Greek mythology has long been synonymous with wine. Any allusion to the drink conjures up an image of a reclining Dionysus, seductively dangling a bunch of grapes. However, despite its long history and pedigree, modern Greek winemaking is still generally overlooked. This is primarily because bounties of Greek vineyards produce an enormous variety of styles in very small volumes.
Tourists visiting Greece discover that the country is home to a gamut of indigenous grapes thanks to its ranged climate, but they can rarely source the local wines outside of the country. Enter The Wine God, a subscription box club that exclusively focuses on Greek wines, promising to take subscribers on a journey of discovery around a winemaking region of Greece or to introduce them to a specific native style of wine.
Every box contains either three or six full-sized bottles and corresponding information cards. The box boasts the best wines available to correspond with a designated theme, all handpicked and assembled to showcase the finest examples. The Wine God aims to encourage discovery without any snobbery- the information cards are intended to inform, but the focus entirely remains on the enjoyment of new flavours, aromas and styles.
As the bottles correspond with a single theme, they can arrive as either whites, reds or a mix of both and might include prestigious, award-winning or organic varieties. I received a box of Peloponnese Classics, which is one of the most historic winemaking regions in Greece. This included three bottles: a dry red, white and rosé. Demonstrating some divine benevolence, the team at The Wine God also threw in a complimentary bottle of sparking rosé because I was a new subscriber!
The Wine God- Peloponnese Classics Unboxed:
- One bottle of Nemea from Estate Papaioannou (dry red)
- One bottle of Mantinia from Ktima Tselepos (dry white)
- One bottle of Cuvée Prestige Rosé from Domaine Skouras (dry rosé)
- One complimentary bottle of Lady Frosyni from Domaine Glinavos (semi-sparkling)
- Information cards
The bottles arrived in sturdy packaging, each one safely enclosed in a cardboard sleeve. The likelihood of breakage is negligible, as the sleeves are snuggly encased in another large box. The information cards arrive neatly tied together with a ribbon- they are postcard sized and printed on robust card. Each one has a photograph of the wine bottle alongside information, tasting notes, suggested serving temperature and food pairings. On the reverse of each card is trivia pertinent to the region, bottle and an overview of the awards the bottle has received.
The Nemea was the perfect initiation to Greek winemaking- a 2010 vintage ruby red from Estate Papaioannou. The wine is made from the St George (Agiorgitiko) grape variety, grown in the Nemea region, which is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). The diverse climate across the region lends a rich complexity to the wine- it’s well-balanced and velvety. I tend to favour lighter reds and this agreed with me- it had a spicy, jammy nose, but sung with notes of vanilla, caramel and a whisper of oak on the palate. This is a wine that marries well with hearty meals- red meat and casseroles are suggested. It’s also organic- Estate Papaioannou is noted to have won the Gold Berlin Wein Trophy for Best Producer in Organic Farming in 2013.
Moving on to a white, the Mantinia from Ktima Tselepos is a 2015 vintage dry wine made from Moschofilero grapes. These are grown in a high, mountainous altitude across Mantinia, another PDO region. This is a bright wine with a light to medium body- it has a clean finish and evokes an image of Greek scenery awash with sunlight. It’s a perfect crisp afternoon indulgence, very floral on the nose with hints of citrus on the palate. I wasn’t surprised to discover that the Tselepos winery was awarded Winery of the Year in 2012 by Spirits Magazine based on this bottle.
The Cuvée Prestige Rosé from Domaine Skouras had an alluring pink tone that provoked intrigue- I’m generally divided on rosé, preferring dry variations. This bottle is a 2015 vintage and it didn’t disappoint- an acidic sharpness tempered the abundance of fruit notes. This is a fantastic rosé that could effortlessly be paired with chicken and pasta dishes. I was interested to note the grapes used in its production, namely St George and Moschofilero- two varieties that I was now familiar with. Another bottle with a strong pedigree, this rosé won Gold for Greece in the Thessaloniki International Wine Competition in both 2015 and 2014.
Finally, as I was so enchanted by my epicurean journey through the Peloponnese, I will also note my impressions of the fourth bottle that was graciously included in my selection by The Wine God team: the Lady Frosyni from Domaine Glinavos. In an attractive bottle with a contemporary label design, this semi-sparkling wine shone with a bright pink hue. From a 2013 vintage, it was described as semi-sweet example made from Debina and Bekari grapes from PDO Zitsa in Northwest Greece. Undoubtedly visually appealing, the wine followed up with a light, breezy profile with tasting notes of red and yellow fruits with notes of sweet caramel and slightly floral on the nose. This is a good wine to accompany desserts; the tasting card even recommends paring it with rich appetizers. Interestingly, this region is one of the few areas in Greece where sparkling wines are produced- so if you find yourself drinking one, it’s likely from the region of Zitsa.
Not being a connoisseur of wines, the concept behind The Wine God appeals to me- especially as I would have never come across this collection of Greek wines on my own. The quality of each bottle demonstrated the effort that the team have put into their selection process. Anyone with an interest in drinking decent wine, either generally or experimentally, will enjoy a subscription to The Wine God. The quality of each bottle was indisputable- I enjoyed each style because they had a dry and complex profile; I also found the corresponding information cards helpful to glean an understanding of the region, the vineyard and the climate that contributes to wine production in the Peloponnese.
For 49€ plus shipping, subscribers receive three bottles of wine at the entry level (or 79€ plus shipping for the premium level). Six bottles are available at 99€ plus shipping, or 139€ plus shipping for the premium selection. Given that each of the three bottles included in the box fall into approximately a £16 price point, I felt that The Wine God offers great value for a curated tour around a region of a country with a rich history of winemaking. Given the exclusivity of some of these wines, as Greek vineyards are underrepresented- this is a unique opportunity to access small vineyards and uncommon styles.
There’s no need to travel to Greece to enjoy a dynamic glass of wine- let divine intervention be your guide and consider a subscription to The Wine God instead. If you close your eyes, a sip from your glass will transport you to mountainous terroirs- or perhaps a Greek coastline where the Mediterranean sun beats down- with wafting aromas of florals, fruits and sweet spices hanging in the air.
The Wine Gods are benevolent indeed.