"Greece was a muse. It inspired creativity in magical ways that I can't even begin to understand and explain." -Joe Bonamassa
While France and Italy receive endless praise for their wine, Greece deserves more attention. After all, the origins of European wine making dates to around 4,500 BCE in Greece. Returning to Greek roots was the goal of Lefteris Glinavos, the Domaine Glinavos founder, when he founded his winery in 1978. Glinavos Paleokerisio, the unique wine featured here, pays homage to these ancient roots by using only varietals native to the region. Paleokerisio even translates to mean "Old Fashioned."
Glinavos Paleokerisio uses two indigenous varietals: Debina, a white wine grape, and Vlahiko, a red wine grape. The distinctive orange hue that resembles some brandies or tea comes from the mixing of these two grapes. The coloring and semi-sparkling quality of the wine comes from the process of making the wine. The wine macerates for 12 days with its skins and then gets bottle mid-fermentation.
The wine strikes the eye with its orange tint and immediately creates a sense of mystery. A whiff of apples and brown butter strike the nose when bringing the libation to your lips for the first taste. After such a pleasant aroma the wine does not disappoint. The slight carbonation elevates the notes of honey, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Glinavos Paleokerisio has numerous potential uses in cocktails. Where appropriate try substituting it for sparkling wine in various drinks.
THIRST AND HUNGER
Twist on a Classic: Mojito
The search for the perfect mojito will never end. While I certainly don't claim to have found the Holy Grail, this recipe with its use of the orange flavored sparkling Glinavos Paleokerisio offers a unique riff.
For the drink:
-2 oz rum (Plantation Fiji Rum)
-1 oz simple syrup
-3/4 oz lime
-1/3 cup mojito
-3 oz Glinavos Paleokerisio
Add rum and mint to a cocktail shaker and muddle for 10 seconds. Combine the remaining ingredients, except the Glinavos Paleokerisio, in the shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain through a Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer into your glass. Top with the Glinavos Paleokerisio and stir gently. Garnish.
Something Original: 12 Labors
Each element of this drink could be a story on its own. All together it reminded me of the saga of Hercules and his 12 Labors. Granted, I was searching for a Greek theme.
For the drink:
1 1/2 oz anejo tequila (Kah)
1/2 oz ancho chile liqueur (Ancho Reyes)
1/4 oz elderflower liqueur (St Germain)
1 oz mango juice
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz macadamia nut orgeat
1 Egg white
1 1/4 oz Glinavos Paleokerisio
Combine the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass using a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer. Garnish.
Eat Your Spirit: Glinavos Paleokerisio Risotto
I find stirring risotto for half an hour surprisingly enjoyable. A key step in making risotto is il sfumato or the smoke. This occurs when the wine gets added and gives off puffs of smoke from the cold wine touch the hot pot. The slight notes of orange in the Glinavos Paleokerisio was a phenomenal addition to the saffron risotto.
-4 cups chicken stock
-1 1/2 cups arborrio rice
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-2 garlic cloves
-1/2 cup Glinavos Paleokerisio
-1 pinch saffron
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-Add 4 cups of chicken stock to a medium sauce pot on medium-low heat to begin warming.
-In a Dutch oven, simmer the diced shallot and garlic in the butter and extra virgin olive oil for about 7 minutes on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
-Add the rice and toast gently. Stir constantly and when the rice gives off a nutty aroma and begins to darken you'll know it's done. About 3-5 minutes.
-Add the Glinavos Paleokerisio and stir constantly until the rice absorbs the wine. About three minutes.
-Add the saffron and continue stirring for another minute.
-Laddle 1/4 cup of chicken stock into the dutch oven and stir constantly. Only add another 1/4 cup once the rice absorbs the stock. Repeat this until all the stock is gone. Stir constantly to avoid burning. This process will take 25-30 minutes.
-When all the rice absorbs all the chicken stock, remove from the heat and add the cream and grated Parmesan cheese.
-Serve and garnish.
This post, like others about regions I have not been to, means this section of the post is a little different. While I have been to Greece, I only went to Crete. This is an assortment of places I would like to visit and places to eat in the Epirus region.
Things to do:
-The Vikos Gorge is the deepest in the world in proportion to its width.
-En route to the Vikos Gorge visit the Stone Forest.
-Attend an authentic panyegyria, a religious musical festival where people mourn the losses from their lives and celebrate what they have.
-The Dragon Lakes of Greece offer something different than the normal beach vacation.
Places to stay:
-The small Lias Inn looks to have amazing views.
-The Aristi Mountain Resort appears fantastic.
Food and Drink:
-Local cheese and pata can be found at To Koutouki Tou Nikola.
-Greek pies at Lithos sounds worth a stop.
-Kanela and Garyfallo features local mushrooms.