

This happens for three principal reasons. First, the “albariza” soil with chalky composition that has the ability to retain water from winter rainfall in order to feed the plant during the dry season. Secondly, a multidimensional variety Palomino that makes many different wine styles. Third and most important the influence of the Atlantic, a crucial element for the development of “flor” (a thick layer of natural yeasts, that is created on the surface of the wine inside the barrel and protects it from oxygen).

All above lay the foundations for a Truly Mediterranean wine, but the sequel becomes even more interesting.

Regarding its production-aging, read as much as you please. Briefly, Sherry is vinified like a white wine. It is then fortified with alcohol and transferred to barrels for aging where it becomes more complicated. A method called Solera* (described at the end of the article) will take care of transforming the unruly young man into a gentleman with a strong personality thanks to flor.

The Spaniards are proud of being able to produce wine through this intricate process for over two thousand years and we are happy to have all the Mediterranean temperament in one glass.

Main categories, flavor profiles and combinations

P.S. If all above suggestions don’t fulfill your taste, just put a few olives, almonds and walnuts on a plate, some salt-preserved fish, a few cherry tomatoes and enjoy a glass of sherry without any guilt …….SALUT!!!!!

Solera* Simply put, a stack of barrels where the top row contains the newest wine and the last the oldest. The quantity that will leave the older barrel each year for bottling will be supplemented with a newer one and so on…..