Greek Reds Have Yet to Have Their Moment. Is Now the Time?

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Not withstanding the many Greek diners around the country, Greek restaurants have not been remotely comparable in their integration into American culinary culture, nor has the cuisine. My companion railed against the quality of Greek restaurants in the United States. Indeed, at his suggestion, we met at an Italian restaurant.

“If only Americans knew how good Greek food is,” he said, speaking of the beautiful ingredients available all over Greece. He lamented what he called the repetitive menu of a dozen Greek dishes that showed up again and again in Greek outposts in the United States.

“Who wants to pay $40 for a branzino farmed in the Mediterranean?” he said.

I tried to comfort him by pointing to the progress of Greek wines in America over the last two decades. Fifteen years ago, if I wanted to taste a dozen Greek wines I had to go to Astoria, Queens, the most sizable Greek neighborhood in New York. Nowadays, I can stop into wine shops all around Manhattan and find a good selection.

What’s more, the diversity of available Greek wines has increased markedly, with wonderful natural wines, age-worthy reds, beautiful whites and even excellent retsinas, a traditional wine flavored with the sap of Aleppo pines.

Coincidentally, before I met with the importer, I had decided that we ought to taste Greek red wines this month. Greek whites, particularly assyrtiko from the island of Santorini, have gotten a head start in gaining recognition, but the reds are coming on strong. Here are the three bottles I recommend:

Argatia Macedonia Haroula 2018 (Verity Wine Partners, New York) $19

Domaine Glinavos Ioannina Vlahiko 2018 (DNS Wines/T. Elenteny, New York) $24

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