WineHandpicked by IWSC

Eight award-winning Greek wines to try

From Santorini's signature steely Assyrtiko to ageworthy Xinomavro reds, these top Greek wines showcase exactly what the country's indigenous grapes have to offer

Words by IWSC Judges

Basket vine in santorini, greece
Handpicked by IWSC
In Santorini, old vines are often trained in a basket shape to protect them from the island's strong winds

Greek wine has been made since the 7th century BC, and is firmly embedded in the country’s culture. Not only does it boast a fascinating array of indigenous varieties, giving Greek wine a character all of its own, but it was also responsible for vines being planted throughout the Mediterranean.

Greece has always been rightly proud of its own grape varieties, and has steadfastly refused to fill its vineyards with acre upon acre of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Faith in its local grapes is being rewarded, with consumers starting to get to grips with the likes of elegant, zesty Assyrtiko from Santorini, full-bodied Agioritiko and powerful, ageworthy Xinomavro.

Greece has moved on from the financial crisis of the late Noughties that crippled its economy, with a host of new wineries appearing all over the country, the majority of whom are focusing on indigenous grapes, which may explain the public’s new-found fondness for them.

greek wine

This year’s IWSC results are proof that the big medals don’t always go to the usual suspects: Assyrtiko is the star performer in Estate Argyros Cuvee Monsignori 2018, with its notes of freshly cut grapefruit and lemon on the palate. Alpha Estate Single Vineyard Turtles Malagouzia 2020 wowed with its aromatic aromas of ginger, rose petal and sweet spice; and Estate Argyros First Release Vin Santo 2013 impressed with waves of dried fruit, coffee and caramel notes. All made with local varieties, and all Gold medal winners.

Every Greek wine tasted at the 2021 IWSC was organised by style and colour, before being blind-tasted by an panel made up of some of the finest palates in the business. Chairing the panel was Sarah Abbott MW, joined by fellow Masters of Wine Alistair Cooper and Matthew Forster. Other judges on the Greek panel were Master Sommeliers Eric Zwiebel and Svetoslav Manolev, C&C Group’s Harriet Kininmonth and Enotria buyer Richard Lewis.

Greek wine has an identity all of its own, so if you’re yet to experience its charms, there’s no better time. Here is our list of the best Greek wines selected from this year’s IWSC.

greek vineyard

How do we judge these wines?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

How do we score these wines?

Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

More from Club Oenologique

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.