It’s All Greek to Me

Sometimes you need to take a walk on the wild side of Wine Country.

I decided to be adventurous when I went shopping for a wine to serve with a weeknight dinner at home. I wound up with a bottle of red made from a grape that I can’t pronounce. I’d never even heard of this wine until I met Dan Marshall, owner of Du Vin Fine Wines in Alameda.

Dan has the largest selection of Greek wines in the Bay Area. When I asked for a recommendation under $20, he gladly obliged by handing me a bottle of Gaia Estate’s Notios 2008 ($17.99), made from a Greek grape called agriogitiko. It’s from the Peloponnisos region of Greece, from mountainside vineyards in the village of Koutsi.


Gaia Estate vineyards in Koutsi, Greece

Gaia Estate Vineyards


Marshall described the wine as similar to Beajoulais, not the sometimes thin, weak noveau style, but  more like a village wine from a good vintage — a fruity and food-friendly wine that is made from the gamay grape. He was pretty close to spot on.

The Notios was fresh and inviting with an aroma of cherries. The fruit was impressive, with enough of an acidic counterbalance to make it a great match for casual food, anything you might serve at a picnic.

A glass of Notios paired well with a plate of cubed pork that was simmered in a half cup of the wine mingled with onions, carrots and broccoli that I spiked with a blend of Greek spices and served over rice. Very nice!

Back in California

You don’t have to go to Greece to enjoy a good wine. There’s plenty of nearby options for trying new wines and exploring your own “wild” side of Wine Country.

Lodi wines will be featured Sunday (Oct. 10, 2010) at an afternoon tasting on Treasure Island. Where else can you drive to an island in the middle of a beautiful bay and find more than 200 wines being poured by dozens of wineries from one of California’s most interesting wine regions? Nowhere else.

On a clear day, you can see the stunning San Francisco skyline from the Treasure Island Wine Fest while sipping a zinfandel, cabernet, or any of the dozens of different styles of wine produced in Lodi. Advance tickets are $55.

Whisky By the Bay

The 4th annual Whisky Fest rolls into town Friday (Oct. 9, 2010) with a selection of more than 200 distilled beverages available for tasting at the Marriott in downtown San Francisco. This is close to heaven if you like spirts with a global twist. The bar will be stocked with Scotch, Irish, Japanese and Canadian whiskies, along with rum, brandy, tequila and beers from around the world. The tab is $110.

A Quarter Century of Napa Winemaking

Goosecross Cellars in Napa will celebrate its 25 anniversary this weekend. The kick-off event is a gourmet dinner (5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.) at the Yountville winery where a full selection of wines will be poured . A $125 ticket buys the dinner plus a full weekend of activities that continue Saturday with a wine and cheese pairing plus barrel samples and then a special “make your own blend” party with Goosecross wines on Sunday.


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One Response to “It’s All Greek to Me”

  1. Shannon Harbert Says:

    Thanks Frank for the mention of this weekend’s event. See you this Sunday!

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