I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with these last few weeks of cold, rainy weather. Yes, growers are happy, and that ultimately makes me happy because they’re the folks who make sure I have wine in my glass. Still, I’m starting to get desperate for a little sunshine and some seasonably warm temps right about now.
With the mercury about to rise, I’m thinking about what white wine I’ll want to drink this summer. I already know that I don’t want some spineless, pedestrian chardonnay (ack!) or any of my many go-to sauv blancs. Sometimes enough is enough. No, I’ve decided that this year, when I think about white wine, I’m only looking for the underappreciated and the unknown. This summer I’m branching out, moving up several clicks on the geek-o-meter, and I want you to come along with me. But, before we run off into the white wine wilderness, let me introduce you to one of my favorite varieties, moschofilero. I need to warn you, though. Once you get a taste of this elegant, crisp, and refreshing Greek white, you might forget you even liked those other pale pretenders in the first place.
Never a big fan of reinventing the wheel, here’s what the folks in Greece have to say about this variety. “A distinct aromatic grape from within the AOC region of Mantinia, in the Peloponnese, Moschofilero grapes have a gray colored skin and therefore produce a wine that is a blanc de gris. [white wine from gray or pink grape] Its crisp character and beautiful floral aroma of roses and violets with hints of spices can be drunk as an aperitif or with food.” (http://www.allaboutgreekwine.com/varieties.htm)
Based on a particular winemaker’s preferences and processes, moschofilero can come out of the bottle in a range of colors, from almost clear through green or pink all the way to a light golden. Aromatic, with strong floral qualities that some folks compare to muscat, moschofilero also shows a bit of spiciness that had many in the wine world thinking it was somehow related to gewürztraminer, which it’s not. Now undergoing a vibrant renaissance, the grape shows best in the wines of Yiannis Tselepos, who has been one of the prime movers behind the wine’s rejuvenation and growing popularity. Other producers to look for include Domaine Skouras and Domaine Spiropolous. One of Greece’s largest producers, Boutari, also makes a moschofilero, but this label has little support among those in the know. Stick to the aforementioned producers. (http://www.greekwinemakers.com/czone/winemakers/Tselepos.shtml)
Start shopping now. Get your fridge stocked with a moschofilero snack pack. The warm weather will be here any day now. Right? It will, won’t it? Did I mention I’m getting desperate?