Good news for fans of Greek wine and even better news for those living in Palm Beach, Florida. Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach, an establishment owned by Daniel Boulud, one of the top chefs in the world, will spotlight Greek wines at an upcoming 4-course dinner on August 14th.
Earlier this month, Cafe Boulud sommelier Mariya Kovacheva returned from a 10-day trip through Greece’s wine regions, including the islands of Crete, Santorini and the Peloponnese, which, Homer once referred to as “ampeloessa,” which means “full of grapevines.”
Often the butt of jokes, Greek wines were once not regarded amongst the world’s best. But thanks to so many smaller wineries which are focusing on boutique brands and new techniques, times are changing and the secret is out. If it’s good enough for Daniel Boulud, it’s probably good enough for the most discerning tastes.
“I think in the next five years, we’ll see more Greek wines coming to market,” says Mariya, referring to what some in the industry see as a Greek wine renaissance. “There’s a lot of potential, especially with the whites, which pair so well with Mediterranean cuisine.”
Mariya visited wineries, met winemakers, toured vineyards and tasted wines along with native dishes often prepared by the winemakers themselves.
On the island of Santorini she observed the unusual grape-growing custom: Instead of trellised vines, the plants are trained and pruned in a basket shape to combat climatic conditions.
In Crete, she visited the Vathypetro archaeological site, which contains one of the oldest wine presses in the world, dating to the Minoan civilization.
“Throughout the trip, there were wine tastings in the morning, tastings in the evening and lunch at the wineries,” says Mariya, born and raised in Bulgaria, just north of Greece. “It was great to touch bases with the culture. The customs, the food—they’re very similar to where I’m from.
“The food was often simple and straight from the garden or the sea. One day at a small hotel restaurant, the owner pointed to the many dishes on our table and said, `These are olives we grow ourselves. My wife made that marmalade.’ They take great pride in what they do.”
The Greek wine dinner at Cafe Boulud is on August 14.