“… or with virtue. But get drunk”
as Charles Baudelaire said and I couldn’t agree more. However, drinking is not always about getting drunk and this is what I will show you today following an amazing wine and dine experience we had at the Blackadder Pub last week.
We were invited in a Wine & Food pairing event at The Blackadder Pub, one of my favorite locals (if u can call it that)which was all about the different spirit and food combinations.
Guided by Kosmas Sarakinis, a former wine bar owner and wine connoisseur, we learned about the different things we should pay attention to when choosing a wine: colour, smell, taste and aftertaste.
Upon opening a wine at home or ordering one when dining out, the cork should be sniffed for any bad smells, the colour should be nice and clear and the wine should be consistent with its place of origin and the grape variety/ies.
Introducing Greek Wines
Three out of the four wines we tried were from Zafeirakis estate. The Zafeirakis family is involved with the viticulture in the area of Tyrnavos for more than 100 years. The fifth wine was from one of my personal favorite labels, Avantis estate. In his epic poem ‘Iliad’ Homer refers to Avantes, the first inhabitants of Evia, as follows: “Brave Avantes inhabitants of Euboea coming from Chalkis, Eretria as well as grape producing Istiea and Kirinthos by the sea…”
Food and wine pairing
Then came the art of pairing the wine with food. There are a few main rules, such as that a “full” wine pairs well with rich food or that a red wine is difficult to serve with eg. grilled fish, or a dish with sweetness would make a nice pair with a rose semi-dry wine. But as with all rules, they can (and sometimes should) be broken, depending on our own taste and preferences. Greek wines are very volatile and there are several high quality varieties that can be paired with many cuisine types.
The welcome bite, or amuse bouche was a traditional cheese pie with spearmint, to clear our palates from previous flavors such as toothpaste, chewing gum, tobacco etc.
The appetizer was a potato soup, perfectly balanced with the Malagouzia chosen to accompany it (Ktima Zafeiraki, Palaiomylos).
For the first dish we tried an amazing eggplant salad served on a traditional barley rusk, paired with a rose wine from the same estate, Ktima Zafeiraki, also called Palaiomylos but from the varieties Syrah-Limnionas.
Our main dish was pork spare ribs with in-house made barbecue sauce and also home made potato chips- it was a traditional meat-eating Thursday before the Greek carvival (Tsiknopempti). I am not a huge meat lover but it was a truly delicious dish and it really went well with the wine that accompanied it, called Mikri Arkouda (Little Bear), from Zafeirakis estate, a Merlot-Syrah rich full red.
Greek wines are really finding their place among wine connoisseurs and in the international market. We might have smaller scale wineries and production capacity but we have really exquisite quality wines, thanks to our mild climate, and the fine varieties of grapes. And there is still way to go !
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