I’ve always wondered where the reference to wines being the "nectars of the Gods" comes from, have you? It comes to us from the myths of ancient Greece of course where wine was revered as part of many ancient religious festivals known as Bacchanals and where it was a wonder potion that was also known to restore virility, bestow mortality and revive the dead.
Perhaps this ancient Greek population knew how healthy red wine really is for you and that is why their citizens revered it so much. In fact the reason that many Westerners seek out eating in a Greek restaurant such as the beautifully rustic Niko’s Greek Taverna in White Plains, New York is to sample the healthy wines which also have the pleasant side effect of making you feel quite euphoric, robust and nicely settled as well.
Greece for the most part offers an extensive roster of popular wines that features classic wines from Nemea, Pelopponese and other famous regions in the southern part of the country. These delicious wines feature grapes grown in salty seaside air on the nearby mountain slopes. The best Greek wines are made of an assortment of Greek grape varieties such as mavrodaphne,moschofilero, agiorgitiko, assyrtiko, moscato and xinomavro and you can sample them in restaurants like Niko’s where the management goes to the trouble of collecting the very best Greek Wines possible.
Dionysus – The Greek God of Wine.
They say that whenever you consume red wine you are getting in touch with the spirit of the Greek God Dionysus. He is the ancient Greek God of the grape harvest and the ruler of madness, ecstasy, festivals, celebrations, eating well and the theater. Aside from grapes and a big goblet of wine he was also strongly associated with Satyrs – the mythological half man, half goat creatures that were known for being overly excited around the opposite sex.
Once you get past all the excess drama, the romance and the exaggerations in the Greek myths you realize that in the end, drinking red wine is about what it always has been – celebrating and having a good time with your loved ones!
The Famous Wines of Greece
If the famous Dionysus had favorite wines back then they would have probably been wines that come from the Pelopponese region that has a history of wine cultivation that goes back as far as 7,000 years. The wines made here come from seaside vineyards that climb the slopes of nearby mountains. A couple amazing ancient grape varieties, known as the Agiorgitiko and the Moschofilero come from this area.
Argolida is a region in the northeastern part of the Pelopponese that is also known for excellent wine made from Agiorgitiko grapes. The Meden Agan, which was first created in the late 1970’s, is now one of the most famous contemporary wines in foodie history.
In Mantinia which is further away from the sea than Nemea there is a deep-soiled plateaus at 600 meters above sea level that produces fine wines made from at least 85% Moschofilero grapes. One of the greatest of these nectars is a wine named Cambas.
More contemporary wines come from the region of Nemea which is in the southern part of the country. It is famous for the Agiorgitiko grape which is grown in a mountainous zone vinyards. Nemea is one of the oldest locations in ancient Greece and a place where many bacchanals were held in honor of the Greek God Dionysus.
There are many more regions in Greece that historically supplied wine to humans that should have only been fit for Godly consumption.
By the way olive oil was also considered to be another of the nectars of the Greek Gods. No wonder red wine just seems to go down so well with so many of the great tapenades, salads, breads and spreads that are interlinked with traditional Greek cuisine.