GREEK WINE - KRASI
Krasi - Greek wine has been dated as far back as 6000 years ago.
Greece is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world.
In ancient days the wine industry of Greece was much bigger than it has been in modern times.
Wine was a valuable commodity and
they used it to trade throughout the Mediterranean.
The Greek wines had a good reputation of quality wine. Even in those days
they would discuss the merits of the wines produced.
The wine in ancient times was very strong, @ 16% so they would mix it with some water to dilute the alcohol content.
Wine was rather sweet in those days, and often
they drank it after the meal with the sweets, rather than with the meal.
Wine, even then had religious connections. In ancient times, it was offered up to the gods, especially the Greek god of wine, Dionysus
and later in Christian times, it played a part in religious rituals.
One of the oldest grapes known to be Greek in origin is the mavrodafni grape.
Through the years, Greece faced many invasions and this caused farmers to change from growing vines to planting more
practical crops and consequently wine making decreased significantly.
When the Ottoman Turks invaded in 1453 the wine
industry was greatly affected. Although they didn't ban wine, the Turks taxed it, making it hard for the average Greek to be
able to afford it.
However the Greeks being made of strong, rebellious stuff, and holding true to their identity and culture, refused
to be dictated to and this actually encouraged the Greeks to continue making and drinking wine - to celebrate their "Greekness" in the face of their Turkish
Drinking wine was their way of rebelling by saying I am Greek, not Turk.
By the time of the Greek independance, 400 years later, the wine industry as they knew it was no more. Farmers had stopped mass producing
grapes and just grew small amounts for their own use and for local trade, alongside their main crops.
Due to the smallness of
the affair, local producers were without the means to afford better equipment, and to complement the wine making process
to produce better wines.
Wines were served straight from the
barrels the wine was made in. Villagers would purchase the wine directly from the farmers and would bring their own bottles,
containers, etc to take the wine home in, to be drunk
It was never kept to age or mature. In later years people would go to the local Taverna owner to buy their wine.
When you are out eating and drinking in Greece, you can have the feeling that the wine just keeps on flowing.
Some tavernas store their own wine in barrels, and here you can order the wine by the carafe, it is relatively cheap and very
easy to drink, and as the company eats and drinks, glasses are continuously being refilled and jugs are renewed.
with Greeks, you will find everyone will take turns at filling up glasses, if you are ready for a refill, you will fill up all your friends
glasses first, before yours. You never fill a glass up to the top, and yet it is quite acceptable to fill your glass before it is empty.
Greek wine is a great drinking wine, and is the perfect accompaniment to the rich Greek food.
Over the last decade, the
Greek wine industry has been developing and investing time and money to produce better quality wines.
Certainly the climate,
soil and environmental conditions are ideal to create excellent wines and I believe as Greece decides to change old habits and
welcome new methods they will be well recognised wine makers around the world.
Stin Iyassus - Cheers!
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